Health Guide USA
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Dental Laboratory Technicians | What Do They Do?

Dental laboratory technicians typically do the following:

  • Follow detailed work orders and prescriptions from a dentist, to create a dental appliance
  • Mix plaster and other pastes to fill molds from impressions taken by a dentist
  • Cover molds and frameworks with mixtures and allow them to set
  • Place the dental appliance on an apparatus that mimics the patient's bite and jaw movement
  • Examine the appliance, noting the size and shape of adjacent teeth and gaps in the gumline
  • Sculpt or carve parts of an appliance, such as individual teeth
  • Adjust prosthetics to allow for a more natural look or to improve function
  • Repair dental appliances that may be cracked or damaged, such as dentures and crowns

Dental laboratory technicians work with small handtools, such as files and polishers. They work with many different materials to make prosthetic appliances, including wax, plastic, and porcelain. In some cases, technicians work with computer programs to create appliances or to get impressions sent from a dentistís office.

In small laboratories, technicians do all stages of the work. In large laboratories, technicians may work on only one step of the process, such as waxing or polishing appliances.

Dental laboratory technicians can specialize in one of six areas: orthodontic appliances, crowns and bridges, complete dentures, partial dentures, implants, and ceramics. Technicians may have different job titles, depending on their specialty. For example, technicians who make porcelain and acrylic restorations, such as veneers and bridges, are called dental ceramists.

Dental laboratory technicians are part of a larger dental team. They work closely with dentists and other technicians.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition

for State specific information, visit  JOB OUTLOOK BY STATE

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