Dental Laboratory Technicians

Dental laboratory technicians, also called dental technicians, are skilled craftspeople who make and repair dental appliances, such as dentures, inlays, bridges, crowns, and braces, according to dentists' written prescriptions. They work with plastics, ceramics, and metals, using models made from impressions taken by the dentist of a patient's mouth or teeth. Some dental laboratory technicians, especially those who work for smaller dental laboratories, perform the whole range of laboratory activities, while many others specialize in only one area. Some specialties include making orthodontic appliances, such as braces for straightening teeth; applying layers of porcelain paste or acrylic resin over a metal framework to form crowns, bridges, and tooth facings; making and repairing wire frames and retainers for teeth used in partial dentures; and making and repairing full and partial dentures. Job titles often reflect a specialization. For example, technicians who make porcelain restorations are dental ceramicists. There are approximately 36,790 dental laboratory technicians of all types working in the United States.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Crown and Bridge Specialists, Dental Ceramicists, Dental Technicians, Porcelain Specialists, Orthodontic Technicians
Duties Make and repair dentures, crowns, and bridges using materials such as porcelain and acrylic; match tooth color and shape; for orthodontics specialists, make braces and retainers for teeth
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $75,000
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Nationwide
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
  • Some Postsecondary Training
School Subjects
  • Art
  • Biology
  • Technical/Shop
Experience Prior laboratory experience or assisting dental laboratory technicians
Personality Traits
  • Hands On
  • Realistic
  • Technical
  • Drawing/Design
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
  • Scientific
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Fair
Advancement Prospects Fair
Outlook Little Change or More Slowly than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Dental Laboratory Owner
  • Dental Laboratory Supervisor
  • Dental Laboratory Technician
  • Dental Laboratory Assistant

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