4 Questions to Ask Before Your Next Dentist Appointment
Tallahassee, Fla. – Poorly-made dental restorations – whether produced in America or abroad – can lead to a range of health consequences for patients. To ensure better outcomes for safe dental restorations, it is extremely important that dentists and patients have a full understanding of where their dental restorations are coming from and what materials are used in the process.
Some patients believe their restorations are made in the dental office. Others do not even think twice about where their restorations are coming from. Most dentists do not make their own restorations, but work with laboratories and technicians, either in the U.S. or abroad.
Most state dental-practice rules do not regulate or set standards for the operation of dental laboratories or dental technicians. Lack of regulation can increase health-related issues for patients and decrease the level of professional standards within dentistry.
- Only four states in the U.S. require either certification or continuing education for those who create dental restorations.
- Dental laboratories in more than 40 states in the U.S. remain unregulated.
- Almost 25 percent of domestic dental laboratory sales and 38 percent of actual restorations are manufactured overseas.
- There are 42 countries that currently have foreign dental laboratories registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These laboratories may not be held to the same scrutiny level as U.S. laboratories.
The National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) hopes to create patient and dentist awareness of these facts through its “What’s in Your Mouth?” program, which encourages patients to make informed decisions about their dental needs starting with the following four questions:
- What is a Certified Dental Technician?
The Certified Dental Technician (CDT) designation demonstrates a significant mastery of the knowledge and applied skills needed in dental technology. The National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology (NBC) certifies all CDTs. Individuals undergo a series of evaluations and tests before earning certification. Once a CDT passes all tests, he or she must complete 12 hours of continuing education every year to hone his or her skills and to retain certification status.
- What is a Certified Dental Laboratory?
Certified Dental Laboratories (CDLs) meet specific standards relating to quality assurance, safety and business and manufacturing practices. The NBC certifies all CDLs. By earning and maintaining the CDL designation, a dental laboratory is monitoring and attempting to improve the quality and efficiency of their services and facilities.
- Can patients go directly to a CDT or a CDL for restorations?
According to most state laws, a laboratory only can accept prescriptions from a licensed dentist; however, a patient can find a CDT or CDL in his or her area and request the contact information of a dentist who works with that laboratory.
Locate a Certified Dentist Technician (CDT) in your area here. (Click on the CDT logo under “Show”)
Locate a Certified Dentist Laboratory (CDL) in your state here.
- How should patients make sure their dentists use a CDT and CDL?
Patients should ask their dentists where their restorations are being made and ask if the laboratories used are CDLs or if they employ CDTs. Patients should have access to their personal dental records that outline the patient contact materials that are used in their restorations and also in what country such finished restorations are manufactured.
I would have to agree with you on all four questions. People usually don’t ask questions before doing something and it will most likely lead to something they don’t want. That’s why when I go to the dentist, I always ask questions. I’ll be going there next week for some surgery. Would there be anything else I could ask the dentist? If so, what would you suggest?
Wow, I didn’t know only four states in the US require certification for dental restorations. I’ve been looking for a new dentist, but when I’m calling around I know I’ll be asking where the restorations are being made. Thanks so much!
This content is informative, interesting, engaging and easy to read. I am glad I ran across this information and got to read it. Thank you
Thanks for the information. I wasn’t aware of CDT’s or CDL’s. Thank you for making the distinction. I would have never thought to ask about them. I think it is super important that you know where you restorations are being made and with what material. Thanks again.
Very informative article. I didn’t realize that only four state in the US require either a certification or continuing education for those in dental restorations. I can see why it would be important to frequently review the most up-to-date practices. Perhaps one way to do this is by taking a college course every two years or so.
I am looking to find out more about dentists and their practices before we select a dentist in our new area. Thank you for informing me that a certified dental technician undergo a series of evaluations and tests before earning certification. Learning that these people also must complete twelve hours of continuing education every year is helpful. I will definitely keep this in mind as we look for a dentist.
It’s good to know that when it comes to going to the dentist that one thing I need to keep in mind is that is asking about is if they use CDL, that way we will know if the restorations are made right. This is good to know so that we will be able to get things taken care of correctly and my grandmothers dentures will be done right. I will keep this in mind when I take her in for her next appointment.
I have never been to the dentist, and I have never brought my kids into one, so I am happy that I found this article. I will remember to ask the dentist if he is a certified dental technician. It’s interesting how only four states require certification for those who need root canals. I will look for a family dentist to go to in my area.
I appreciate the info here.
Just wanted to point out a typo in question .3 above. The word ‘Dentist’ is used twice instead of ‘Dental’. It is supposed to read Certified ‘Dental’ Technician and Certified ‘Dental’ Laboratory, not Certified ‘Dentist’ Technician.
Let’s make Dental Technology Great Again! 🙂
Thanks for explaining that certified dental technicians have demonstrated mastery of the knowledge and skills that are needed to properly use dental technology. My husband and I will be moving soon and will have to find a good new dentist in that area, so I’ve been looking for tips online that might help. I didn’t really know what a CDT was, so I’m glad you shared that info!
I found your article very interesting and here is why. I have had a year and three dentist attempting to make a full upper denture that fits my mouth. They all came back with buck teeth and molars that I could not chew with. The last dentist is very adamant that the Technician follow his directions. I trust this dentist that he will get the tech to make a denture that is correct eventually. He was upset when he received the wax from the tech as it was very wrong and did not follow instructions or samples given to him. Just who is the boss here? Why did the tech go off in his own direction and not follow doctors orders? It has been very frustrating and painful.
It was very interesting that you mentioned that a laboratory can only accept prescriptions from the dentist that is licensed according to most laws. Recently I received a job promotion and I had to move to a new area, so I am searching for dentists and doctors that could help me keep taking care of my health. I will make sure I keep this information in mind so I know exactly what to look for.