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Minnesota Legislature

Registration for dental labs

Published (2/24/2012)
By Sue Hegarty
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Ever wonder where the materials come from that dentists use for filling your teeth or inserting dental implants?

The mystery would be solved under a bill approved by the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee Feb. 16. It would require dental laboratories to register with the Board of Dentistry and to track the origin of lab materials. It also would require that at least one technician in a dental laboratory be a Certified Dental Technician. The CDT designation is the only American Dental Association-recognized standard for dental technicians.

Sponsored by Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing) and Sen. John Howe (R-Red Wing), HF614/ SF288*now goes to the House Ways and Means Committee. The Senate passed it last year 62-2.

“It’s a big step in the right direction of informing the dentist and the patient what material is going to be placed in their body and where it’s made,” said Gary Iocco, Midwest Dental Laboratory Association president.

There would be a one-time $20 registration fee so that the association could keep track of laboratories. The bill’s previous requirement that labs be certified was changed to voluntary.

Dominic Sposeto, a lobbyist for the Minnesota Dental Association, said dentists may use several different labs depending upon what they want manufactured, such as a crown. “It gives the dentist the country of origin so information is in a patient’s record,” Sposeto said.

The Board of Dentistry no longer supports the bill because it would need to subsidize registration costs and certification isn’t required, according to Marshall Shragg, Board of Dentistry executive director.

“We’re not sure there are any teeth to this,” Shragg said.

“We want the markets to work this out, and we believe they will because this is a public safety issue,” Kelly said.

Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) successfully amended the bill to include HF1461, which he sponsors. It was part of an omnibus bill vetoed by the governor last year. As amended, the bill would require city, state and non-profit agency social workers to be licensed beginning in 2016. County social workers would be exempt from licensing — a sticking point last year.

SF1305, sponsored by Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson), is the companion to Abeler’s bill. It awaits action by the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

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