Dental Labs and Overseas Suppliers

Our Dental Materials and Supplies are Made Right Here in Brisbane

Brisbane dentist Dr Simon Franks, founder of Bite Dental Studio, is keen about giving his patients what they pay for, so he makes a point to use only the highest quality, ‘gold standard’ materials in all of his treatments. We use only prosthetic materials, crowns, bridges and so on that are made exclusively in Brisbane at Southern Suburbs Dental Laboratory. This means your dental work at Bite Dental carries a 5-year guarantee on all prosthetic work, and 15 years on the framework of our bridges, crowns and veneers.

Why is this important? It’s a sad fact that many dentists don’t follow these exacting standards. A recent survey found that one out of three crowns ordered by Brisbane dentists will be made overseas. This is a cost-cutting measure designed to increase profits – not to save money for the patients. Unfortunately, the patient is usually the one to pay the added costs when these substandard treatments fail.

An Alarming Experience for the Patient

Contamination is the first concern. Dental crowns and other restorations constructed at offshore laboratories have been found to be tainted with fecal bacteria and toxic metals.

In one case, a patient at another practice in Australia developed an allergic reaction to nickel used in a foreign-made crown. The reaction was so severe that immediate removal and replacement were needed – adding more inconvenience, discomfort and expense to the patient’s woes. When tested, the faulty crown was found to have a high content of nickel. Since professional standards have for years prohibited the use of this metal in crown work, it’s a mystery as to why anyone would sell a crown so contaminated. Yet there it was.

Another, even more alarming case arose in the United States in 2008. A 73-year-old woman in Ohio suffered a bad reaction from a multi-unit bridge that had been made in China. When removed and tested, the bridge was found to contain lead in the ceramic parts. A local TV station which investigated this report purchased 8 crowns from four different Chinese laboratories and had them tested. All contained some lead, and over half of them had lead in amounts considered by experts to be dangerous One of the crowns contained lead in 210 parts per million – over twice the 90 parts per million standard set for children’s toys in the United States.

Lead is a known toxin linked in humans to kidney damage and disorders of the the reproductive and central nervous systems, so it seems baffling that any thinking person would even consider using this metal in dental restorations. Lead poisoning is often not detected until irreversible damage has already occurred.

Why Quality Counts

Even though a foreign-made crown might be made from acceptable materials, and hopefully free of contaminants, there’s still the question of quality. Some offshored crowns have been reported as not even looking like teeth – which makes one wonder what they do look like! Ordered-out dental restorations may not match your teeth when you get them installed. Colours might not blend or shapes may be off, producing a weird-looking formation or – worse yet – a misaligned bite. This means the patient must spend still more time in the chair while the dentist grinds away at the porcelain in an effort to improve the fit.

Even worse, mismatched crowns and other dental restorations often fit poorly, so there is not a tight seal between the prosthetic and the supporting teeth. This forms yet another site to harbor bacteria and lead to infection, decay and gum disease. These crowns or bridges will fail, often within a couple of years, and need to be removed and replaced. No need to guess who pays for this extra work – it’s the patient.

Buyer Beware

With the prevalence of Brisbane dentists using outsourced laboratory work, an unfortunate ‘buyer beware’ situation arises. The only regulation at present requires the dentist to know the exact materials used – not the location where the restoration was constructed. While recent proposals have been made to legally require dentists to inform patients of any foreign-sourced materials used in their treatments, at present this is not in place. With cheaper materials, cheaper labour and shorter time frames, outsourcing of dental laboratory work is an unfortunate, growing trend. Just because you are sitting in a dentist’s chair in Australia, it does not mean you’re receiving Australian dentistry.

But you won’t have this worry when you come for dental care at Bite Dental Studio. With our exclusive local sourcing and guaranteed products, you can rest assured that your dental work will be of the finest, lasting quality and exactly what you’ve paid for!

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