After four years, 17 amendments, countless committee debates, and initial resistance from the state dental association and board of dentistry, bill SF288--requiring dental laboratories to register and disclose material content and country of origin--was signed into law by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton in May.
Effective January 1, 2013, all laboratories in Minnesota must register with the Minnesota Board of Dentistry; the initial registration fee is $50 for the first two years and $25 for every subsequent two years.
In addition, the law requires all laboratories in the state to provide the following information to the dentist to be stored in the patient's record (Minnesota dentists using an out-of-state lab must obtain the same information from that lab):
Material content of the restoration and confirmation that FDA-compliant materials were used.
The country of origin where the restoration--in whole or in part--was fabricated, including the laboratory name and address.
Since material content and country of origin will be a permanent part of the patient's record, the dentist is required to share the information if the patient asks. The law does not include a few provisions that were part of the original bill: the requirement for every technician to have eight hours of continuing education every two years and for every laboratory to have a CDT on staff or be DAMAS- or ISO-certified.
"I think the law is going to be very good for our profession," says Gary Iocco, President of the Midwest Dental Laboratory Association (MDLA), who worked tirelessly for its passing. "We don't want to put any laboratories out of business or even dictate that lab work can't go offshore, but we want a level playing field. It's all about transparency and safety."