What We Do

"We love to make you smile!"

Dental laboratory technicians use impressions, or molds, of a patient’s teeth to create crowns, bridges, dentures, and other dental appliances. They work closely with dentists but have limited contact with patients.

Preparation

Training

Most dental laboratory technicians learn through on-the-job training. They usually begin as helpers in a laboratory and learn more advanced skills as they gain experience. For example, technicians may begin by pouring plaster into an impression to make a model. As they become more experienced, they may progress to more complex tasks, such as making porcelain crowns and bridges. Because all laboratories are different, the length of training varies.

Education

A high school diploma is the standard requirement for getting a job as a dental laboratory technician. High school students interested in becoming dental laboratory technicians should take courses in science, mathematics, computer programming, and art.

Formal education programs are available for dental laboratory technicians through vocational schools, community colleges, and universities. Most programs take 2 years to complete, though there are a few 4-year programs available. All programs have courses in dental anatomy, dental ceramics, dentures, and partial dentures. As laboratories continue to manufacture parts for dental appliances using advanced computer programs, it may be helpful for technicians to take courses in computer skills and programming.

Important Qualities

Detail oriented.  Dental laboratory technicians must pay attention to details. To create realistic prosthetics for each patient’s mouth, they must notice slight differences in color and shape.

Dexterity.  Dental laboratory technicians must work well with their hands because they use precise laboratory instruments.

Preparation

Technical skills.  Dental laboratory technicians must understand how to operate complex machinery. Some procedures are automated, so technicians must know how to operate and change the programs that run the machinery.

Most dental laboratory technicians learn through on-the-job training. They usually begin as helpers in a laboratory and learn more advanced skills as they gain experience. For example, technicians may begin by pouring plaster into an impression to make a model. As they become more experienced, they may progress to more complex tasks, such as making porcelain crowns and bridges. Because all laboratories are different, the length of training varies.