How to become a Dental Technician

Dental technicians construct and repair dentures (false teeth) and other dental appliances, including crowns, bridges and orthodontic appliances.

Personal requirements of a Dental Technician

  • Good communication skills
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Able to do precise and detailed work
  • An eye for form and design
  • Able to concentrate for long periods

Education & Training for a Dental Technician

To become a dental technician you usually have to complete a VET qualification in dental technology. Entry may require employment in a dental laboratory for technical and work training. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a dental technician through an apprenticeship or traineeship in Dental Technology. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school. Alternatively, you can become a dental technician by studying dental technology at university. Entry usually requires you to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics are normally required.

Duties & Tasks of a Dental Technician

Dental technicians may perform the following tasks:

  • make models of the mouth and teeth from impressions of the patient's mouth (taken by the dental prosthetist, dentist, dental hygienist or dental therapist)
  • use models and moulds to make dental restorations such as inlays, onlays, veneers, crowns and bridges
  • polish and finish the appliance prior to placement in the patient's mouth
  • make appliances for patients with cleft palates, braces and plates for correcting irregular teeth
  • make mouthguards.

Working conditions for a Dental Technician

Dental technicians work in dental laboratories on their own or in small groups. They use a wide range of materials and techniques in their work, including plaster casting, electro-spot welding, metal casting, metal polishing, wax modelling, ceramics, wire bending, electroplating and sandblasting. The use of small CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/manufacturing) units is increasing in the design and manufacture of some dental products. Dental technicians work closely with dentists and dental prosthetists and usually have no direct contact with patients.

Employment Opportunities for a Dental Technician

Dental technicians may work independently in hospitals or dental laboratories, or for dental group practices.

Specialisations:


Dental Prosthetist

A dental prosthetist works as an independent practitioner in public or private clinics to provide complete and partial dentures and mouthguards to the public, consulting directly with patients about their removable dental prosthetic needs.

Additional Information
Before undertaking clinical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a National Police Certificate, a Provide First Aid Certificate and immunisations, and undergo a Working with Children Check. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.
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