Dental Laboratory TechnicianPrint
DENTAL LABORATORY TECHNICIANS fill prescriptions from dentists for crowns, bridges, dentures, orthodontic appliances, and other dental prosthetics. They make a model of the patient's mouth or teeth from the mold sent by the dentist. They pour plaster into the impression and let it set. They examine the model and note the size and shape of the teeth, gaps, and other factors. They then build and shape wax teeth which they use to cast the metal framework to hold the teeth. They coat the teeth with porcelain and bond to framework. The final product is an exact replica of the lost tooth or teeth.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $40,000 average per year ($19.25 per hour)
- A medium occupation (38,400 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow moderately (1.4% per year)
Most DENTAL LABORATORY TECHNICIANS learn their craft on the job, which takes 3 to 4 years to be fully trained. Training is also available through 2-year colleges, vo-tec institutes, and the armed forces. High school students should take courses in art, metalwork and woodshop, drafting, and sciences. The National Board for Certification offers voluntary certification in dental lab technology in 5 specialty areas: crowns and bridges, ceramics, partial dentures, complete dentures, and orthodontic appliances. Certification is important as evidence of competence.