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.
Dental laboratory technicians typically do the following:
Dental laboratory technicians work with small handtools, such as files and polishers. They work with many different materials to make prosthetic appliances, including wax, plastic, and porcelain. In some cases, technicians work with computer programs to create appliances or to get impressions sent from a dentist’s office.
In small laboratories, technicians do all stages of the work. In large laboratories, technicians may work on only one step of the process, such as waxing or polishing appliances.
Dental laboratory technicians can specialize in one of six areas: orthodontic appliances, crowns and bridges, complete dentures, partial dentures, implants, and ceramics. Technicians may have different job titles, depending on their specialty. For example, technicians who make porcelain and acrylic restorations, such as veneers and bridges, are called dental ceramists.
Dental laboratory technicians are part of a larger dental team. They work closely with dentists and other technicians. For more information, see the profile on dentists.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition