Industries & Professions /
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 41,000 dental laboratory technicians of all types working in the United States.