You have the Right to Know
By Mark Murphy, DDS
I once wrote an article published in Dental Economics titled “Did You Want Fries With That?” in February of 2008. It describes how material and technical verification is important to ensure patient health and safety in dentistry. Some states do not yet require any level of certification of dental laboratories. In those locations, the person who asked you yesterday if you want fries with that, could open a dental lab the next day without any training!
Patients deserve to know with certainty what is in their mouth, where and how it was made. The intimate relationship between the dental team and laboratory is an important safeguard that helps promote this health and safety. Products, processes and materials that are used in the custom manufacture of dental/medical device/appliances that will be permanently placed in the body (oral cavity) should be made using qualified sources, techniques and technicians.
The FDA, OSHA, National Association of Dental Laboratories and the Identalloy Council have several verification constructs available. From Certification of Dental Technicians and Certified Dental Labs, to DAMAS standards, OSHA Safety, FDA approval and Identalloy Certification, there are ample systems to support patient health and safety. Patients simply need to ask the right questions, starting with the following:
- Is the dental laboratory you use certified?
- Where was this restoration made?
- What materials are used in this restoration?
Until the dental profession reaches par with medicine on medical device regulations and manufacturing disclosure, I suggest patients inquire. Your health and safety are worth it.