In Summary - Dental Technician
The Work - Dental Technician
Dental technicians make and repair crowns, bridges and other dental appliances using prescriptions and impressions taken by a dentist. They use a wide range of materials such as gold, porcelain and plastic.
Dental technicians need to have a detailed knowledge of the make up and use of these materials, in order to design and make dental appliances.
Once qualified and experienced, dental technicians may specialise in orthodontics, conservation, prosthodontics or maxillo-facial work. Orthodontic appliances are made to correct irregularities in the position of teeth within the jaws, improve the patient's appearance and prevent problems later in life.
In conservation technology, materials such as ceramics are used to construct both crowns that restore natural teeth, and bridges to replace missing ones.
If a patient has lost several teeth in the same part of the mouth, the dentist may not be able to use a bridge and so dentures are prescribed. This specialism is known as prosthodontics. Technicians working in this area must take great care to make sure that the dentures fit precisely and look attractive. This work mainly takes place in laboratories.
Technicians who specialise in maxillo-facial work are based in hospitals. They work under the direct supervision of a dental surgeon. They design and manufacture appliances that restore the faces of patients who have been injured or who have undergone extensive facial surgery. Appliances need to be constructed in such a way as to improve appearance and the patient's ability to eat and speak. This is a highly skilled specialism requiring advanced training.
Dental technicians may also manufacture
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Read prescriptions or specifications and examine models or impressions to determine the design of dental products to be constructed.
- Fabricate, alter, or repair dental devices, such as dentures, crowns, bridges, inlays, or appliances for straightening teeth.
- Remove excess metal or porcelain and polish surfaces of prostheses or frameworks, using polishing machines.
- Melt metals or mix plaster, porcelain, or acrylic pastes and pour materials into molds or over frameworks to form dental prostheses or apparatus.
- Test appliances for conformance to specifications and accuracy of occlusion, using articulators and micrometers.
- Apply porcelain paste or wax over prosthesis frameworks or setups, using brushes and spatulas.
- Place tooth models on apparatus that mimics bite and movement of patient's jaw to evaluate functionality of model.
- Create a model of patient's mouth by pouring plaster into a dental impression and allowing plaster to set.
- Train or supervise other dental technicians or dental laboratory bench workers.
- Build and shape wax teeth, using small hand instruments and information from observations or dentists' specifications.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Interests - Dental Technician
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
You need a dental knowledge, technical and manual skills and artistic ability. You need to have the imagination to adapt techniques to tackle individual problems. Each dental problem is unique and can be approached in several different ways.
Good concentration is required. As well as hand tools, technicians use welding, grinding and polishing machines. These processes may generate dust, which could be a problem for you if you suffer with asthma.
Entry Requirements - Dental Technician
Pay & Salary - Dental Technician
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 27k - 42k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Dental Technician
While no shortages exist, demand is evident for dieticians, cardiac technicians and audiologists.
National Skills Bulletin 2018
Useful Contacts - Dental Technician
Irish Dental Association
Dublin Dental University Hospital
Dental Health Foundation Ireland
Health Service Executive (HSE)
Dental Council of Ireland