During its Annual Session in October, the ADA's House of Delegates passed key resolutions to improve dentist-technician working relationships and ensure the quality of prosthetic services.
The resolutions come five years after The Lab Summit--a grassroots group of concerned technicians, dentists, educators, association representatives and manufacturers--began meeting annually to discuss challenges facing the dental laboratory and dental professions. Originally organized by Drs. Gordon Christensen and William Yancey and now led by Executive Director Dr. Burney Croll, the Lab Summit participants engaged leaders of national dental organizations in the effort, culminating in the ADA's Future of Dental Technology Conference in 2009.
Following the conference, the ADA's Council on Dental Practice weighed a variety of concerns--reduced laboratory coursework in dental schools, dwindling technology education programs, an aging technician workforce and offshore competition among them--and opted to immediately focus on dentist/technician interaction. Highlights of the resolutions are:
- To facilitate valuable interaction between dental students and technicians, the ADA will encourage dental schools to use on-premises laboratories whenever possible; schools will also be discouraged from sending work to an offshore laboratory.
- When a technology school is nearby, dental schools will be asked to offer joint courses for dental and laboratory students on topics such as morphology/occlusion, prosthetic design and fabrication, waxing, casting, surveying of study casts and CAD/CAM.
- In order to ensure technicians can offer adequate technical support to dentist-clients, the ADA will encourage technicians to become certified and pursue continuing education.
- The ADA will ask dental societies to recognize the continuing education needs of certified dental technicians and invite them to meetings and seminars, both as attendees and presenters.