This is especially true for dental accessories such as bridges, crowns, and dentures. And the Erie County Legislaturebelieves that the patient deserves to know exactly where their dental pieces come from.
Considering that 90% of people who suffer from missing teeth have dentures, it is all too common for the average American to have some dental work done. But chances are they don’t have any idea of where these pieces and prostheses come from, and dentists and dental service professionals don’t think this is right.
Andy Jakson was the first to push this law into session after he noticed firsthand how shady some overseas business could be when it comes to creating dentures. He had worked with China and noticed that a certain lab was making dental crowns and dentures from non-FDA approved materials.
“It’s silly that we’ve got to know where shoes are made because they’re going to be touching your skin, but something that is permanently placed in your mouth has no disclosure at all,” explained Jakson to The Buffalo News. It’s a medical device. I can’t even fathom why it’s not a law yet.”
As a rule, the FDA requires dental accessories like bridges, tooth implants, and crowns to last at least seven years. When treated properly, a well-made dental accessory could last up to 20 years, but if they are made from inferior materials, they pose the risk of absorbing bacteria into the patient’s blood stream.
What’s worse is that the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have actually discovered that the American public is at risk of poor quality dental accessories made in overseas labs. In fact, according to The Buffalo News, a CDC investigative report from 2008 found that multiple different crowns made in China contained harmful amounts of lead.
The complaint brought forth by Jakson caught the attention of Legislative Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo. Lorigo was shocked that there were seemingly no regulations concerning where dental accessories came from, especially when the textile industry has such strict transparency laws including details concerning the fiber content, the country of origin, and care instructions. But things surgically implanted into a person’s body can be left as a mystery. Not only that but since overseas labs cannot be sued, dentists can only do so much if something goes wrong after the procedure.
So, earlier in July, Lorigo submitted a proposal that outlined strict guidelines regarding the origin of custom veneers, crowns, dentures, and bridges, and that the dentists must disclose this information to their patients before the procedure.
Failure to adhere to these laws would result in fines of anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000.