Think about how much time parents spend evaluating the foods their children ingest, the kinds of teething toys that are safe for their children and which toothpastes and brushes are best for their child’s teeth. Now, consider whether or not your child’s dental restorations are actually safe. Many assume dentist-prescribed restorations – such as retainers, crowns and others – are safe. However, in many cases, dentists are not the ones overseeing the manufacturing process. Dental technicians actually create the restorations dentists give to their patients.
Poorly-made dental restorations – whether made in America or abroad – can lead to a range of health consequences for patients. Dental laboratories located outside of the U.S. may not be subject to the same scrutiny that domestic laboratories receive from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In addition, domestic labs remain unregulated in more than 40 states. Most state dental practice rules do not regulate or set standards for the operation of dental laboratories or dental technicians. Lack of regulation and transparency can increase health-related issues for patients and decrease the level of professional standards within dentistry.
The National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) is promoting transparency in dentistry and the role and value of trained dental technicians by increasing public awareness of these issues which 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.
Dental restorations – often permanent fixtures in the mouth – should be made out of the safest materials, in laboratories that have quality standards and by the most trained and skilled technicians. Know what’s in your mouth and don’t be afraid to ask your dentist the following important questions before your child receives dental work:
- Do you use a Certified Dental Technician for your laboratory work?
- Is the laboratory you work with certified and by whom?
- Where is your dental laboratory located?
- What materials are in the restorations you are prescribing for my child’s treatment plan?