What Does A Dental Laboratory Technician Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Stan T.Career, Overview

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
Becoming One
Easy
Education
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Low
Job Growth
Low

Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

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.

Spoiler title
Hidden content

Freedom to make decisions

How much decision making freedom does this job offer?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
8%

Limited freedom
15%

Some freedom
28%

A lot of freedom
49%

Structured vs unstructured work

To what extent is this job structured for you versus allowing you to determine your own tasks, priorities, and goals?

No freedom
7%

Very little freedom
0%

Limited freedom
31%

Some freedom
28%

A lot of freedom
33%

Featured Schools


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.


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.

How much do they make

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

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Dental Laboratory Technicians based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Federal Executive Branch $61800 $29.71
Offices of Other Health Practitioners $48650 $23.39
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $48460 $23.30
Offices of Dentists $46780 $22.49
Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories $44790 $21.53
Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing $44670 $21.47
Offices of Physicians $41700 $20.05
Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers $32350 $15.55
Employment Services $30910 $14.86

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Dental Laboratory Technicians work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Dental Laboratory Technicians including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing 25480 $44670 $21.47
Offices of Dentists 3970 $46780 $22.49
Federal Executive Branch 510 $61800 $29.71
Offices of Other Health Practitioners 180 $48650 $23.39
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 160 $48460 $23.30
Employment Services 130 $30910 $14.86
Offices of Physicians 40 $41700 $20.05
Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers $32350 $15.55
Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories $44790 $21.53

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
7%

40 hours
69%

More than 40 hours
24%

Working schedule

65%

35%

0%

Work with group or team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Not important at all
8%

Fairly important
22%

Important
9%

Very important
19%

Extremely important
41%

Deal with external customers

How important is it to work with customers in this job?

Not important at all
38%

Fairly important
18%

Important
12%

Very important
0%

Extremely important
31%

Manage or lead others

How important is it to coordinate or lead others in completing work activities in this job?

Not important at all
24%

Fairly important
20%

Important
10%

Very important
22%

Extremely important
25%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
23%

Every day
8%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
30%

Every day
40%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
8%

Every day
80%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
81%

Once a year
7%

Once a month
12%

Once a week
0%

Every day
0%

Frequency of conflict situations

How often are there conflict situations in this job?

Never
31%

Once a year
24%

Once a month
19%

Once a week
21%

Every day
4%

Dealing with angry people

How often do you have to deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous individuals in this job?

Never
26%

Once a year
36%

Once a month
28%

Once a week
10%

Every day
0%

Dealing with physically aggressive people

How often do you have to deal with physically aggressive people in this job?

Never
92%

Once a year
7%

Once a month
0%

Once a week
0%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
19%

Slightly competitive
9%

Moderately competitive
22%

Highly competitive
36%

Extremely competitive
14%

Repetition in this job

How important is repeating the same type of task over and over in this job?

Not important at all
13%

Fairly important
16%

Important
8%

Very Important
30%

Extremely Important
33%

Impact of decisions on co-workers or company results

What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the reputation or financial resources of your employer?

No impact
8%

Minor impact
16%

Moderate impact
16%

Important impact
28%

Very important impact
32%

Frequency of decision making

How frequently do you have to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the reputation of the company?

Never
23%

Once a year
2%

Once a month
16%

Once a week
0%

Every day
59%

Responsibility for others’ health and safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

No responsibility
26%

Limited responsibility
18%

Moderate responsibility
23%

High responsibility
11%

Very high responsibility
21%

Responsibility for outcomes and results

How much responsibility is there for the work outcomes and results of other workers?

No responsibility
24%

Limited responsibility
25%

Moderate responsibility
10%

High responsibility
10%

Very high responsibility
32%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
3%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
97%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
93%

Once a year or more
7%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
95%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
5%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
100%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Easy
You may need some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category usually don’t require a degree. However, you will need a few months of on-the-job training with experienced employees. Similar careers include Customer Service Representatives, Security Guards, and Bank Tellers.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
11%

High School Diploma or equivalent
43%

Post-Secondary Certificate
22%

Some College Courses
0%

Associate’s Degree or similar
17%

Bachelor’s Degree
7%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

Dental Laboratory Technology

A program that prepares individuals, under the supervision of dentists, to design and construct dental prostheses such as caps, crowns, bridges, dentures, splints, and orthodontic appliances. Includes instruction in dental anatomy, dental materials, ceramics technology, impressions, complete dentures, partial dentures, orthodontics, crowns and bridges, sculpture, bonding and assembly techniques, and equipment operation.

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
27%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
0%

6 months to 1 year
1%

1 to 2 years
6%

2 to 4 years
20%

4 to 6 years
6%

6 to 8 years
11%

8 to 10 years
7%

Over 10 years
22%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
0%

1 month
13%

1 to 3 months
23%

3 to 6 months
12%

6 months to 1 year
22%

1 to 2 years
7%

2 to 4 years
11%

4 to 10 years
7%

Over 10 years
4%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Builder

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.

The Builder
90%

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


The Thinker
71%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
29%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
38%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
24%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
62%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

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.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
52%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
60%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
48%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
52%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
76%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
62%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


Don’t know which career to pursue?

Take the career quiz to find careers that match your personality type.

Take The Career Quiz