Keep The Local Dental Labs in Business

In recent years, the dental laboratory industry in the United States has been affected by unethical foreign competition. In this topic we refer to companies that are from foreign, such as China and other countries as in Mexico. These dental prosthetics companies have been introduced in the national market, competing very hard offering lower prices on the manufacturing of dental implants to the dentists and in exchange for the convenience price, creating more profitable business for their clients. A dental technician is a of the dental team who upon prescription from a Dentist constructs custom made restorative dental apliencess.

The dental technician in a laboratory, is in charge of manufacturing the restorations as dental prosthesis, these can be complete or partial dentures, ceramic or metal restorations such as crowns and bridges, etc.

The dentist first makes an evaluation to the patient to determine the kind of work that the patient will be needing, then he makes a preparation of one or more dental pieces, after that the dentist makes an impression of the patient’s dental structure, when the impression is ready the Dentist makes a written prescription describing the type of piece that needs to be made with the specific qualities need to fit the patient; with all the information need, it is then sent to the the Dental Laboratory of his choice.

The dental technician when he receives the case with the prescription, from there he begins to manufacture the prosthesis depending on the required specifications to satisfy the patient needs.

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Usually the dental laboratory works with in a time frame, to elaborate, finish and deliver the work back to the Dentist office.

Many dental laboratories here in the United States for many years have been closing their business, because of the external market. This event creates unemployment and a great loss in the field of the local industry. Recently,have nonconformity have been made public of these unregulated commercial practices that have been affecting many local dental technicians to keep their jobs. These practices by dentists who handle the imported work; not only puts at risk the health of their patients but it impacts national economy as well, because when they use the cheap work from outside the country our financial stability is thrown out of balance; while inexpensive, unregulated materials are been used in the manufacturing process, as well as the debatable hygienic procedures of those laboratories.

Currently, there is not an international regulation law for this kind of practice, but in the recent demands for a change in the international commercial treaties with China; an inclusion of this subject would give the local dental industry a fairer competition in the national market. The international competition is a controversial issue because of the many rigorous regulations in the United States by the NADL and FDA for the local Dental Prosthetic Laboratories. For example, a dental technician must be certified by a school or by the NADL (National Association of Dental Laboratories) to be able to practice in this field, while in other countries, we have the uncertainty of the certifications of the technicians who work in those laboratories, since there is no international agency that can certify them and go and review their installations.

Usually when the patient arrives with the dentist, the dentist does not provide much information about the origin of the materials used in his office, nor with whom or where he will send his work to make them, only the dentist tells the dentist patient where you will send your work to manufacture, much less how much will cost the manufacture of the dental restoration, or what is the payment that is the dental technician most of the costs are included in the final bill without breaking down each cost. In many cases where dentists have put their patients’ health at risk, it has been because of their lack of consciousness on the kind of materials that the manufacturer abroad have used, in most of the cases these items were found contaminated with lead. This makes us wonder of what kind of hygienic measures do they have in their disinfection processes, since it can be very easy for dental tissue to be contaminated with bacteria, hepatitis B and even with fecal material.

The Dental Prosthetic disinfection process must follow a rigorous routine, starting at the Dentist office, the patient impression must be sterilized before it is sent out, as it arrives to the laboratory and after the work is finished it should be sterilized before it is sent back to the Dentist’s office, and one more time before it is placed in the patient; this requires that the work should be disinfected at least four times since dental impressions are among the many items that are considered highly infectious. Dental impressions are consistently contaminated with patient saliva and even blood; such fluids can contain viral and bacterial pathogens, including HIV, hepatitis A, B, and C virus. Although most infectious agents do not survive for extended periods outside the body, many pathogens, if present in high enough numbers, they can survive several days in protein-containing body fluids. Microorganisms can be transferred from contaminated impressions to dental casts, and oral bacteria can remain viable in set gypsum materials for up to seven days.

That is why laboratories must have their disinfection control system, because both the patient and the dental technician are at risk of being infected by various diseases. Everything that comes in contact with a patient’s mouth: as impression, wax rims, trays etc. It must be disinfected; as well as when the work is finished by the laboratorian it must also be disinfected to prevent the patient from being infected. The communication between the dental practice and the laboratory is essential to ensure that appropriate disinfection protocols are implemented without overlap. Repeated exposure to disinfectants could compromise the quality of the impression and the restoration or appliance. It is a great disadvantage for Dentists to send work away, because it is doubtful for out of the country companies to follow a strict disinfection control.

The disadvantage that many Laboratories have is that Dentists have no obligation to them, there are no contracts, and the Dentist is free to send their work wherever they want. There must be regulations in the fairer prices, so that the small businesses remain in operation, the treaties that have been made in the past such as trade agreements with China, with other countries such as the TPP (Trade pacific partnership) or NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). In most of these treaties does not include price regulations on goods and that puts disadvantaged producers in the United States, in the dental field, for example.

Most of those countries do not send work to the United States because for them the cost of production is high, also the same happens with the materials, the costs of the materials are even higher, even if they are of high quality, prefer to buy lower the price regardless of the quality of the materials. Duties must be imposed on the dental products that are imported into the United States. Hopefully with the imposition of new regulations in these treaties the local dental lab market could come back to a competitor’s level worldwide, and by increasing the demand of local business, laboratories. In the end, patients will have to benefit most from these changes.

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Keep The Local Dental Labs in Business. (2021, Dec 21). Retrieved from

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