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Dental Lab Checkup
CINCINNATI (Paula Toti) -- In Ohio you need a license to wash hair or do nails for a living.
You need a license to adjust eye glasses but you don't need a license to operate a dental lab.
Shocking video of one lab came to light during a police stand off.
If you look at the video we have posted it speaks for itself. The operator of a state of the art Cincinnati dental lab was disgusted by what he saw, and said he wouldn't even call the lab a dental lab.
However, there is no law to say it's not.
Deron Blaylock who owns "Greater C" on the west side is working to elevate standards in his industry. The shocking lab he learned of in Springfield Ohio is just one example of why he wants regulations.
In the Springfield lab the man operating in the basement was discovered by Local 12's sister station WSYX in Columbus, after his brother was arrested at the home on several charges. Those charges included using weapons while intoxicated.
The dentures being made in the basement have been sold to Ohio dentists.
Blaylock says, "It's a self regulated industry."
The lack of regulation is upsetting . He runs a business that's been in his family three generations. He has been working with the Ohio Dental Association to lobby the legislature for at least minimum standards.
He wants, "At least some type of inspections, to inspect the facility to see if they are using up to date equipment."
Blaylock says while in-house labs and basement operators are common, they are normally clean and up to date. He does feel at a minimum there should be a certified dental technician there to oversee. Among other things a CDT needs five years of experience.
The man operating the basement lab in Springfield said he learned his job in a one year course in prison. He's not being identified because he hasn't broken any laws, since labs don't have to be regulated.
But while labs don't need to be regulated Local 12's Paula Toti points out that dentists themselves are highly regulated. That's where patients can take control and ask questions. Ask what type of relationship your dentist has with a lab and even ask about things like filling materials. Where do they get them?
Doctor Larry Hagen, who is a dentist in Cincinnati, says, "With filling material there are some catalog order companies. The order will look like the original but may be outdated and you might not know that."
He says not all mail order companies are bad, but like labs he thinks a dentist should take care to deal with reputable companies. He says a good dentist won't mind if you ask if they have personally inspected their dental lab, and why they may be ordering materials online, out of state, and even out of the country.
He says that can be a worry because you can lose control, "Not just in dentistry but in other industries as well. We have lead issues with toys and a few years ago some lead issues in crowns."
Hagen and Blaylock both say the majority of dentists and labs are above board, but when huge money is at stake there's always the potential for abuse. Without regulation Blaylock says, "Being honest comes down to a moral choice."
He says he wants patients to know his business is an art. It's even why he went to great lengths to put nice art on the walls and in the lobby of his business. He says, "It's an art and not just a matter of grinding out teeth."
Currently most labs in the United States are unregulated. Ohio does require that a dentist be told the "site of origin" of any dental material.
Kentucky does not have that requirement. However, Kentucky does require that a lab have a CDT.
Watch video HERE