Tallahassee, Fla. - Dental patients might have less access to high-quality dental restorations in the near future. The National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) predicts, based on recent market research compiled by Valmont Research and the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, that from 2006-2017 the number of dental laboratories in the US will be reduced by 39 percent.
As the number of dental laboratories in the US continues to shrink, dentists will have fewer domestic options when deciding where to supply their patients’ dental restorations. Already, many dentists are using dental restorations produced in other countries.
“Everyday Americans depend on dentists to place long-lasting to permanent dental restorations without any knowledge of where or how that restoration was produced,” says Gary Iocco, co-chair of the NADL Public Awareness Committee. “Dental patients should have trust in their dentist, but they should also be an informed consumer.”
Although most patients never see dental laboratories, the quality of dental restorations could severely impact patients’ health. Patients should hold dental laboratories to the same standard of cleanliness and professionalism that they expect from their dentists.
“Unfortunately, questioning the man or woman in the white coat intimidates many dental patients,” Iocco says. “However, resources are available for patients who want to protect their health.”
NADL is promoting transparency in dentistry and the role and value of trained dental technicians by promoting public awareness of these issues that affect many dental patients. In order to spread the word about the need for standards, NADL has launched the “What’s in Your Mouth?” campaign to provide dental consumers, dentists, and the dental laboratory community with the knowledge they need to make important purchasing decisions.
“What’s in Your Mouth?” encourages patients to assess the quality of their restorations by asking their dentist these 5 basic questions:
1. “What are the qualifications of the dental technician who will create my restoration? Is he or she a Certified Dental Technician?”
2. “Is the laboratory you work with certified and by whom?”
3. “Where is your dental laboratory located?”
4. “What patient contact materials are in the restorations you are prescribing for the treatment plan?”
5. “How does your dental practice ensure that it is not using misbranded or grey market dental materials?”
For information on the campaign, please visit our website: http://whatsinyourmouth.us/.