Career Definition for a Periodontal Technician
Periodontal technicians make dental crowns, implants, bridges and other dental appliances and prosthetics for dentists who treat periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease. Using dental prescriptions and physical molds or digital impressions of a patient's mouth, they create plaster models then use hand tools to shape crowns made of porcelain and metal. Dental lab technicians often specialize in one area of expertise, such as crowns, dentures or ceramics. Periodontist technicians may be employed by dental offices that specialize in the treatment of periodontitis or by independent labs. Some dental technicians become managers or owners of independent labs.
|Education||Associate's degree in dental laboratory technology|
|Job Skills||Skills with hand tools, detail-oriented, good eyesight, up to date on technology, and good communication|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$38,670 (for dental laboratory technicians)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||14% (for dental laboratory technicians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Some employers may provide on-the-job training in periodontal technology to high school graduates; however, many periodontal technicians earn associate degrees in dental laboratory technology. Two-year degree programs accredited by the American Dental Association are offered through vocational schools and community colleges throughout the United States. Voluntary Certified Dental Technician (CDT) certification is available through the National Board for Certification Dental Laboratory Technology (www.nbccert.org).
Skill with hand tools used in creating crowns and dental appliances is essential for periodontal technicians. They must also be detail-oriented, have good eyesight and be able to craft and shape metal and porcelain. Periodontal technology professionals must be knowledgeable about the latest advances in dental technology and periodontics. They must also have good communication skills and the ability to interact with coworkers.
Economic Outlook and Career Forecast
As the emphasis on preventive care continues to improve overall dental health, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts faster than average job growth of 14% for dental laboratory technicians from 2016-2026. In May 2017, the BLS reported an annual median salary of $38,670 for dental laboratory technicians, such as those working in periodontal technology, with median annual salaries at $23,350 and lower for the bottom-paid ten percent and $63,480 and higher for the top-paid ten percent.
Alternate Career Options
Similar jobs to a periodontal technician include:
Although high school graduates sometimes secure employment and learn the necessary skills while on the job, others earn a certificate or associate's degree to practice following prescriptions and fitting others with contact lenses and eyeglasses. The BLS projected much faster than average employment growth of 15% from 2014 through 2024, and it reported an annual median salary of $36,250 in 2017.
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technician
Ophthalmic laboratory technicians can expect faster than average job growth of 12% from 2016-2026, and they earned a median wage of $30,960 per year in 2017, per the BLS. The BLS also notes that ophthalmic laboratory technicians can learn their skills on the job to make contact lenses and prescription eyeglasses and are sometimes referred to as manufacturing opticians.