Have you ever wondered how braces and dentures are created? Well, they’re the work of dental technicians. If this got you curious, then this will be a great post to read for your dental technician dreams.
What is a Dental Technician?
Before anything else, a dental technician is someone who creates dental appliances and tools. They deal with different materials depending on the recommendation of the dentist. These materials can be gold, metal alloys, porcelain, etc. Also, they work together with a dentist in creating braces and dentures that are custom-made for the patient.
A dental technician spends most of his time in a laboratory. He or she will be using different kinds of equipment in order to create dental appliances. However, a great deal of manual creation and design is needed in order to have fixtures that have the right specifications of the dentist.
How Do You Become a Dental Technician?
Even if there are four different kinds of dental technicians, all of them start with the same requirements. The first requisite to becoming one is by having a high school diploma. A high school diploma is needed if you want to apply to a dental lab technology program or a college program for dental technology.
A college degree is not required for you to get formal training in a dental technology laboratory. However, a 4-year course is still a good idea if you want to pursue other specializations outside dental technology. On the other hand, just having a high school diploma is enough. When picking a dental laboratory program, make sure that it is an accredited program. An accredited program can help you get a certification as a dental lab technician.
Once you pass your two-year dental laboratory training, you can now apply for certification. Since dental technicians don’t need a license to be considered a professional, a certification is a solid proof that you have gone through all the required trainings in dental technology.
When it comes to certification, you should first take an exam before you get certified. The exam is given by the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology. This will be a test of your technical skills and knowledge on the procedures and the design of dental fixtures. However, to be given a test, you should have completed a dental laboratory technology program from an accredited laboratory and a 2-year professional experience.
There are times when a person wanting to get a certification did not go through a dental laboratory technician program. If this happens, don’t worry. The National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology allows those who have had a five-year professional experience working as a dental laboratory technician.
When you pass the exam, you will be given a certificate naming you as a Certified Dental Technician.
Career Path for a Dental Technician
Although career paths differ for every individual, a dental technician’s path is pretty straightforward. They can either work in a private laboratory or work in a hospital. If they will choose to work in the former, they will be tasked to design and create dental fixtures and appliances based on the dentist’s instructions. If you choose to work in a hospital, you will work closely with a surgeon. Most dental technicians in the hospital aid in fixing damaged parts of the face like the jaw and the mouth. Most of these damages are caused by fire or injury.
You might be thinking that a dental technician’s career is boring since they will mostly spend their time in a lab. However, this is not the case because you can also be promoted to supervise the whole laboratory or a division in it. This means that a managerial position is not impossible to achieve.
If you are wondering about the pay, dental laboratory technicians are paid well especially in private institutions. This is because their job requires a lot of skill and creativity which is greatly compensated in a lot of industries including the dental industry. And depending on the laboratory you go to, you can have opportunities in advancing your career or your knowledge. So even if you’re having doubts about the time you have to spend studying for a certification, it will all be worth it because of the career that you can have.