What is a dental technician?


We all know the situation: you’ve just met somebody and, inevitably, as is the social norm, the question arises “what do you do?” Upon deciding against professing the mantel of secret agent, I reply: “I’m a dental technician”.

Nine times out of ten there is confusion. “Oh, a dentist,” is the usual response. At this point, I take a step forward and put a reassuring hand on the shoulder of my counterpart. “Ah ah”, I say, “a dental technician isn’t actually a dentist”.

So what is a dental technician?

We dental technicians – or dental technologists as we are often referred to in the trade – turn our hands to making the dentures, crowns, bridges and dental braces that improve patients’ appearance, speech and their ability to chew.

Rather than working as a dentist, we work with them – a unified team dedicated to providing the patient the best possible service. In working with dentists or doctors prescriptions, dental technicians use a wide range of materials in manufacturing the appliances.

These often include:

  • Gold
  • Porcelain
  • Ceramic
  • Plastic

Dividing dental technicians into four specialist areas

The dental technician’s universe divides into four separate galaxies:

  1. Prosthodontic technicians: these fellows design and make dentures
  2. Conservation technicians: these, like The Dental Lab, specialise in crown and bridge work
  3. Orthodontic technicians: if you ever wondered who make braces to correct tooth positions now you know
  4. Maxillo-facial technicians: a skilled group of individuals whose work is based in hospital oral surgery, ophthalmic, cancer and burns units, helping to reconstruct the faces of patients damaged by accident or disease

Does a dental technician need to be qualified?

When asked this question my usual response is: “does a slipper shop sell slippers?” The answer, of course, is yes.

In order to walk the boards of the dental technician, registration with the General Dental Council (GDC) is a must.

Approval will only be given to those who have successfully completed courses that have been approved by GDC.

Find out more about the services dental technicians offer

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