Dental Labs in the UK

A dental lab is a laboratory which specialises in manufacturing or customising products used by licensed dentists to assist in providing oral health care to their patients.  Dental laboratories make products such as crowns, bridges, dentures, and orthodontic appliances. When manufacturing these products, dental lab technicians follow a prescription from a registered dentist.

These items are also referred to as ‘custom made dental appliance’, this is because every one of the above items are tailor made to a patients requirements, unlike many manufacturing processes, custom made dental appliances are made to the unique requirements of each individual patient.  No two custom made dental appliances are ever the same.

Dental lab’s that manufacture custom made dental appliances in Great Britain are the most regulated in the world, with the sole purpose of protecting the patient.  This is due to the introduction of the Medical Devices Directive, the requirement for Dental Technicians to register with the General Dental Council.

Dental labs abroadDental Labs which are based overseas

The USA has a robust system in place with regulations set by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) controlling the type of materials that can be used in dental appliances.

Countries that manufacture custom made dental appliances in the Far East and Asia are predominately unregulated in relation to dental appliance manufacturing with no national regulations controlling the use and selection of materials or qualification of employees.


Some larger laboratories within China choose to implement ISO 9001 which controls the quality management of the business and ISO 13485 for the manufacture of medical devices, which albeit are internationally recognised but are nonetheless voluntary quality management systems and they do not necessarily prove compliance with regulations in Great Britain.

For dental laboratories manufacturing in India and the Maghreb countries the evidence of regulation of dental appliances is difficult to establish at present although there are plans are in place for India to put more controls on the medical devices market similar to that of Europe but as yet it seems unclear of the time frame for this.


DLA-LOGO-PromotingDLA – Dental Labs Association

The Dental Laboratories Association Ltd (DLA) is a professional body for dental laboratory owners in the UK. Currently the Association has around 1000 members, over 50 of whom are affiliates. It is estimated that members of the DLA are responsible for over 80% of the dental laboratory services in the UK.To represent effectively the interests of the members and provide a range of professional services to support and develop their businesses.

The DLA aims to: