Think counterfeiting is limited to high end consumer products? Think again! Just as pharmacies have long faced the threat of counterfeit prescription drugs, the dental community is also fighting against counterfeit products.
Commonly referred to as the “gray market”, many unscrupulous dealers offer deep discounts to dentists on all sorts of counterfeit dental materials and equipment. From impression materials used to create molds of your teeth to composite material (white fillings) used restore a tooth after a cavity.
Developing World Dental Materials
Many “gray market” materials are initially manufactured and intended for export for use in the developing world. These products are repackaged overseas to look like their U.S. counterparts and then make their way back into the United States. The problem is that these materials don’t comply with the same material and safety regulations we have in the United States.
Additionally as these materials make their way back into the U.S. they are often stored in non-climate controlled facilities changing their chemistry and reducing their effectiveness.
Expired materials usually enter the market when a distributor has purchased too much of a product and they sell it at a greatly reduced price as it nears or passes it expiration date. The effects of expired materials are not always immediate noticeable. For example when composite material (white filling material) has expired it can negatively change the shade of the white filling years down the road or cause the filling to fail prematurely.
Even dental equipment is being counterfeited. Dental drills, x-ray generators, curing lights and dental instruments are now being regularly counterfeited as technology makes it easier to do.
As Dr. Wright explains, “A dental drill operates between 20,000 and 100,000 RPM and it’s not hard to imagine the potential damage that could be caused if the end of a counterfeit drill fell off in the middle of a procedure.”
What can you do to protect yourself against “gray market” dental materials?
Ask your dental team if they check the expiration dates of the products they receive. If not, they may be inadvertently using gray market dental materials.
Don’t be afraid to ask your dentist if they are aware of the problem of gray market dental materials and what they do to protect their patients from such materials.
Finally ask yourself, “Do I trust my dental team to provide me with the best care with high quality materials?” Trust your instincts and if the answer is no, take the time to find another provider for your dental care.
What does Cornerstone Dental do to guard against gray market materials?
At Cornerstone Dental we buy over 99% of our dental supplies from Patterson Dental Supply. Patterson Dental is a leading dental distributor and we chose Patterson because they actively promote supply chain integrity helping ensure that our patients receive the best dental care with the best materials. The remaining 1% of supplies are highly specialized dental products which we purchase direct from the manufacturer.
Want to learn more about the dental gray market? Take a look at the following links: