The National Association of Dental Laboratories is a trade association with 43 affiliated state and regional commercial dental laboratory associations representing more than 1,600 dental laboratories and dental technicians. NADL is the unified voice of the dental laboratory industry supporting dentistry and serving the public interest by promoting high standards. NADL accomplishes this by providing programs, services and networking opportunities to meet the evolving technical, educational, professional and business needs of dental laboratories.
Based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration data, $1.32 billion of dental laboratory sales are done offshore, which equates to 38% of actual dental restorations. The remaining 80 - 90% is manufactured in the United States , largely by family owned dental laboratories who employ less than 10 dental laboratory technicians.
According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor and Statistics there are 10,000 dental laboratories operating in the United States employing 33,600 dental technicians.
NADL has been on record since 2003 supporting federal and state regulation to assure patients their restorations are safe for use, regardless of where they are manufactured. Through public advocacy and outreach, NADL has worked with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), state health officials and the dental industry to support:
- Mandatory certification and continuing education for dental technicians who manufacture restorations; (Read about certification of dental technicians here.)
- Mandatory registration of all dental laboratories with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or appropriate state government agencies;
- Mandatory documentation of all materials included in a restoration, as well as the point of origin (country and laboratory) where the restoration was manufactured; and
- Mandatory documentation of all these items in a patient's dental records.
NADL has formally asked the FDA to protect patient safety and require labeling and disclosure of the source of dental devices to patients, ensuring all such products can be traced back to the laboratory that made them. The Association has also supported pending legislative efforts to implement such regulation in the states of Florida and South Carolina.
In 2007, Napier (NADL's Executive Director) testified before the Presidential Interagency Working Group on Import Safety to urge the federal government to recognize the need for more stringent oversight, including promoting certification of dental technicians employed at both domestic and foreign laboratories, mandating that dental laboratories register with the FDA or with state health departments, as well as increasing inspections of the content and quality of imported dental restoration products.
The protection of the health and safety of the public is the foundation upon which all state dental practice acts and other healthcare regulatory legislation should be based. Dating as far back as 1988, NADL has recommended that states enact stricter regulations in order to further protect patient safety.
NADL has developed regulatory guidelines designed to be a minimum standard of regulation - a type of state legislation that would be beneficial for the general public and effective for both the dental and dental laboratory professions.
- Not sure which states currently require technicians to be certified, or to employ at least one Certified Dental Technician (CDT)? Click here.
- To read NADL's Guidelines for Establishing Statutory Regulations on the state level, click here.
- To read NADL's actual Model Bill for the state level, click here.
To learn more about the National Association of Dental Laboratories, please visit our website.