Students enrolled in dental technology programs learn the basics of dental technology, including the history of the field, the ethics of denturing and some simple laboratory procedures. Applicants to a dental technology program must have a high school diploma or GED. Students also need strong manual dexterity to work with small ceramics and prosthetics and a solid background in mathematics, science and communication. Associate's degree programs are typically two years in length and include general education courses. A practicum may also be required.
Associate's Degree in Dental Technology
Students study oral anatomy, histology and function. Most degree programs in dental technology include practicum courses, where students gain firsthand training in creating dentures, setting dentures, modeling dentures after particular teeth patterns, finishing dentures and controlling dental materials. Many of the courses found within a typical degree program related to dental technology cover the basics of oral anatomy and laboratory skills. Some specific course topics are listed below:
- Ethics of dental technology
- Dental anatomy
- Denture prosthetics
- Partial and fixed dental prosthetics
- Ceramic restorations
- Dental morphology
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
There were more than 34,480 dental laboratory technicians employed in the United States in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Most technicians performed their work in a laboratory setting, but some were employed by individual dentists or medical equipment supply companies. The median salary for dental laboratory technicians in 2018 was about $40,440 per year. Between 2018 and 2028, 11% growth was expected in jobs for these professionals, per the BLS.
Denture technicians who are interested in gaining voluntary certification can apply for credentials from the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology, which grants the Certified Dental Technician (CDT) designation. CDTs may choose to pursue a specialization in either partial or full dentures (along with other, non-denture-related specialties). Earning CDT status requires the completion of a series of written and practical exams. Candidates must also meet education requirements, which graduation from an Associate of Science in Dental Technology program fulfills.
Associate's degree programs in dental technology are a common way individuals interested in becoming a denture technician can prepare for the field. Students learn about oral anatomy and the process for creating and modeling dentures, and voluntary certification is available for graduates.