When a dental patient requires a crown or a bridge, the dentist will do an imprint of the tooth and send it over to a dental lab, where they will create the crown or bridge, and then the lab will send it back to the dentist and they will place the crown/bridge in the patient’s mouth. Most dental labs will work with a local person to get their crowns/bridges. However, as globalization continues to increase, more and more dental labs began to outsource their productions.
What is Outsourcing?
Outsourcing is obtaining goods or services from an outside, foreign supplier. In this case, some dental labs are now outsourcing work to another country. The reasons why outsourcing is becoming popular is because it is cheaper in pricing, the turnaround time is higher and it minimizes the amount of work that the dental lab has to do.
While it seems that outsourcing reaps many benefits, there are a lot of risks that come with it. Using materials from foreign countries can mean that you are not aware of what is used exactly, and what the quality of the crown/bridges are truly like. Getting poor quality dental work (even if it is unbeknownst to the dentist themselves) can lead to negative reviews and poor customer satisfaction.
The Consequences of Outsourcing
- Low-quality dental work
- Crowns, implants, and bridges may be tainted
- Risk of contamination in the dental work
- Durability of dental work is low and will not last as long
- Material can be toxic/dangerous
Why is Outsourcing Happening?
With all of these harmful consequences that can happen to the dental patient that has these outsourced dental work, why does outsourcing keep happening? The reason behind this is because it is simply cheaper, especially with the rising costs of local dental materials. The cost of off-shore productions is a fraction of the price so labs in the U.S. are taking these cheap products and increasing their profits while their clients are getting possibly dangerous products that are harmful and toxic to their dental health. However, the fault is not that of the dentist, the majority of them do not know that the labs that they work for are outsourcing their products.
There have been several scenarios where a patient would get dental work done (such as a bridge or implant) and come back after a while with complaints of discomfort. In one case, the dentist took the implant of a patient, sent it off for it to get tested, and found out that the dental work was done in China.
How Can Outsourcing be Prevented?
In certain states in the U.S, there are no laws that can force dental labs to disclose how their products are being made and where they are being made. Now, with the rise of outsourcing, there are attempts being made to enforce a law that will make dental labs admit where their products are being made, which will increase the safety of any patients in need of dental work and to preserve the integrity of the dentist doing the work.
All credit goes to Solaris Dental Design