22 Mar 2010
Dental nurse’s guide to becoming… a dental technician
Dental technicians or dental technologists are the people that make dentures, crowns, bridges and dental braces. Working to dentists' or doctors' prescriptions , technicians/technologist use various materials such as precious / semi- precious alloys , porcelain and plastic/resin/composite to design and construct specific appliances that meet the patients needs .
There are four areas that dental technicians can specialise in:
- Prosthodontic technicians design and make dentures.
- Conservation technicians specialise in crown and bridge work.
- Orthodontic technicians make braces to correct tooth positions.
- Maxillo-facial technicians work in hospital oral surgery, ophthalmic, cancer and burns units, helping to reconstruct the faces of patients damaged by accident or disease.
- METAL TECHNICIAN - specialise and responsible in gold work, such as 'gold inlays/onlays, Full Gold crowns, Metal framework and substructures for Crown and Bridge work, Implants.
There are also opportunities to specialise as clinical dental technicians or as orthodontic therapists.
Clinical dental technicians design and construct removable dental appliances for patients.
Clinical dental technicians are qualified and experienced dental technicians who have undertaken additional training in sciences, clinical skills, and interpersonal skills and are able to work independently of other dental team members.
In order to work as a dental technician/dental technologist, you must be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC). To be able to register, you to need to have successfully completed a course that has been approved by GDC.
Entry requirements for the BTEC National Diploma in Dental Technology are four A to C grade GCSE’s. If you would like to attain a foundation degree in Dental Technology you would normally need to be employed in a trainee dental technician role. For a BSc (Hons) degree in Dental Technology you will need relevant A-levels.
You can take the BTEC National Diploma or foundation degree course on a full-time basis or by obtaining a post as a trainee dental technician and taking the course on a part-time basis. BSc (Hons) degrees are usually full-time at a university/dental school.
If you plan to get a trainee position, you'll need to apply to employers (such as hospitals and laboratories) directly.
With further qualifications and experience, dental technicians can progress onto senior or chief technician posts; quality control, teaching or sales.
We would also like to hear from dental nurses who are currently studying or have completed their studies in dental technology as we would like to share your experiences with other dental nurses.