Michael S. Saoud, DMD
201 Centennial Street P.O. Box 2503
La Plata, MD 20646
Dental Work Made In China
Many of you may have heard the recent stories about dental work made in China. These stories have been filling the airways of national television and radio. The focus has been on the unregulated nature of crowns, bridges, partial dentures and implants made in China, specifically the lead content of the metals and porcelains being used. Initial testing has found high levels of lead in the porcelain (5 times the recommended safe dosage limit) that is being released into the body. When the story broke in February, the American Dental Association notified the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control. While the government is aware of the situation, it cannot control the standards since the labs are Chinese registered corporations and based in foreign territory.
What is equally disturbing is
the growing trend and numbers of dentists using these laboratories. Some U.S. based companies are shipping crates overseas and repackaging before sending the dental work back to unsuspecting dentists. Chinese and Philippine dental labs are charging $20 to $45 per crown with a 5 day turnaround time. A master technician using the best and safest materials with the highest quality and artistic standards for fit and function can charge 10 times that. A master technician also cannot compete on the volume and manufacturing capacity of foreign labs. With everyone trying to cut costs, as usual, it is the consumer, in this case the patient that pays in the long run.
So, what is a person to do? The old adage “if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is” comes to mind. Your insurance company is going to try and steer you to the lowest bidder. Dentists who participate with many insurance companies have to find a way to lower their costs since most expenses are fixed. While you can pay a lot and not receive good quality, it is exceptionally difficult to pay less and get more. Patients should ask lots of questions before undergoing care with a dentist.
How long has the dentist been working with the laboratory or better yet the individual technician?
Have they been to the lab, seen the facilities and or met the technician?
Ask a dentist if he or she uses the most reputable labs or master technicians.
Ask the dentist to see the material sticker from the lab documenting what specific materials were used.
Your dentist should be very
willing to address this topic with you and answer any questions you may have.