What does a Dental Technician do?

dental lab 2.JPGDental technicians construct and repair dentures (false teeth) and other dental appliances including crowns and bridges.

Dental technicians work closely with dental prosthetists and dentists in the construction, modification and repair of dentures and other dental appliances.

Dental technicians may perform the following tasks:

  • Make models of the mouth and teeth from impressions of the patient's mouth (taken by the dental prosthetist [clinical dental technician] or dentist)
  • Build wax replicas of part of all of the mouth and/or teeth on the model
  • Encase the wax in a mould material and melt away the wax
  • Replace the wax with either plastic, metal or ceramic materials to make the replacement appliance.
  • Polish and finish the appliance prior to it being placed in the patient's mouth
  • Make appliances for patients with cleft palates, braces and plates for correcting irregular teeth and mouthguards

Dental technicians work in dental laboratories on their own or in small groups. They use a wide range of materials and techniques in their work. Dental technicians use a high degree of technical ability, training and skills involving a diversity of techniques. These include plaster casting, electro-spot welding, metal casting, metal polishing, wax modelling, ceramics, wire bending, electroplating and sandblasting.

Dental technicians usually have no direct contact with patients unless they undertake further study to qualify as dental prosthetists.

Dental technology may be divided into the following areas:

  • General prostheses: the largest field in dental technology in which partial or full dentures (metal and non-metal) are constructed to replace the partial or total loss of natural teeth
  • Crown and bridge: used in the restoration of the natural teeth and fixed in the patient's mouth
  • Orthodontics: the manufacture of fixed or removable appliances for the correction of dental irregularities in the child and young adult mouth
  • Maxillo-facial: prostheses are made to replace missing facial and body tissues due to injury, disease or development abnormality
  • Implantology: implants are placed directly into the patient's jawbone and prostheses are made to fit these implants. This system can be used for single, multiple or complete restorations

Personal requirements

  • Good communication skills
  • Manual dexterity, and ability to do precise and detailed work
  • Able to judge form and design
  • Able to concentrate
What training is required to become a Dental Technician?

To become a dental technician you usually have to complete a New Apprenticeship in Dental Technology. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Training is usually both on and off the job. The off-the-job training is provided through registered training organisations, including TAFE. Details of the training may vary depending on the needs of the employer and are finalised as part of the training agreement.

For more details on new apprenticeships, call the New Apprenticeships Referral Line on 1800 639 629 (FREECALL).

Employment opportunities

Dental technicians may work in hospitals or dental laboratories or for dental group practices. Advanced dental technicians work independently in private practice or in partnership with other dental technicians.

Demand for dental technicians who work with dentures appears to be diminishing as the incidence of tooth decay declines. However, demand is growing for dental technicians working in specialised areas, such as crown and bridge, and work associated with the increasing occurrence of cosmetic dental surgery.

Contacts

Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch Inc.
Level 3, 10 Yarra Street, South Yarra VIC 3141
Phone: (03) 8825 4600
Fax: (03) 8825 4644
email: ask@adavb.org

Details courtesy of the Job Guide, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs. 

Federal ADA - Dental Team - Dental Technician
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