Because the creation of dental crowns is very labor intensive, some large commercial laboratories outsource their work to China. The current market share of outsourced crown and bridge work is estimated around 20%. The way it works: the dentist shapes the teeth and takes a mold of the jaw and teeth and sends it to the dental laboratory to make the prosthesis (crown/ bridge/ veneer etc.). Directions are given by the dentist as to how to make it and what materials to use. The dentists chooses the dental laboratory that they send their work to and they range in quality and price just like any other sector of a free market economy. In order to save money the dentist may choose to send his/her work to a very inexpensive lab or the commercial lab may reduce their production costs by shipping out their work to places like China, the Philippines, Mexico, India and other lower cost markets. A recent investigative report ( completed in Cleveland) indicated that crowns that came from China contained 210 PPM of lead in the porcelain part of the crowns. The international allowable standard is only 90 PPM! Some 7 million plus crowns in the USA come from foreign labs. The lab is supposed to tell the dentist where the crown comes from and the lab is also supposed to register with the FDA. That does not always happen. Some large corporate alphabet soup type dental offices (HMO, PPO etc.) frequently use foreign trained dentists and offshore labs to reduce operational costs. Problem as a consumer is you never know what you get and if it meets high standards. The majority of dentist and US dental laboratories are quality oriented.
Our office has its own laboratory and its own certified dental technician. We use ONLY noble metals in crowns, bridges and prosthesis fabricated in house. We will be glad to show you the material content of the prosthesis that is made in our lab. We don’t cut corners and only use the best materials. For removable prosthesis we use gold, titanium or vitalium. And yes we do send out some work. We use high quality specialized labs that process sophisticated crowns such as zirconia (non metal / all ceramic crowns) that are located here in the USA where I know the technicians personally. Same is true for the completely removable prosthesis. You will never find any toxic materials in crowns / bridges or any prosthesis that we place in your mouth.