Sunday, May 10, 2009

What Caused Dental Technology In US To Self-Destruct

As fluoride and better dental hygiene reduced the need for dental appliances, the need for technicians was also reduced. The technicians who opened their laboratories when owning a dental lab was a lucrative business, started selling their labs and retiring. Other experienced technicians began to retire as well. Many of the younger dental technicians who worked at those big labs rushed to open their own labs in their basements and garages, and to get business undercut fees charged by the existing labs. Dental schools also lowered requirements for dental students to be accepted, causing an influx of new dentists into the dental industry. As competition became fierce, dentists started undercutting each other’s fees while the HMO’s wreaked additional havoc on the dental industry.
The competition among dental labs was becoming extremely fierce. Instead of keeping up with inflation, the lab fees were coming down. The low starting wages for new recruits who graduated from two-year accredited dental technology programs made dental technology an unattractive profession and the industry stopped attracting new talent. As no surprise, due to the lack of enrolment, colleges around the country began eliminating dental technology from their curriculums. Today the trend for dentists is to send their lab work out to China where they can have a crown constructed for fewer than fifty bucks. Lead found in appliances constructed in China remains a trade secret.
Arvid Saunaitis
Former dental laboratory owner and author