What are Gray Market Dental Supplies and How to Avoid Them

October 26, 2021

Experts project that the dental supplies market will be worth 9.3 billion by 2025. The majority of players in this market provide high-quality, reputable products. But have you heard about the gray market for dental supplies?

Gray markets are everywhere, and the dental supply industry is no different. In the dental world, the grey market consists of dental equipment suppliers who aren't licensed to sell branded products. Dental equipment counterfeiters also participate in the gray market.

While that may not seem so bad, consider this: buying equipment through a gray market company means you won't get the benefit of a manufacturer's warranty. And that will cost you in the long run.

So, how do you spot a gray market dental supply dealer? And where can you find the highest-quality dental equipment on the market? We're answering these and more questions in this guide, so keep reading.

The Dental Equipment Gray Market: Explained

To understand the dental supplies gray market, you must first know how the dental equipment industry works. The biggest players are manufacturers, their authorized distributors, and dental clinic customers.

Some manufacturers sell their products directly to dentists. But the majority of producers sell their products to licensed wholesale dealers. These dental supplies companies then sell the equipment to dental clinics at a markup.

In some cases, manufacturers sell dental equipment to large dealer marketplaces like Supply Clinic. These large dealers either sell to dental clinics or smaller authorized distributors. Then, the smaller distributors turn the products around to dentists.

How the Gray Market Came About

Each time dental supply companies make a sale, money exchanges hands. In other words, the buyer must pay a fee to the seller.

Because of the multi-layered distribution model we outlined above, dentists can end up paying high prices for dental supplies.

Products get marked up even further to cover authorized dealer fees. This means that authorized dealers must pay a set cost or a percentage of sales to the manufacturer.

All of these factors have driven up the cost of medical equipment. The early gray market dealers knew this. So, they started offering discount dental supplies for sale to prey on dentists.

These dealers either market counterfeit products or buy directly from manufacturers' websites. Because they don't have to pay fees to the manufacturer or another dealer, they can offer highly competitive prices.

The Dangers of Buying Gray Market Dental Supplies

By now, you may be thinking: grey market equipment doesn't sound so bad. After all, it costs less, leaving more money for you to reinvest in your business.

We've already mentioned how products sold through unauthorized dealers don't qualify for the manufacturer's warranty. But that only scratches the surface of the harm the gray market can do.

You could also lose thousands of dollars on these products if they're fraudulent. Or, worse, you could end up with patient lawsuits on your hands.

For example, many gray market dealers sell supplies manufactured in other countries. These products may be significantly cheaper. But they compromise quality and even efficacy.

Some dealers even market counterfeit supplies. Counterfeit equipment could be tampered with or may not function at all. You could be held liable if the dysfunctional product harms your patients.

You don't want to lose money to gray market dental supplies. So, here's how to identify and steer clear of unauthorized dealers.

How to Identify a Gray Market Product

Unfortunately, it's not always possible to identify a gray market product. That's why it's always best to find a reputable supplier you can trust and stick with that dealer for the long haul.

Still, here are some top ways to identify gray market dealers and products.

The Price Is too Good to Be True

As we've mentioned, the way gray market dealers acquire dental supplies allows them to sell products at significant discounts. So, the first way to identify gray market supplies is to avoid prices that seem too good to be true.

Don't expect to be able to identify counterfeit or tampered with products based on packaging alone. Counterfeiters have gotten better at mimicking the packaging of legitimate products.

It's Expired

Another red flag to look out for is expired products. Fraudulent dealers will try to sell old products to make an extra buck. Expiration dates coming up soon should also be a sign you're dealing with a gray market dental supplier.

When a product expires, it presents a higher risk of failure. Product failure of gray market equipment has the potential to harm your patients — and your practice.

Check the Manufacturer's Website

Even if alarms don't go off about price or expiration dates, you could still be dealing with gray market supplies. Counterfeiters can artificially inflate prices and even alter expiration dates.

This is why it's so important to check manufacturer's websites for a list of authorized dealers. If your dental equipment maker doesn't publish an authorized dealer list, your staff can call the manufacturer for information.

Legitimate Dental Supplies Near Me

You don't want to mess around with unauthorized or counterfeit dental supplies. That's why it's critical to learn how to identify fraudulent equipment dealers and products.

Are you searching for a reputable source for high-quality dental equipment? Supply Clinic is a manufacturer-authorized dental supplies online marketplace.

We trace our supplies back to the manufacturer guaranteed, all while offering customers 30% off dental equipment. Browse our dental supplies categories and place your first order today!

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