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CAREERS IN DENTISTRY

 
 

 

 

 

Dental Laboratory Technician

 

 

 

 


 

Dental lab technicians are the behind-the-scenes members of a dental team. They generally work in the dental laboratory working from the impressions taken at the dentist's office. They create crowns and veneers, orthodontic appliances and splints and fabricate full and partial dentures,. The lab technician works with a wide range of materials using high-tech equipment and instruments.



Overview of Responsibilities


If you like doing precision work with your hands, enjoy working independently and are interested in health care, a career as a dental laboratory technician may be for you.

The dental laboratory technician takes on significant responsibility as a member of the dental health care team. Dental technicians make dental prostheses - replacements for natural teeth to help people who have lost some or all of their teeth to eat, chew, talk and smile in a manner that is similar to or better than the way they did before.

Since each dental patient's specific needs are different, the duties of a dental laboratory technician are comprehensive and varied. Although dental technicians seldom work directly with patients, except under the direction of a licensed dentist, they are valuable members of the dental care team. They work directly with dentists by following detailed written instructions and using impressions (molds) of the patient's teeth or oral soft tissues to create:full dentures for patients who are missing all of their teeth; removable partial dentures or fixed bridges for patients who are missing only one or a few teeth; crowns, which are caps for teeth that are designed to restore their original size and shape; veneers, that enhance the esthetics and function of the patient; and
orthodontic appliances and splints to help straighten and protect teeth. 

Dental technicians work with a variety of materials in replacing damaged or missing tooth structure. These include waxes, plastics, precious and non-precious alloys, stainless steel, a variety of porcelains and composites or polymer glass combinations.

Additionally, many technicians acquire skill in the use of sophisticated instruments and equipment while performing laboratory procedures. It is important for the technician to help create tooth replacements that are both esthetic and functional in order to improve a patient's appearance.




Education


Dental laboratory technicians may receive their education and training through a two-year program at a community college, vocational school, technical college, university or dental school. Graduates of these programs receive either an associate degree or a certificate. There are also a few programs that offer a four-year baccalaureate program in dental technology.

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