Dental laboratory technicians make dental prostheses which are replacements for natural teeth. This work requires a technical knowledge of dental anatomy and skill in the use of dental laboratory materials and equipment. In some laboratories, technicians perform all stages of the work, whereas in other labs, each technician does only a few.
Dental laboratory technicians can specialize in various aspects of the work prescribed by dentists and orthodontists: crown and bridge technicians, denture technicians, partial denture technicians, ceramic technicians, and orthodontic technicians. Job titles can reflect specialization in these areas. For example, technicians who make porcelain and acrylic restorations are called dental ceramists.
The dental laboratory technician needs artistic ability, attention
to detail to create practical and esthetically pleasing replacements and skill in using small hand instruments and equipment.
Technicians are valuable members of the dental care team although they rarely work directly with patients. They receive instruction from dentists by following written instructions and using impressions (molds) of the patient’s teeth or soft tissue to create full dentures, crowns, bridges, or orthodontic appliances. They often perform much of their work without close supervision.