San Francisco, CA, April 09, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- In light of recent reports of lead crowns manufactured in Chinese dental labs that may be contaminated with lead, dental practice management
resource The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey of dentists on the topic of foreign dental laboratories. Two out of three dentists think that the current publicity is just a tempest in a teapot, while the remainder expect it to be the next big health scandal.
The scope of the threat is not clear, as further research has yet to be released. "We don't know if this is a crisis," a Washington dentist pointed out. "The labs and FDA need to test a large number of prosthetics that are produced in USA with foreign materials and in foreign countries."
When each dentist
was asked whose responsibility it should be to protect the public from tainted dental work, the most common opinion (voiced by 41% of respondents) was that it is the ultimate responsibility of the dentist to protect his or her patients. "We dentists are responsible. Get a list of the elements in your metals used," offered an Ohio dentist. "This is an opportunity to let your patients know of the great quality lab you use," suggested a Kentucky dentist.
Government is the answer for the 31% of dentist respondents who feel the FDA should enforce regulations. "The FDA should bear the responsibility, because the labs won't and the dentists can't," declared a North Carolina dentist. "If basic standards are not upheld, what are the consequences?" asked another. "Whether it's a faulty tire, a lead dental crown, or a teddy bear stuffed with pins and needles makes no difference."
Twenty-five percent of dentists responded that dental labs should police themselves. "The last thing we need is more regulation. Let the labs police themselves," opined a Pennsylvania dentist. "I think that the labs should be held accountable for their work, and the FDA should enforce those regulations," said a Michigan dental office worker.
Very few respondents (only 3%) suggested that patients who are concerned should be responsible for checking with their dentists. "Patients are not responsible," said a Washington dentist. "The FDA, labs, and dentists should all be responsible." "My local lab is placing 'made in America' on all of the return cases for the patients to see," mentioned a California dentist.
Finally, we asked dentists if they know where their lab work comes from. Sixty percent are certain that all restorations are manufactured within the USA, and another 20% believe that to be the case. Only 10% acknowledge that they know they use products made overseas. "I don't use labs that outsource to foreign countries," declared an Arizona dentist. "Those who choose to do so owe it to their patients to inform them of the practice."
The National Association of Dental Labs (NADL) estimates that 15-20% of US dental restorations are fabricated outside of the country. It is likely that significantly more than 10% of US dentists are actually placing foreign-made dental prostheses (perhaps as high as 25% of dentists). However, some of these dentists may not realize their dental labs work is not produced in the USA. "How can dentists be held responsible for the lab work if they are not aware that lab is using foreign services?" asked a Pennsylvania dentist. (Indeed, a number of states are now considering legislation that would require such disclosure.)
"This just reinforces how important it is for a dentist to have a good relationship with their dental lab," said Jim Du Molin, dental management consultant and founder of dental website The Wealthy Dentist. "I can only hope they all know what they're getting."
Visit http://www.thewealthydentist.com to learn more about The Wealthy Dentist's surveys in the areas of dental implants, cosmetic dentistry, sedation dentistry, wisdom teeth, braces, and dentures. Jim Du Molin offers a free weekly newsletter and dental practice management advice.
Jim Du Molin