What Do Dental Laboratory Technicians Do

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz



Dental Laboratory Technicians

Dental Laboratory Technicians construct and repair full or partial dentures or dental appliances.

Salary: $45230
Education: No degree required
Job Satisfaction: Low
Personality: The Builder

What they do

Dental Laboratory Technicians construct and repair full or partial dentures or dental appliances.

  • Read prescriptions or specifications and examine models or impressions to determine the design of dental products to be constructed.
  • Apply porcelain paste or wax over prosthesis frameworks or setups, using brushes and spatulas.
  • Test appliances for conformance to specifications and accuracy of occlusion, using articulators and micrometers.
  • Melt metals or mix plaster, porcelain, or acrylic pastes and pour materials into molds or over frameworks to form dental prostheses or apparatus.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Dental Laboratory Technicians read prescriptions or specifications and examine models or impressions to determine the design of dental products to be constructed. They test appliances for conformance to specifications and accuracy of occlusion, using articulators and micrometers.

A typical day for a Dental Laboratory Technician will also include:

  • Apply porcelain paste or wax over prosthesis frameworks or setups, using brushes and spatulas.
  • Fabricate, alter, or repair dental devices, such as dentures, crowns, bridges, inlays, or appliances for straightening teeth.
  • Build and shape wax teeth, using small hand instruments and information from observations or dentists’ specifications.
  • Place tooth models on apparatus that mimics bite and movement of patient’s jaw to evaluate the functionality of the model.
  • Remove excess metal or porcelain and polish surfaces of prostheses or frameworks, using polishing machines.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Dental Laboratory Technicians also fill chipped or low spots in surfaces of devices, using acrylic resins. They may also rebuild or replace linings, wire sections, or missing teeth to repair dentures.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Dental Laboratory Technicians prepare wax bite blocks and impression trays for use. They might also create a model of the patient’s mouth by pouring plaster into a dental impression and allowing the plaster to set.

In addition, they train or supervise other dental technicians or dental laboratory bench workers.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them shape and solder wire and metal frames or bands for dental products, using soldering irons and hand tools.

To some Dental Laboratory Technicians, it is also their responsibility to prepare metal surfaces for bonding with porcelain to create artificial teeth, using small hand tools.

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What is the job like

Job satisfaction
Low
Is this job meaningful
High

62% said they were satisfied with their job and 65% said they found their job meaningful.


Swapee Dee
Source: Quora

Pros

Suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

Suitable for people who want to work in a supportive work environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

It is easy to get into this career. Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to start and carry out projects.

Salary is below average.


Salary

Average salary
$45230 per year
Average hourly wage
$22 per hour

Entry-level Dental Laboratory Technicians with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $27,060 to $32,480 per year or $13 to $16 per hour.

Salary range Hourly Annual
Highest (Top 10%) $32 $67,010
Senior (Top 25%) $26 $54,380
Middle (Mid 50%) $20 $42,110
Junior (Bottom 25%) $16 $32,480
No experience (Bottom 10%) $13 $27,060

How to become one

Should you become one

Best personality for this career
The Builder

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

They also like working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.


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