Dental Laboratory Association Informs Dentists on Importance of Materials Accountability

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It is important that dental laboratories accurately disclose the point-of-origin and the content of materials used in dental restorations in order to protect patient safety. The National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) is highlighting the importance of materials accountability and emphasizing the lack of minimum standards in the U.S. by creating the “What’s In Your Mouth?” campaign.

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Eric Thorn, Esq.

Imagine the nightmare of discovering that for the last year or two you have been unknowingly placing something in your patient’s mouth other than what you prescribed. Would you be ethically required to notify your patients of the possibility?

In order to protect patient safety, it is important that dental laboratories accurately disclose the point-of-origin and the content of materials used in dental restorations. However, most states lack basic minimum standards for dental lab materials accountability and are not aware of the risks this creates for dentists and their patients. The National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) is honing in on the importance of materials accountability and emphasizing the lack of minimum standards in the U.S. by creating the “What’s In Your Mouth?” (WIYM) campaign.

WIYM will raise public awareness of regulations, standards, transparency, safety issues and the important role that the dental laboratory and dental laboratory technician play as part of the oral health care team.

“Imagine the nightmare of discovering that for the last year or two you have been unknowingly placing something in your patient’s mouth other than what you prescribed. Would you be ethically required to notify your patients of the possibility?” asks Eric Thorn, Esq. who serves as NADL’s in-house counsel and is the author of Materials Accountability Standards Matter.
Currently only Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, South Carolina and Texas have both disclosure and registration requirements for labs. This increases accountability, therefore greatly reducing the likelihood that dentists and their patients will have to experience these unnecessary additional risks.

“Most dental laboratories are ethical and reliable. However, the economic pressure of the modern dental practice – especially for debt-laden younger practitioners – combined with the absence of basic minimum standards for accountability in most states, creates a fertile environment and an economic incentive for bad actors to profit from these practices,” says Thorn.

The American Dental Association (ADA) policy has long supported written material content and point-of-origin disclosure and has more recently adopted an ADA policy specifically urging all state dental boards to register dental laboratories.

For dentists to ensure their patients are getting quality restorations, NADL suggests dentists stay informed on legislative updates and verify that the laboratory they work with is a Certified Dental Laboratory or a DAMAS laboratory

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About NADL:
The National Association of Dental Laboratories is the unified voice of the dental laboratory profession supporting dentistry and serving the public interest by promoting high standards. NADL accomplishes this by providing programs, services and networking opportunities to meet the evolving technical, educational, professional and business needs of dental laboratories. http://www.nadl.org

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Brianna Barnebee

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