How To Make A Good Dental Lab Technician Salary

The world of dentistry can be extremely lucrative and that does not just extend to dentists; it is possible to make a good dental lab technician salary and the following information describes how this can be achieved. There are a number of options available both in terms of career and training for dental lab technicians. Whilst we all know that becoming a dentist can be the path to riches; it is perhaps less well known that a dental lab technician salary can often be as high as $50k per year with average dental lab technician making around $35k per annum.

The key to making a good dental lab technician salary is quite simple, be a good dental lab technician. The role of dental lab technician can also be a very rewarding career and can offer more than financial remuneration to those who work hard. Outlined in the information below is a guide to the steps required to become a dental lab technician and also the steps to becoming a good dental lab technician and earning a good dental lab technician salary.

What Does A Dental Laboratory Technician Do?

For those looking to work in dental lab technician jobs, it is important to know what this role encompasses. A dental laboratory technician works in the field of dentistry and provides support to the dentist or dental operator. It is the role of a dental lab technician to make bespoke dental or restorative appliances for dental patients under instruction from the dentist or dental operator.
The types of appliances made by dental lab technician and requested by the dentist fall within four main categories which are as follows:

Fixed Prosthesis

These are dental appliances which remain fixed in the mouth and include bridges, crowns and dental implants. This involves the use of ceramics and this is an aspect in which dental lab technicians can become highly specialized.

Removable Prosthesis

These are dental appliances which can be removed from the mouth such false teeth including dentures and partial dentures. These need to fit exactly into the gums and as such require a lot of skill in their manufacture.

Orthodontic Appliances

Dental lab technicians are responsible for manufacturing fixed and removable retainers as well as mouth shields for use in sports. Retainers need to be as comfortable as possible and this requires a fine hand and dexterity.

Maxillofacial Prosthesis

Such prosthesis is used by dentists to reconstruct parts of the face which have been affected by disease such as cancer. This is a highly technical role within the field of dental lab technician.

In undertaking this work the dental laboratory technician will work closely with the dentist to ensure that the dental lab technician is able to produce appliances of the exact specifications. Every patient is different and therefore every dental appliance will be different. It is only through close liaison with the dentist that the dental lab technician can make accurate appliances which are a perfect fit for the patient.

What Dental Lab Technician Training And Qualifications Are Needed?

Unlike many other professions in the dentistry field, such as hygienist or advanced dental therapist, there is no legal requirement to have a qualification from a dental program. That is to say that you can operate as a dental technician in the U.S. without being accredited as such. It is for this reason that some dental laboratory technicians have worked their way up to this position from a trainee position in a dental practice or within a laboratory.

However, it should be noted that to even be hired at the bottom of the ladder in this field employers still prefer those with a high school diploma and those with diplomas in a scientific field will probably be considered more favourably upon their application.
However in order to earn a good dental lab technician salary it is preferable to take further studies in this field. There are now a number of universities and colleges which offer dental technician lab technician training as well as a number of dental technician schools. Such courses have been accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) working in partnership with the American Dental Association (ADA). These courses take two years to complete; although a high school diploma in a science is usually a prerequisite of these courses.

Whilst having an accredited qualifications in dental technology is not a legal requirement, in some states dental technician laboratories need at least one qualified and accredited member of staff. Furthermore, in these states, at least one dental technician must undertake at least 18 hours of training every two years in order to retain their accreditation. Obtaining a recognised qualification as a dental technician can certainly help you get a good dental lab technician salary and to be ahead of others working in the field. It may help you to become a supervisor or manager in a dental technology laboratory and with it the assurance of a good dental lab technician salary.

For those who really want to get ahead in the world of dental technicians a ‘Certified Dental Technician’ qualification is a good option. This advanced qualification is offered by the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology (NBC) which is part of the National Association of Dental Laboratories. This certificate offers training in crowns and bridges, ceramics, dentures and orthodontics. In order to apply to undertake this course, dental technicians needs to have completed a program as above or have completed five years in a dental laboratory in place of attendance at the aforementioned dental technician schools.

There are also a number of other careers available for those who have obtained qualifications in dental technology which may not be available to those who have worked their way up in to the position; this includes but is not limited to jobs with dental suppliers in areas of product development, sales and marketing. Some experienced and qualified dental technologists may consider opening their own dental laboratory which can be an extremely lucrative business and earn them a very good dental lab technician salary.

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