Most people appreciate a good bargain, but there are some areas where you just can’t compromise quality for cost. Without a doubt, dentistry is such an area, yet there is a thriving black market for dental materials. Learn about counterfeit dental materials and supplies and how you can protect yourself.
Black market dental materials are more affordable because they are usually stolen or distributed in a way that allows suppliers to avoid standard fees and taxes. Some black market dental products were manufactured to be sold in other countries at lower costs, but are illegally sold in the U.S. In many cases, these products may have passed their expiration dates or be outdated, or they could not meet FDA standards for quality and safety, which could pose serious risks to patients.
One type of dental product that has been known to cause significant problems when purchased on the black market is adhesives used to hold dental restorations in place. Low quality adhesives could cause restorations to fit poorly or not be properly secured, which may lead to broken teeth, decay, or other serious oral health issues.
What’s being done to reduce the influx of black market dental materials? The FDA created stronger rules for labeling and materials of medical devices in 2011, which has allowed for better product tracking and a tighter distribution chain. Also, many manufacturers of dental products are now using different brand names and packaging for materials intended for foreign countries to make black market products more easily identifiable.
Reputable dentists take care to purchase supplies from legitimate and respected manufacturers who enforce strict testing and quality control standards. Your dentist wants you to be confident in the care you are receiving, so he or she is happy to answer any questions you may have about the source of materials and products involved in your treatment.
DiMatteo, Allison. “Gray and Black Market Dental Products: Are You at Risk?” Consumer Guide to Dentistry.
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Black market dental products are not approved by the FDA and may lead to serious health consequences for unwitting patients.