‘Passport’ call for imported dental restorations

Dental technicians are suggesting a ‘passport’ for dental restorations imported from abroad to ensure that the US incidents of lead found in foreign crowns do not happen here.

They maintain this will ensure patient protection with ‘passports’ carrying clarification of:

• who made the restoration

• where the restoration was made

• When the restoration was made.

Concerns about possible toxic dental restoration imports from places such as China have been heightened following recent reports from the US about imported cheap and tocis dental resorations including one patient’s crown that contained lead at a toxic level.

She was struck with lead poisoning and it’s prompted lawmakers to set the wheels in motion for tightening up regulations.

Here in the UK, Paul Mallett, President of the Dental Technologists Association (DTA), is arguing that without disclosure, both the patient and the dentist are without protection and fear that if the situation isn’t addressed, then it is only a matter of time before there is a similar case as in the US.

There has been a huge surge in the number of cost-cutting dental restorations imported from China.

These imports apparently now make up 5% cent of the market, compared with less than 1% three years ago, but the scares in the US have panicked the dentistry world here.

Mr Mallett said: ‘It could happen here as there is nothing really in place to prevent it from happening.’

‘Some dentists, looking to cut costs, currently send work to a place in Europe who then forward it to China.

‘The restoration then comes back to the address in the EU where someone signs it off and returns it to the UK surgery.

‘But whoever signs that work off has no idea who made it – or more importantly, what’s in it.’

The DTA says that the regulatory body, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), needs to tighten regulations to prevent an incident happening here.

Mr Mallett said that the DTA has also expressed their concerns to Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the General Dental Council (GDC).

He added: ‘I’m keen that we should be proactive rather than reactive and it’s in
everyone’s interest – it’s all about patient protection.

‘We’re looking for the MHRA to implement a scheme that involves all crowns and bridges carrying a passport, stating who made them, where the originated from and when they were made.’

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