The Maharashtra Government has recently released a government resolution giving more authority to local bodies to take action against illegal dental labs. Several such labs operate in the entire state of Maharashtra.

Between 1991 and 2003, the Maharashtra government published four GRs to curb the illegal dental prosthetics labs in the state. These GRs made it possible for local committees to be formed but they lacked authority to act against such labs. That is why this 5th new Government Resolution is important.

According to the Dentists Act of 1948, only qualified dental technicians are allowed to run dental labs. However, the sector suffers from a serious demand and supply mismatch. For the 30,000 plus dentists practicing in Maharashtra, only about 1000 qualified technicians are available for their dental prosthetics needs.

Rajkumar Singh of Dental Lab Owners Association, which is a group of 45 such unqualified labs in Mumbai, told Dental Practice, “Every year very few qualified dental technicians enter the work force in Maharashtra against 2800 dentists. Many of them even change professions, with such a mismatch if we try and close down unqualified labs, it will be a big burden on the dental profession as the prices will shoot up. He further added that a body should ensure quality control for all the labs.

Sandip Naik, President of Maharashtra Dental Mechanics Association told Dental Practice that this is a victory not only for qualified dental technicians but this is for the betterment of the patients too who deserve quality work from qualified people. He said if unqualified people are allowed to provide services then what is the incentive for anyone to get a degree. He further added that the argument of ratio cannot be given to justify something which is per se illegal. Further there were several qualified technicians registered in other states who are providing services in Maharashtra.