Dental Lab Technician Careers
What Skills Does a Dental Lab Technician Need?
A dental lab technician helps create prosthetics like crowns, bridges, and dentures. This involves a complex process of building models of the patient's mouth (based on impressions taken by the dentist), then turning that initial plaster model into a detailed wax model reflecting every necessary nuance from the shape of the teeth to irregularities in the gumline. From there you'll create the actual metal device and prepare it so it bonds with the porcelain. Finally, you'll apply the porcelain to mimic an ordinary human tooth, adjusting the shape and color as necessary.
Depending on the employer, a dental lab technician might do all of these steps or just a couple of them. You can choose to specialize in one of five areas:
What Training Will I Need?
- Complete dentures
- Crowns and bridges
- Orthodontic appliances
- Partial dentures
Taking classes in art, science, metal and wood shop, and drafting can help you learn some valuable skills before beginning your official training.
Classes you can expect in a dental lab technician program include:
You can choose to take a 2-year program leading to an associate degree, and then complete your qualification after graduation with hands-on experience. Or you can earn a bachelor's degree in dental technology. You can also get certified in dental laboratory technology by the National Board for Certification, but this is completely voluntary except in three states.
- Dental materials science
- Fabrication procedures
- Oral anatomy
- Supervised practical experience (in either a school or dental laboratory)
The Following Schools Provide Educational Programs For Dental Lab Technician Careers: