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Patients should know where dental crowns come from
Placed by : Looking for Dental 07-11-2007
If, in the face of the recent reports of tainted products from China shipped to and sold in the United States, you want to boycott products from that nation, in some cases it may not be too diffi cult.
Not certain of the place of origin of that T-shirt? Simply check the tag sewn into the neck.
Don't want to purchase a flashlight made in China? Look for that very phrase on the packaging.
The print will be small, but it's there.
Willing to make a political statement by not purchasing that pair of running shoes made in a Communist country? Check the tag on the shoe's tongue to find out where it was manufactured.
Generally, it's fairly easy to reject the items made in China that we put on our bodies because the tags tell us where our clothing was made.
But what about the products we put in our bodies?
What about - as detailed in a recent article, "Made in China?," published in our sister publication, The Macomb Daily - the dental crowns that so many of us have had implanted in our mouths?
There is no sure way right now to determine whether the crown your dentist is about to place in your mouth or already implanted was made in China other than to ask.
And frankly, some dentists don't know.
Dentists ship the dental impressions they take to other companies to manufacture the crowns.
Those companies may do the work in the United States or ship the work to China to save a few dollars. The savings to have the crowns manufactured in China run between $15 to $25 per crown depending on which authority you ask.
Those raising the issue about Chinesemade crowns do so out of a variety of reasons. Some own American companies that make crowns, and don't want to see their livelihood off-shored. Some say China does not adhere to the same safety standards for the base materials used in the manufacture of crowns that American companies must. Some say the crowns made in China lack a precise fit, and therefore could lead to future health problems for dental patients.
No matter which plank they stand upon, the critics all agree: The patients should be informed.
They are correct in that stance.
We're certain that many Americans - and plenty of members of the United Auto Workers - would have a special interest in knowing exactly where their crowns were manufactured.
At the very least, the state Legislature must adopt a law requiring dentists to tell their patients where their crowns will be manufactured. A better step would be requiring dentists to give their patients a choice between a crown made overseas and one made in America.
If the patient wants to pay the $15 to $25 difference for a domestically made crown, they should have that option.
It would be fitting if a member of the legislative contingent from Oakland County introduced such a bill.
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