Dental technicians require little formal education. Learn about the training, job duties, job growth projections and salary expectations to see if this is the right career for you.
Dental technicians construct, fit and repair appliances and devices, such as dentures. A dental technician must have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED and will receive on-the-job training. On average, the salary of a dental technician hovers around $40,000, depending on the industry and location of employment.
Job Duties and Responsibilities
Dental technicians fill orders for dental prosthetics, including dentures, bridges, crowns, veneers and inlays. They create models of patients' mouths from physical and sometimes computerized molds. Models are created with plaster, wax, porcelain, metal and hand tools. The model is then placed into a porcelain oven to seal it to the metal framework that holds it together. Dental technicians match the color and shape of the model to the patient's teeth. Porcelain is added to the final product to give the model a finished look.
By fabricating esthetic dental prostheses that work well and by improving the patient’s smile, the dental laboratory technician influences not only patient’s physical and dental health but also improves his or her confidence and self-esteem.
Dental laboratory technicians use molds of patients' teeth to create crowns, dentures and other dental prosthetics as directed by a dentist. These workers spend most of their time in laboratories and rarely have contact with patients. The indoor settings that they work may be comfortable, but dental lab technicians often spend much of their day standing and bending over. Most workers are given regular, full-time shifts.
Dental lab technicians should have a strong attention to detail, dexterity, good vision and the ability to work with small tools and equipment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental laboratory technicians earned a median annual salary of $40,440 in 2018.
A dental laboratory technician creates full or partial dentures that restores a person's mouth to its normal functioning. This professional also knows how to fabricate, alter, and repair dental devices, such as dentures, crowns, bridges, inlays, and appliances for straightening teeth. Students gain practical experience during the latter part of their studies, when they are introduced to actual lab work through rotations to off-campus lab sites. Graduates qualify to work with dentists, commercial dental laboratories, schools of dentistry, and Veterans Administration hospitals.