The Dental Technician

The Diploma of Dental Technology (HLT55115) is specifically designed to prepare you to work in the industry as a Dental Technician.

 

Dental Technicians construct and repair dentures (false teeth) and other dental appliances including crowns and bridges. Dental Technicians work closely with Dental Prosthetists and Dentists in the construction, modification and repair of dentures and other dental appliances.

The Dental Technician’s role includes a variety of duties that are focused on the fabrication of fixed and removable dental appliances. They work closely with the practitioner and only have direct contact with the patient for the purpose of assessing an accurate colour shade for maximum aesthetics.

A Dental Technician is an essential member of the dental team who is highly skilled in the design, construction, repair and adjustment of a variety of dental appliances. They are registered professionals who work from a written prescription and direct communication with the Dental Prosthetist, Dentist or Specialist Dentist. The combined expertise of the technician and practitioner is needed to ensure that quality outcomes are achieved for the patients.

The Dental Technician translates two-dimensional design diagrams and written instructions into three-dimensional products according to accepted biological and mechanical principles, and can specialise their work to one or more areas of dentistry:

–         Restoring natural teeth (crowns, inlays/onlays, veneers);

–         Replacing teeth (bridges, partial and full dentures, dental implant prosthesis);

–         Replacing oral soft and hard structures (aesthetic reconstruction);

–         Moving, retaining and protecting teeth (orthodontics: mouthguards, splints, trays, stents); and

–         Aligning the jaw position (orthognathics: TMJ, sleep apnoea, etc.).

A Dental Technician career would be a good dentistry position for you if you like working with tools and equipment, can apply a high level of attention to detail and precision (accurate), have good time management (efficient) and possess good eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity. In addition, if you have an artistic ability to construct form and design you have some of the qualities that make you well suited to pursue a dental technician career.

As part of dental laboratory services, a Dental Technician career in Australia may include:

–         Receive and interpret written orders from a dental prosthetist or dentist;

–         Make plaster and stone models of the mouth and teeth from impressions that have been taken by a dental prosthetist or dentist;

–         Construct custom impression trays for the dental prosthetist or dentist to use;

–         Build up wax replicas of part or all of the mouth and/or teeth using the model;

–         Replicate the jaw positions using the models on articulating equipment;

–         Form, cut or mould plastic, metal or ceramic materials to make appliances using casting, CAD/CAM and thermoforming equipment;

–         Use direct vision or specialised equipment to record tooth shades;

–         Arrange artificial teeth for full or partial dentures;

–         Use manual skills to construct ceramic restorations;

–         Design and construct fixed and removable acrylic and metal orthodontic appliances

–         Polish and finish all work prior to being placed in the patient’s mouth; and

–         Reline, repair or modify full or partial dentures.

Dental Technicians use a high degree of technical ability, training and skills that involve a diverse range of techniques that include plaster casting, electro-spot welding, metal casting, metal polishing, wax modelling, ceramics, wire bending, electroplating and sandblasting. They are highly knowledgeable of the appropriate methods to construct the wide range of items and how to deal with the variety of materials.

A dental technology profession offers men and women of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds exceptional dentistry career opportunities to work as technicians, educators, researchers, sales and marketing managers, inventors, editors and consultants in an array of flexible work schedules.
The majority of dental technicians are employed in commercial dental laboratories or self-employed as the owner of a dental laboratory. There is currently a strong demand for dental technicians in regional and rural locations in most states and territories of Australia.

Dental Technicians can work in commercial dental laboratories, private dental laboratories in general and specialist dental practices, hospitals, public sector dental health services and the armed forces as well as independently as a laboratory owner. Dental Technicians are able to concentrate their work to a particular area of dental technology that includes orthodontic/orthognathic, crown & bridge, cosmetics, general prostheses and implantology. Dental Technicians will provide their services to a number of local practitioners with some offering a postal service to work with dentists from a wide area. Advanced dental technology positions within a laboratory appointed on experience include Senior/Chief Technician and Quality Controller.

Dental technology offers excellent career opportunities for the high school graduate and non-traditional student (i.e. an individual who is over 23 years of age, an individual seeking a career change or re-entry or an individual from a culturally diverse background).

To become a qualified Dental Technician and achieve a dental career, you need to gain a tertiary level qualification with the minimum standard being a two year Diploma in Dental Technology (HLT55115). Dental Technicians enter the workforce as a student dental technician.

Dental Technology is a global profession and there is a high demand for skilled dental technicians around the world. This demand is growing for those working in specific areas such as crown & bridge and associated work in response to the increasing occurrence of cosmetic dental surgery. A growing population in Australia and the demanding developments in technology create strong dental technicians employment opportunities.

Dental Technicians are artistic individuals who have a thorough understanding of dental materials science and use their skills to fabricate the form, colour and function of individual teeth or aesthetic functional prostheses for a patient. Although there have been a number of technological advances in this field, it is still a craft oriented profession as all such appliances are made largely by hand to a practitioner’s prescription.

A dental technology career offers personal satisfaction in providing the technical side of dentistry and providing people with better dental health through a multi-disciplinary dental team environment.

Requirements to receive the qualification are:

–         To be awarded Diploma of Dental Technology (HLT55115) from CIT you must complete 25 units of competence.

–         This includes twenty (20) compulsory units and five (5) elective units.

(Qualification now superseded to HLT55115 Diploma of Dental Technology – Dec 2015)