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ADA House resolution urges dental lab registration

December 30, 2013

By Kelly Soderlund, ADA News staff

Dr. Dowd
New Orleans—The ADA is urging all state dental boards to register U.S. dental laboratories to enhance patient health and safety.

The ADA Council on Dental Practice submitted House of Delegates Resolution 52H-2013 in response to a directive to take steps to ensure the continued high quality of prosthetic services.

The council convened a Future of Dental Laboratory Technology Conference, which allowed a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss dental lab services and training, the impact of offshore labs, safety and regulatory concerns related to dental labs and the decrease in dental education programs for dental lab technicians.

In response to its investigation, the council determined that it would be beneficial for dentists and the public for state boards to require dental labs to register.

“As professionals, our number one concern is the health and welfare of our patients. Dentists will be more informed and assured the dental laboratory they use for services pertaining to their patients will be compliant with minimum standards, including infection control, through registration,” said Dr. Brendan Dowd, CDP member and chair of the council's Subcommittee on the Dental Team. “As a professional organization, the American Dental Association considers the health and welfare of patients a basic tenant of our association.”

Some aspects CDP members looked at included:

  • A state-maintained registry would provide assurance to a dentist and the public that the lab is compliant with any minimum standards that might be required by the state.
  • Registration would elevate the profession by recognizing dental lab technicians as an integral part of the dental practice team. This recognition could lead to increased interest in dental lab technician educational programs, minimal education requirements and an assurance that high quality dental labs will be available in the future.
  • Lab registration is the most cost-effective way to comply with any minimum standards, including infection control or required continuing education that might be required by a
  • particular state.
  • A registry would allow for clear communication channels between dental labs, dental manufacturers and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, should there be a recall on a dental material or equipment in response to a health or safety issue.
  • The National Association of Dental Laboratories, the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology and 76 percent of surveyed dental labs support the registration of dental laboratories.

Currently, seven states require dental labs to register with the state dental board: Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Dental offices in those states have not reported any measurable increase in their operating costs as a result of registering dental labs.

“The fact that the ADA even took such a policy stand is a huge victory and cannot be overstated,” said Henry Martin, 2013 NADL president.