Dental technician Dental technologist
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Dental technicians design, make and repair the dental appliances used for improving patients’ appearance, speech or ability to eat.
1. Entry requirements
- a Level 3 diploma, foundation degree, or degree approved by the General Dental Council (GDC)
- registration with the GDC
You could study full-time, which is usually 3 to 4 years for a degree. You'll then apply for a job once you’ve finished your training.
If you want to study part-time, you’ll need to apply for a trainee post and train while you work. This could take up to 5 years.
Health Careers has information on careers and training as a dental technician.
2. Skills required
- the ability to understand technical instructions
- practical skills and a steady hand
- creative skills
- the ability to concentrate for long periods of time
3. What you'll do
You’ll usually work in commercial dental lab. You could also work in a community or hospital dental service or the armed forces. You’ll specialise in:
- orthodontics - creating plastic or metal devices, such as braces to straighten teeth
- crown and bridge work - making items to cement in place
- prosthetics - producing plastic dentures or implants
You'll work with materials like porcelain, gold and plastic, and use the latest techniques and tools.
In a private dental lab, you'll work for a range of dental practices. In a hospital, you'll work with dental and oral surgeons, and patients.
Starter: £22,000 to £28,500
Experienced: up to £41,000 (dental technician advanced)
Highly Experienced: up to £58,000 (manager)
These figures are for the NHS but salaries in the private sector are similar.
These figures are a guide.
5. Working hours, patterns and environment
Dental technicians usually work about 40 hours a week.
You’ll usually be based in a lab, working alone or as part of a team.
6. Career path and progression
You could train as a healthcare scientist, specialising in reconstructive sciences, like maxillo-facial prosthetics through the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP).
With experience you could set up your own laboratory, or work abroad.
In a commercial lab, you could become a senior or chief technician. Or you could move into quality control, sales or management. You could also become a teacher.
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Last updated: 13 September 2018