A case was reported recently by the American Dental Association (www.ada.org) in Ohio where eight crowns were tested by an analytic company that had been outsourced to a lab in China. One crown tested positive for lead at 210 parts per million (ppm). The story also included news of a woman whose bridge tested positive for lead at 160 ppm.

What is the safe limit of lead? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a level of 40 ppm as the maximum that should be allowed in children’s products. And apparently, a level of 600 ppm would trigger a federal recall of lead paint. Yes, that is lead paint that has too much lead.

The American Dental Association has asked the Food and Drug Administration and Center for Disease Control to investigate. The ADA reported it is estimated up to 15 to 20 percent of prostheses used in the USA originate in foreign labs, although the percent from China is presumably lower.

The ADA has encouraged patients to ask the following questions of their dentists:

1. Do you fashion your own crowns, bridges and other dental materials in the office or purchase them from a dental laboratory?

2. Where is the dental lab located?

3. Does the lab outsource crowns or bridges to a foreign country?

We use Microdental Laboratory in Dublin, CA., to make our dental crowns and traditional porcelain veneers (Macveneers). Our Durathin veneers (no prep alternative to Lumineers) are fabricated by Experience Dental Lab in Provo, Utah. Neither lab outsources any work to a foreign country.

One of the reason we do not use the Lumineer product is their restorations are fabricated in China.

For more information about restorative and cosmetic dentistry in the Phoenix and Glendale, Arizona areas go to www.desertsmiles.com.

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