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Denture Technician


Do you like the idea of building models of teeth? Can you follow detailed directions in order to create a three-dimensional object? Denture technicians manufacture, alter, and repair dentures and other related dental devices. They fill dentists' and denturists' prescriptions and create full and partial dentures.

People often confuse denture technicians with denturists, who work directly with patients. Denture technicians do not actually work with patients, unless they are qualified as both denturists and technicians. A denturist orders the specific appliance from a technician. Following the denturist's orders, technicians make the proper dentures.

Accompanying the prescription from a denturist usually comes a mould of a patient's mouth or teeth. The mould is imperative for the technician in order to create the proper fitting component. Since we all have differently shaped and sized teeth, it is imperative that the technician has the proper mould.

Once the technician receives the mould, they create a model of the patients mouth by pouring plaster into the impression and allowing it to set. Next, they set the model on an apparatus that mimics the bite and movement of a persons jaw. The model serves as the basis of the prosthetic device. Technicians then examine the model, noting the size and shape of the adjacent teeth, as well as gaps within the gumline. Based upon these observations and the denturists specifications, technicians build and shape a wax model, using small hand instruments called wax spatulas and wax carvers. They use this wax model to cast the metal framework for the prosthetic device.

After they form the wax teeth, technicians pour the cast to form the metal using small hand-held tools. This prepares the surface to allow the metal and acrylic or porcelain to bond. Next, they apply acrylic or porcelain in layers, to arrive at the precise shape and colour of a tooth. It is important to match the color, for if the patient has yellow teeth and technician is producing a pearly white cast, then when installed, the patient might look a bit strange. The final product is nearly an exact replica of the teeth.

Depending on the size and type of laboratory for which a technician works, some perform all stages of the work, whereas in larger labs, each technician performs only a few steps in the creation process.
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UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
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  Interests and Skills  
Denture technicians need a high degree of manual dexterity, with an aptitude for fine mechanical work. They need artistic ability combined with an aptitude for engineering and design work. Technicians must be patient and have the ability to concentrate and pay attention to fine detail.

They need strong initiative and the ability to work within deadlines, along with good communication and interpersonal skills. Denture technicians should enjoy analyzing prescriptions and taking a methodical approach to their work, working with tools and equipment at tasks that require precision, and finding solutions to problems.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Fabricate or repair full or partial dentures, and other related dental devices
  • Construct dental appliances that are used to repair, replace or reposition dentures
  • Use small hand tools and rotary instruments, electric lathes, high-speed motorized equipment, drills, waxes, high-heat furnaces, and other specialized laboratory equipment
  • May train and supervise other denture technicians or dental laboratory bench workers in fabricating dentures and other dental devices
  • May perform supervisory and administrative functions for the dental laboratory
  • Most denture technicians work in laboratories and denture offices. They usually work eight-hour day shifts, but some labs have rotating shifts, meaning some might have to work evenings or weekends. They may be required to lift heavy items. Also, denture technicians must observe safety precautions when working with potentially hazardous materials.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Denture technicians mainly work in dental laboratories. Technicians will either own their own laboratory facilities, or work in small specialized laboratories or larger commercial ones. Those who teach at the technical level work for community colleges or hospitals.

  Long Term Career Potential  
For independent laboratory owners, it is a highly competitive field with success depending on the level of one's business initiative as well as technical skills. Advancement opportunities are limited, although dental technicians may advance to supervisory positions in larger commercial laboratories. Denture technicians may also consider going into jewelry making, as both crafts have very similar processes. Otherwise, technicians could go into dental equipment sales or teach at a technological institute.

  Educational Paths  
There is no process set in stone for becoming a denture technician, however the completion of a college program in denture or dental technology or four or more years of on-the-job training under the supervision of a denture technician is required. After the successful completion of a technical program, student must intern in a laboratory for a minimum of two years prior to taking the examination for registration. Licensing by the regional governing body is available but not mandatory in all areas.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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