A dental lab technician works in dental laboratory technology. The field is an art and science of creating replacements and corrective devices for natural teeth. The technician works closely with the dentist and this is a career that is a professional career that receives a great deal of respect.
Dental lab technology is an art because each restoration that the dental lab technician performs is unique, as no two mouths are the same, and the replacements or devices must be designed to work as the natural function of the natural teeth of the patient. The technician must have expert skills and experience or the smile of the patient with the corrective devices or replacements will not look natural.
It is also a science in which dental lab technician use a wide range of high tech materials and must have a great understanding of the mechanics of the mouth and dental devices.
Become a Dental Lab Tech in 2021? Salary, Jobs, Education
For those that have an interest in becoming a dental lab technician, they should first determine if they have the skill. Candidate should have dexterity with small instruments, good color perception, good vision, excellent eye hand coordination, and a strong focus and patience to handle each minute detail.
The next step is to decide upon the dental lab technician course. You will have the option of studying for an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree in a dental technician program, which is more beneficial to all those who wish to enter the career as they will be in a better position to receive a higher salary and the student will be able to choose and area of specialization, such as bridges, ceramics, complete dentures, orthodontics, or partial dentures.
Your dental lab technician courses should be from a school that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. Once you have completed your training, which will take about two years, you will then receive certification in your specialty from the National Board for Certification
Different Types Of Dental Lab Technician Programs
There are different types of programs that students can enroll in. The first is a dental technician school which offers a certificate program. These programs teach students in general areas of dental lab technology and offers specialty training in denture fabrication and dental ceramics. The certificate programs typically take about a year to complete.
To be eligible to attend accredited dental technician schools students must hold a high school diploma or equivalent. If the student knows early on that they wish to become a dental lab technician they should focus their studies in science, art and woodshop and drafting
Course structure for dental lab technician courses includes:
- Oral and dental anatomy
- Fixed partial dentures
- Dental materials
- Removable partial dentures
Associate’s Degree In Dental Lab Technology
An associate’s degree in dental lab technology is a step above the certificate program and definitely puts the dental technician in a better position to receive a higher salary. In the associate’s program a student learns to work with a variety of materials and to construct and repair different types of dental prosthetic appliances.
Course structure for the associate’s degree in dental lab technology includes:
- Fixed prosthodontics
- Orthodontic appliances
- Removable partial dentures
- Dental anatomy and physiology
- Dental laboratory materials
- Dental history and professional ethics
The dental technician is a skilled artisan who creates corrective devices and replacements to restore the oral structure and tissues of the mouth and gums.
Dental technicians with an associate’s degree have the opportunity to work in:
- Military base dental laboratories
- Dental product manufactures
- Hospital dental clinics
- Commercial dental laboratories
- Private dental offices
Bachelor’s Degree In Dental Lab Technology
A bachelor’s degree in dental lab technology provides the student with intensive training in implant restoration, fixed prosthodontics, orthodontics, and removable prosthodontics. Students work in modern facilities and learn the latest developments in dental lab technology
Course structure for the bachelor’s degree in dental lab technology includes:
- Orthodontic laboratory
- Dental materials science
- Applied laboratory management
- Complete dentures
- Advanced fixed prosthodontics
Salary For Dental Lab Technicians
Dental lab technician salary may vary. How much is dental laboratory technician salary these days? Before you consider and decide to be in the profession, you should first take a closer look at how much income you can make. It is not bad to make sure you will be financially compensated and rewarded for the service you will render.
According to latest data from the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, annual dental laboratory technician salary is $37,690 on the average. That is equivalent to a wage amounting to $18.12 per hour. Dental laboratory technicians working in education facilities receive $44,270 annual average payment while those working in federal facilities make higher at about $53,090.
Dental Laboratory Technician Salary Information
Dental laboratory technician salary is also vary depending on geographical location, industry of employment, and experience. Such professionals receive different salary rates depending on their location. Dental laboratory technician salary in District of Columbia is highest at about $30.21 per hour (median). The rate in Delaware is just about $16.94 in comparison, which is considered as among the lowest in the US. In most of the states in the country, hourly wage for dental laboratory technicians is around $15.000.
Dental laboratory technicians usually work in various settings. Those include huge laboratories, hospitals, dental offices, manufacturing plants, educational facilities, and sales. Some of the professionals even opt to put up and operate their own laboratories. In general, those that eventually become laboratory managers or educators generate more and higher income than others.
Those that end up as sales representatives often hold other additional positions like research, sales, and marketing specifically of dental supplies. Dental laboratory technician salary in manufacturing businesses is also commonly higher compared to the rates in other employment sectors. Moreover, operating his own laboratory can make a dental laboratory technician earn more in revenues.
Factors That Affect Dental Laboratory Technician Salary
There are several other important and significant factors that may influence and affect dental laboratory technician salary. Wage rate may depend on the kind of education or training a technician has gained. Graduates from dental technician schools are more likely to receive higher salary packages. In many cases, the number of years of experience can also help increase compensation.
How skilled the professional is, as always, pose huge impact on the salary rate of any dental laboratory technician. Employers and laboratory owners logically need dental technicians who can provide higher quality of work at much faster speed. This is among the justifications why it usually takes several years for dental technicians to attain the salary that they find and perceive to be agreeable. One has to push his self to learn more as well as to do tasks faster (without losing accuracy).
Of course, dental laboratory technician salary may also depend on the overall attitude. Employers commonly dislike hiring a professional who lacks ideal behavior. No one likes dramas and personal issues affecting daily operations. It is a common knowledge that how a professional behaves may affect his work level and performance as well as those of his co-workers. A dental laboratory technician who can be in good terms with co-workers and clients is always desired, admired, and preferred.
Dental Lab Technician Job Outlook
The outlook for dental technician employment is good, and there is expected to be little or no change for the next ten years.
The need for dental technicians will always be there, as age, accident, poor diet and care will always create the need for corrective devices and replacements. As cosmetic prosthetics become less expensive, the demand for them will be greater which is another benefit for dental technicians.
There is a greater awareness of oral health care today and more individuals are working harder to maintain a healthy set of teeth, which will decrease the need for corrective devices and replacements.
In conclusion, a dental lab technician uses mold or impressions of a patient’s teeth and gums to create dentures, bridges, crowns and other dental appliances. They work closely with the dentist but have little interaction with patients. The work environment must be clean, well-lighted and well-ventilated. Certificate or degree programs are also available as an option in order to get accreditation in this profession .
Dental Lab Technician Qualification
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 favorably 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 science is usually a prerequisite of these courses.
Whilst having 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 recognized 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.
How To Become A Dental Technician
Dental technician jobs are sought after these days. Thus, it is not surprising that many individuals want to know how to become a dental technician. Just like all other professions in the dental healthcare team, becoming a dental technician is not as easy as it seems. It is true that the job requires least educational attainment and credentials, but the professional surely has to be properly oriented, educated, and trained to perform not-so-simple duties.
In general, dental technicians create bridges, false teeth (dentures), and crowns strictly following the mold of patients’ teeth coming from the dentist. The technician’s job may be performed in a designated dental laboratory. He has to be knowledgeable not just about the use of special instruments and appliances but also about the proper handling of materials like wax, porcelain, and metals. Good vision, strong attention to keen details, and manual dexterity are also expected from anyone who wants to know how to become a dental technician.
How to become a dental technician? As mentioned, it will not be as easy as it may seem. An individual has to possess not just the right education and training but also the right physical attributes and traits. Determination is also important to achieve career goals.
Education And Training As Factor On How To Become A Dental Technician
There are dental lab technician programs offered and facilitated in certain colleges, universities, community schools, and technical centers. Certification or diploma programs may take just a few months to be completed. However, experts recommend taking and completing an appropriate two-year degree program to be eligible for numerous career progression opportunities and higher pay.
The dental technician program will be a guide on how to become a dental technician. That is because individuals who take required courses are educated and trained about proper and recommended techniques in doing dental lab technician tasks. Be sure the program you take is accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation.
Completing a program or required educational units will qualify an individual to take examinations conducted by the National Board for Certification. Passing such a test will lead to obtaining the necessary certification to work formally as a full-pledged and credible dental technician. An individual may be allowed to take the exam even without completing a program if he has accumulated proper and recognizable training on the actual job for a specific number of years.
How To Become A Dental Technician Without Completing An Appropriate Program
It is possible for anyone to work as a dental technician. Many employers hire candidates who have not taken dental lab technician programs or courses. Those may offer to provide the right education and training to such individuals while on the job. The setback of this arrangement is that the candidates are not eligible to enjoy lucrative salary packages and are not qualified for career development and advancement opportunities.
Thus, anyone who wants to know how to become a dental technician is advised to take the appropriate and necessary program to be one. Competition across the job market is always intense. Those who have the right credentials, education, and training will always be at an advantage.
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 Lab Technician Career
Dental lab technician salary is not the only factor to be looked at by anyone intending to establish a dental lab technician career. That aspect is quite promising and lucrative, though. According to data released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, average annual salary of such professionals is currently at $37,690. Hourly wages can be around $17 to $18.
The agency expects average employment growth for the profession to grow faster than average of other occupations until 2018. In 2008 alone, the number of individuals with dental lab technician career stood at a whopping 46,000 across the US. Since then, the number has been growing steadily.
Job Description Of Dental Lab Technician Career
Dental laboratory technicians, also called dental technicians, are generally tasked to manufacture dental prosthetics like crowns, bridges, and dentures. Those items are made according to the specifications provided by dentists. The dental lab technician career is also heavily involved in handling of orthodontic appliances, complete and partial dentures, and ceramics.
The dental lab technician career can be a challenging one. On a typical day, the professional may be tasked to make bridges, crowns, dentures, and many other dental prosthetics, which as mentioned are strictly based on prescriptions by dentists. The job task may tend to be routine but it is highly technical.
The procedure for making the items may not be properly done by non-professionals. A model of the patient’s mouth is first created using plaster and the impression set by the dentist. The model will have to accurately detail the patient’s teeth placement, gum line, and bite. From there, a wax model of the mouth will be built and shaped. It will be used to cast metal framework for a prosthetic device and the porcelain teeth. Finishing touches will then have to be observed.
Educational And Training Requirements Of A Dental Lab Technician Career
The path to a dental lab technician career is a challenging but rewarding one. Dental lab technicians usually receive necessary on-the-job training. But those who have undergone formal education and training through colleges and vocational technical schools are at greater edge.
Finding programs that will lead to dental lab technician career may not be difficult. In 2004, there were about 25 dental lab programs duly accredited by no less than the American Dental Association. To date, that number is estimated to have more than doubled. Most of the two-year programs lead to associate degrees. Four-year programs lead to bachelor’s degrees.
Classroom instruction is still the most recommended mode of learning. But anyone pursuing dental lab career should also receive adequate hands-on experience and training. Certified dental lab technicians get better career opportunities. Certifications are provided by the National Board for Certification and the National Association of Dental Laboratories following completion of requirements.
A dental lab technician career is also for individuals who meet several other requirements. A person should possess good vision and manual dexterity to qualify for the job. He should also be adept at recognition of shape variations and very fine color shades. Artistic aptitude is another significant trait for more precise and detailed outputs.
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
- 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.
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 workbench 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.
Dental Technician Job Description
Dental technician job description includes construction of various appliances like fixed and removable prostheses. Those include creation of dentures, crowns, bridges, and retention plates. The professional may also be trained to perform post orthodontic braces removal. The dental technician is expected to do his functions and responsibilities properly and effectively.
In general, the dental technician job description mandates the professional to directly work with dentists. He has to follow detailed written instructions and specifications from the orthodontist or dentist. Part of the job is to use molds for replicating teeth when constructing crowns, false teeth, or bridges.
To make prostheses, the dental technician has to be knowledgeable about many other things. Part of dental technician job description is using skills and expertise in using materials like stainless steel, wax, gold, porcelain, and some other metals. He should also be able to make aesthetic and metal-free prostheses when needed.
What Other Things To Expect From Dental Technician Job Description?
It is becoming usual for dental technician job description to include tasks that involve carving and shaping. The professional has to possess qualities that are typical of carvers. He has to be used to using special tools like lathes, presses, and drills. At the same time, he has to know how to heat furnaces especially when creating prosthetic devices.
Most employers set a general dental technician job description when hiring such professionals. They require the dental technicians to perform specific tasks. Those include making dentures for patients who have missing teeth, veneers for enhancing aesthetics, and crowns for restoration of root canal treated teeth. The dental technician is also tasked to help straighten as well as protect teeth using different orthodontic treatment tools and splints.
Requirements For Dental Technician Job Description
A dental technician has to meet certain requirements before he is hired by any employer. Those may not be numerous. Educational requirements may not be as stringent and as demanding as other professionals within the dental healthcare team. An individual who has completed a technical certification program for dental technicians will easily fit the bill. But some employers hire candidates who have at least a high school diploma. In such cases, dental technicians are required to undergo specific training while on the job.
To become one of the eligible certified technicians, an individual has to take and pass examinations conducted by no less than the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology. A successful passer of such tests will automatically become a Certified Dental Technician or CDT, who is entitled to more career opportunities, job benefits, and a higher salary.
The dental technician job description generally requires independence and flexibility. The professional is expected to become a reliable, knowledgeable, and skilful part of a dental healthcare team. He may not be the highest paid professional in such a group, but there surely are numerous opportunities and career perks that are opening up for him. As the dental technician accumulates more years of working experience, his eligibility for many career advancement chances expands.