More Smiles Dental Spa Dentistry Blog | James A. Moreau, Jr., D.D.S.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

No Overseas Labs at MoreSMILES

The saying "Beauty is only skin deep" can apparently be applied to dental labwork as well. There have been a number of incidents where porcelain crowns which look beautiful and natural on the surface have been manufactured by sub-standard labs in other countries...namely China and the Phillippines...and may contain high amounts of lead and/or other potentially harmful materials. Why would a dentist use a lab who fills porcelain crowns with lead? Money.

So, apparently the saying "You get what you pay for" also applies in this case. If you've ever "shopped" a crown and found one office that would do it for a much lower fee, then you should ask yourself, "How can they be so much cheaper?" If it seems too good to be true, it probably is (apologies for yet another cliche'). The lower fee could very well - and probably is - a reflection of the quality of the labwork -- i.e. the difference in a $35 crown or a $200+ crown (that being the fee that the dentist pays to the lab subcontractor).

Some dentists have been suckered into thinking they're getting such a great deal on cheap labwork (preserving their own profit margin), when in fact they may be inadvertently exposing their patients to lead content. And...the dentist may not always know that the labwork is coming from overseas, unless he/she is astute and asks direct questions of the lab representative.

For example, a lab outside salesman from Mississippi came into our office yesterday and showed us at the front desk a sample of his porcelain work...a gorgeous 4-unit bridge, very natural-looking. It was such nice work that we deemed it worthy of taking a few minutes of the doctor's time to have him meet the lab rep. Doctor was also impressed by the workmanship, but immediately asked the gentleman if they farmed any of their work out to labs in China. He admitted, honestly, that they do. End of discussion. Goodbye. Doesn't matter how cheap it is, Dr. Moreau is not interested. Can you say, "Mattel"??

A crown is not a crown is not a crown. A wise dental consumer needs to be wary and make sure that the quality of the product they're receiving runs throughout. Our CEREC crowns here at MoreSMILES are all-porcelain, milled right here in our office from solid porcelain blocks. And any work that is produced by an outside lab is quality made right here in the U.S.

I heard a commentator on FOX News recently who cited that Americans should be a little more willing to pay a bit more for products that were manufactured in America rather than going for the cheaper goods imported from a country with cheaper labor and no regulatory agencies. When you pay a little more, you're also paying for the salaries of our FDA, FTC and other agencies established for our protection...and you're also paying for the peace of mind in knowing that the product stands up to rigorous scrutiny.

posted by MoreSmiles at 8:19 AM

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