What does a dental laboratory technician do?

Dental laboratory technicians make and repair dental appliances, such as dentures, crowns, and braces. They usually work in dental offices and commercial laboratories.

What might a dental laboratory technician do in a workday?

Dental laboratory technicians:

  • provide essential support service for the dental profession according to the dentist’s prescription or work request.
  • fabricate dental models from dentist’s impressions in order to make repairs and fabricate crowns, bridges, partial and complete dentures, and orthodontic appliances based on the dentist’s prescription.
  • cast various dental alloys for fabrication of crowns, bridges, and removable partial dentures.
  • select and arrange artificial teeth using color charts and tooth illustrations for fabrication of complete and partial dentures.
  • build, contour, and fire dental porcelain in special vacuum porcelain ovens.
  • polish alloys, acrylic, and porcelain surfaces to clinical acceptability.
  • bend and solder stainless steel wire to fabricate orthodontic retainers and various other orthodontic appliances.

Developing a Career as a Dental Laboratory Technician:

Dental laboratory technicians can specialize in various aspects of the work prescribed by dentists and orthodontists: crown and bridge technicians, denture technicians, partial denture technicians, ceramic technicians, and orthodontic technicians. Most dental laboratory technicians work in commercial dental laboratories. Employment opportunities also are available in private dental offices, dental schools, hospitals, and companies that manufacture dental prosthetic materials.

How much does a dental laboratory technician earn?

  • $22,000 - $50,000

How do I become a dental laboratory technician?

Students wishing to pursue a career as a dental laboratory technician should take challenging high school courses in science, math, and English. Most dental laboratory technicians receive their education and training through a two-year program at a community college, vocational school, technical college, or dental school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Graduates of these programs usually receive associate degrees. In most cases, an individual needs a high school diploma to apply to an accredited program. Dental laboratory technicians are certified by passing an examination that evaluates their technical skills and knowledge.

Some people become dental laboratory technicians through a five-year apprenticeship program, with most of the training acquired on the job.

Where else can I learn about becoming a dental laboratory technician?

National Association of Dental Laboratories
325 John Knox Road, L103 / Tallahassee, FL 32303
tel: (800) 950-1150 or (850) 205-5626 / web: www.nadl.org

National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology
325 John Knox Road, L103 / Tallahassee, FL 32303
tel: (800) 684-5310 / web: www.nbccert.org

Educational Institutions in Virginia for Dental Laboratory Technicians: