Dental Technician

A dental technician works in the art and science of dental technology.  The technician is the part of the dental team who creates dental appliances and restorations.  Within dental technology, there are four major disciplines.  These are permanent prosthesis which includes implants, bridges, and crowns; removable prosthesis which include removable partial dentures and dentures; orthodontics and auxiliaries which include mouth guards and orthodontic appliances; and maxillofacial prosthesis which include craniofacial prosthesis and ocular prosthesis.

Dental Technicians Work

Removable restorations:  Removable restorations are dental appliances that replace a lost tooth or teeth.  Because they are removable, they can be taken out and cleaned at night.  While they are in the individual’s mouth they are simulate the natural function of the tooth / teeth.  Restorations that can be removed are either partial dentures and over dentures or full dentures.

Maxillofacial:   Maxillofacial dental technologist make prosthesis for the eyes and face and mostly work with Oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

Orthodontics:  Orthodontic technologists make orthodontic appliances that are removable with screws, springs, and wires when prescribed from an Orthodontist.  This is done to maintain the position of previously moved teeth or to move the position of teeth that are currently in the mouth in a more aesthetic appearance and harmonious occlusion  of the teeth.

The role of a dental technician is an important role as they are a major part of the dental team.  They must create corrective devices and replacements that simulate the natural function of the patient’s teeth.  It is a career where skills and experience, as well as, education must be first rate, and a career that does require dedication.

Certified Dental Technician

In order to obtain a career as a dental technician, schooling is necessary.  Being certified as a dental lab technician is necessary to enter the field.  Skill is essential in all individuals that are considering a career in the field and candidates must have good vision and color perceptions, good dexterity with small instruments, excellent eye hand coordination, and a strong focus for detail.

Certification is the process of assessing a dental technician’s applied skill level and knowledge that is required to perform the tasks required in the career.  The certification requires three exams and when the student successfully passes each, they then receive their certificate as a Certified Dental Technician.  The examination must be taken within one year of graduation from schooling.

The Dental Laboratory Technician Diploma allows you to enter the field and seek employment as a dental technician.

Dental X-Ray Technician

A dental x-ray technician is another course offered by many school and is a certificate program that typically consists of a single course.  These courses are typically taken by dental assistants who require the course for their renewal or licensure of a state license.

Types Of Dental Technician Schools

There are different types of programs that students can enroll in.  The first is a certificate program which typically lasts about a year.  This is the least intensive of the training courses, but, one that is effective and accepted in the field.

There are also associate’s degree programs and bachelor’s degree programs.  With any of the programs, in order to be considered for acceptance to the school the candidate must have a high school diploma or equivalent.

For a certified dental technician program the course structure will include:

  • Removable partial dentures
  • Oral and dental anatomy
  • Occlusion
  • Dental materials
  • Fixed partial dentures

For those that are truly dedicated to their career and seek the highest salary possible, then it is necessary to take an associate’s or bachelor’s program, as the advancement and schooling in the profession is something that employers will look upon strongly.

Dental Technician Salary

The dental technician salary will vary and be based on various factors.  The city which the dental technician works is a major influence on their salary.  Large cities pay much higher than small home town areas.   On an average, however, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a dental technician can expect to earn close to $37K annually.  Other factors that will influence salary base are education and experience in the career.

The outlook for employment in the coming years is expected to be just as strong, and to have little to no change.  Dental corrective devices and replacements are something that will always be needed and it is not expected that the career go down in demand.

Work Facilities

There are different environments that a dental technician can work.  Dental offices is one, a military base another, labs another.  The environment must be well maintained and well-lit and well ventilated.  Dental technicians work with specialized tools at their own private work bench using equipment such as Bunsen burners, grinding equipment and polishing equipment.  The work requires precision and accuracy and a great deal of skill and knowledge.

In conclusion, dental technician is a job that is in high demand.  The demand for this job is relatively high and expected to remain high in the next ten years. Dental technicians work to restore and create corrective devices such as crowns, bridges, dentures and other dental appliances.  The job of the technician is to work closely with the dentist, and the technician is a prominent member of the dental team.  The environment which the technician works is one that must be well-lit and well-ventilated, as well as, clean.  Technicians often work from their own work bench using precision tools and instruments. To be able to enter the field, a certificate or diploma is necessary, as well as, passing the state exam.  The career is a professional career with a great amount of respect and a median annual income of about $37K.  The school in which you attend should be given serious thought, and it should be a school that is accredited.  Dental technician is a great career path and one can expect to spend anywhere from one to four years training to be a dental technician.

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