When you go to the dentist, you always expect that you will get top-quality materials, or, at least, legally purchased material that meets the standards of FDA and other regulators in the country. But, according to a report by the American Dental Association, some dentists are buying materials never approved or intended for use in the US. Acquiring these materials at discount prices, the dentists then try to lure people in with lower costs, but don’t reveal the source of the discount.

These materials may pose a hazard to you, and are another reason why you should never choose a dentist on the basis solely of price.

Dentist with a patient

What Are Gray Market Materials?

White market products are definitely legal. Black market products are definitely illegal. But gray market materials are of a dubious quality. They may be legal, or they may not be. Most likely the dentist buying them doesn’t know for sure and is focused on the cost savings.

Gray market materials are offered by unauthorized retailers at a cost below that which authorized retailers sell them. The source of their material varies, and most of the time it’s hidden from the dentist who is buying them.

There are many potential types of gray market materials. One is just products that are labeled for use in a different country but are otherwise the same. Another is materials that may carry the same brand name but may differ significantly in other ways. Other materials may be marketed under different names that have different characteristics from those intended for the US market. Finally, gray market materials may be materials that have been recalled by the manufacturer for various reasons, including major defects.

Material marketed for use outside the US but otherwise the same would be considered legal. Other classes of gray market materials would be illegal.

Bargain Dentistry May Not Be a Good Deal after All

What does this mean for dental patients here in Columbia? Largely, it’s a reminder that you have to be careful when choosing a dentist and especially wary if a dentist seems to be marketing a deal that’s much below that being offered by other dentists in the area. It’s also important to make sure you find a dentist who prioritizes quality care and the health of patients above all else.

At Smile Columbia Dentistry, our Columbia, SC cosmetic dentists are dedicated to quality dentistry first, last, and always. We use the best materials to ensure you get the treatment you deserve.

To learn more about what sets us apart, please call (803) 781-9090 today for an appointment.