ADA survey: Few dentists own labs

Only 2.8% of dentists have their own in-office lab, according to a new survey by the ADA. Conducted in 2008, the survey was based on questionnaires completed by 1,112 U.S. dentists.

Another 6.1% don't use labs and the rest use independent labs, the survey found.

Why would dentists want their own lab? Two-thirds (67.7%) of those who have them said their practices were so big they could make more money this way. Another 45.2% said they just wanted a technician who worked for them.

Of those using independent labs, 31.3% used three different labs, 28% used two labs, and 9.7% used only one. The rest used more than three.

The survey also probed questions of materials content. It found that patients of 44.6% of the respondents had asked questions about the content of materials.

Some labs are providing that information. More than half (54.7%) of respondents got information on materials content through IdentAlloy stickers for prosthetics containing metals. In addition, labs supplied 51.7% with materials content information in some other form (the survey did not ask whether any labs provided both IdentAlloy and other sources of materials content information).

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