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Dental Laboratory Technician

Dental laboratory technicians create crowns, bridges, dentures, and other dental prosthetics.

Dental laboratory technicians create crowns, bridges, dentures, and other dental prosthetics.

You cannot buy a pair of dentures or a set of crown off the drug-store shelf, and no, it’s not because dentists are trying to cheat you out of anything. Nearly every dental appliance work in the mouth, from retainers to bleach trays, must be created for a particular patient. It is dental laboratory technicians who are responsible for making these one-of-a-kind apertures — using nothing more than a mold and their hands to ensure a proper fit.

Fast Facts

Minimum Degree/Certification Requirement: High School Diploma

Vital Skills/Knowledge: Fine Motor Skills, Following Directions, Artistic Eye

Average Starting Salary: $21,000/year

Job Description

Dental Laboratory Technicians are responsible for creating all personally molded dental items. They make custom crowns, veneers, dentures, bridges and other dental appliances by using impressions of the patient’s mouth. In larger practices, technicians specialize in one or two of the following areas: orthodontic appliances, crowns and bridges, complete dentures, partial dentures, implants, and ceramics. A technician is not just a worker, but an artisan, as many of these parts are created and partially sculpted or carved by hand. This is a great job for people who want to contribute to other people’s health and well-being, but who would rather begin working right out of high school/switch careers without returning to college.

Education

The only education required for a dental laboratory technician is a high school diploma or GED. To begin their careers, most technicians apprentice at a practice and learn their skills on the job.

Certification/ Licensing

Typically not required

Job Outlook: Fair

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts no change in employment for dental laboratory technicians between the years of 2010 and 2020. As people are taking better care of their teeth, the need for dentures may begin to decline in coming years, but cosmetic procedures (braces, veneers, etc.) may become more popular.

The median income for a dental laboratory technician is $35,140 a year, with top earners averaging $60,000 a year or more.

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