Orthodontic technician classes are offered within dental laboratory technician programs at community, vocational and technical colleges. These programs typically result in a certificate or associate's degree and take 2-4 years to complete. Students complete hands-on laboratory experiences, as well as a practicum experience in a professional dental lab. Completion of a dental laboratory technician program qualifies graduates for jobs in orthodontics, prosthetics or dental laboratories.
Here is a list of common topics explored in orthodontic technician courses:
- Appliance fabrication
- Wire bending
- Active and passive appliances
List of Common Orthodontic Technician Courses
Dental Materials Course
Prospective orthodontic technicians in this introductory course learn about non-metal materials and metal alloys used in dentistry and orthodontics. Gypsums, acrylics, waxes, resins, polishing compounds and impression materials are covered. Coursework includes a study of the history of dentistry.
Dental Anatomy and Physiology Course
This class focuses on the anatomy and physiology of the oral cavity, head and supporting structures, as well as the anatomy of individual teeth. Specific areas of discussion include occlusion, malocclusion, contour and temporomandibular joint. Basic dental terminology is covered, along with the eruption and development of teeth.
Orthodontic and Pedodontic Appliances Course
Taught largely through laboratories, this course provides guided instruction about the fabrication of orthodontic and pedodontic appliances. Learners investigate the construction of removable appliances such as Hawley retainers, bite planes, space maintainers and night guards. Lab work focuses on the construction of orthodontic clasps, arch wires and springs.
Dental Lab Practicum Course
After completing core dental and orthodontic technician classes, scholars gain practical experience working in a professional laboratory setting. This hands-on course provides instruction in the various laboratory techniques pertaining to dental specialty areas. Students work in several dental labs in order to gain a broad perspective of a variety of work situations. Under supervision, they fabricate prostheses and orthodontic appliances for actual patients from casts, impressions or occlusal records.
Removable Partial Dentures Course
In this class, scholars examine the technical and practical aspects of removable partial dentures. Fabrication of these implants is a central component to the course. Students gain hands-on experience with different aspects of fabricating removable partial dentures through the course's lab component, including design and casting.