Dental Laboratory Technicians Careers - Salary, Duties, & Job Info

Dental Laboratory Technicians Career Description

Laboratory Dental Technician duties include complying with the prescriptions of dentists to manufacture or repair bridgework, crowns and dental prosthetics for dental patients who might have broken teeth or require false teeth to be made from a dentist’s impression. Dental patients who require prosthetic work usually have an impression taken of their existing teeth. Their dentist will then forward a specification for a prosthetic model to be made of the patient’s tooth or teeth. The Laboratory Dental Technician will then use the dentist’s model to create an exact replica for the patient using such materials as hardened plastic and porcelain. The end result is a remarkable replica of the original and cannot be discerned from the patient’s own teeth; therefore, the Laboratory Dental Technician skill requirements include aptitude, dexterity, and an eye for detail. In smaller laboratories a Laboratory Dental Technician might undertake most of the stages of manufacture for such prosthetics, but in larger concerns the work tends to be split among a number of Laboratory Dental Technicians in something of a production line to produce the same result; i.e., each technician performing a specific part of the process. The ability to concentrate and a steady hand are valuable assets ion this line of work, for obvious reasons.

Work Environment

Laboratory Dental Technicians always work in scrupulously clean environments, wearing goggles, masks and gloves to ensure protection and hygiene. Work hours are generally reasonably sociable hours. Laboratory Dental Technicians tend to work on a laboratory work bench and therefore require few interpersonal skills other than to be able to communicate effectively with colleagues and understand the specifications given to them.

Employment Opportunities

The market prospects for Laboratory Dental Technicians are excellent as the aging population increasingly seeks cosmetic solutions to dental problems. Laboratory Dental Technician opportunities include the possibility of advancement; a person might progress to become a Senior Technician in a private laboratory, which commands excellent remuneration.

How much does a Laboratory Dental Technician make - Laboratory Dental Technician Salary and Wages

Laboratory Dental Technician salary wages vary based on location and experience. Medical equipment/supply manufacturers and dentist offices employ the most people in this field, where workers average $16 per hour. Overtime or unsociable hours tend to be well remunerated, and many technicians prefer to work night shift hours for higher pay. Median per-hour wage based on years of experience breaks down as follows: 1-4 years, $10.12-$14.49 ($396.63 annual bonus); 5-9 years, $12.69-$17.26 ($500 annual bonus); 10-19 years, $14.68-$18.66 ($505 annual bonus); 20+ years, $16.82-22.35 ($600 annual bonus).

How to become a Laboratory Dental Technician

Education and Training

Laboratory Dental Technician qualifications at the entry level require the person to possess a high school diploma and to have studied woodwork and metalwork and the relevant science subjects such as Anatomy and Physiology. Laboratory Dental Technician courses can be concentrated and take some time to complete. A course through the Commission on Dental Accreditation is a good way to progress in this field. A Laboratory Dental Technician degree (associates level) is available for candidates who continue taking accreditation courses. Certification, which is usually voluntary, can be obtained in the areas of crowns and bridges and dentures and orthodontic appliances. At the top of the profession, a Registered Prosthetic-Orthotic Technician’s certification will propel a Laboratory Dental Technician into a higher salary bracket and guarantees work as long as people continue to break their teeth and lose them in old age.

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