Some of you may have seen the story on Channel 7 news last night regarding the use of cheap imported crowns made in China. Concerns have been raised about the quality of these products, the materials used and the risks associated with the lack of regulation when it comes to infection control.
Channel 7 interviewed Mr Paul Hade of Hades Dental lab in Kenmore, Brisbane. Paul has been at the forefront of bring the problems associated with cheap crown and bridge imports to the awareness of the dentists and general public and has strongly campaigned against them. I am proud to say that Paul is and has been for the last 10 years the only dental technician that we here at Evolve Dental Healing use for all our crown and bridge work. Paul’s products come with a guarantee which states that his crowns are made and fabricated here in Australia with Australian materials. A guarantee which we pass on to our patients.
The issues with overseas crowns is that there are no regulations on the type of material used or the infection control guidelines employed. This means that the porcelain may contain things like lead or beryllium ( toxic to the central nervous system) or be contaminated with bacteria or viruses associated with severe illnesses like hepatitis.
The quality of these crowns is disturbingly poor but then what do you expect for the $30 that the distributor pays to have the crown made? The crown is then sold on to the dentist for $150 who still charges full price for what is essentially a discount crown. I know I pay at least 4 to 5 times that fee for my crowns from Hades. I also know exactly what I am getting – a first rate job that will fit perfectly every time. I also know the materials used and the standard of infection controls employed. I can also assure my patients that they are getting a quality product that comes with water tight assurances, which is very important when we are a holistic dentist.
The Australian Dental Assoc. are now trying to push for disclosure from dentists using overseas crowns and bridges, which account for 50% of all crowns and bridges now made in Queensland, and stress the importance that the patient be told exactly where their crowns come from and any potential risks associated with them.
It is understandable in these current financial times that people are concerned about the bottom line and maintaining profit margins however I feel that to do so at the expense of a patients health lacks integrity and care. But then what can we expect from a profession that is still trained that it is OK to place fillings containing mercury?