February 17, 2015: A new bill filed January 15, 2015 in the Illinois Legislature by Illinois State Senator Pamela J. Althoff seeks to require the registration and licensing of all dental labs within the State of Illinois. In addition, labs would be required to operate under the supervision of a dental technician or dentist. Hearings will be held on February 18, 2015 by the Senate Committee on Licensed Activities and Pensions. Keith Crittenden, President of United Dental Resources and founder of both the AmericaSmiles Network and the American Dental Lab Association (ACDLA) has come out strongly against the bill.
In a letter sent to Illinois Lab Owners asking them to express their opposition, Crittenden claims the “law will not help the general public and will do further harm to small & midsize dental labs”. According to Crittenden, United Dental Resources has also set up informational pages and further instructions on www.dentallabprofile.com urging labs to voice their opposition by filing a witness slip against the bill.
Crittenden listed three main arguments in his letter addressed to lab owners:
- The public is not being harmed due to unlicensed or non certified dental lab technicians.
- Licensing hasn’t caused dentists to magically produce great preps and impressions so we can
anticipate no change in the quality delivered by lab technicians should licensing become law.
- Licensing in Texas and Florida has not improved the public health, the quality that labs
produce, nor the compensation that labs receive for their services.
In addition, he expressed concerns about the increased reporting demands upon the individual dental lab, the potential for the annual license fee to increase, and the likely expansion of the law through administrative rule-making which will ultimately require dental technicians to secure and maintain CDT (Certified Dental Technician) certification.
In an environment where licensed dentists are responsible for the quality of the product placed in the patient’s mouth, and existing laws requiring the disclosure of materials by the lab, many organizations, including ACDLA, believe there are sufficient protections for patients and that the licensing of Dental Laboratories will not have the desired affect of increasing public health.
Crittenden has conceded that some legislation could be beneficial for patients, dentists, and the dental labs. Laws that required dentists to disclose to patients the name of the lab who made the prosthetic and the cost the dentist paid for the services would offer patients information they need about the services they are buying and help dentists to better justify higher quality prosthetics.
“There is still time to express your opinion regarding this issue,” said Crittenden (feel free to comment here, but more importantly). “Make your opinions known to Illinois lawmakers by filing a witness slip.”