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A dental laboratory technician is a skilled craftsman within the field of dentistry. Although some are self-taught, most dental lab techs have completed formal training from an accredited program that teaches the basic science and technology of designing and manufacturing corrective devices for natural teeth. They have extensive knowledge of the anatomy of teeth and how the jaw functions. They possess great manual dexterity and can fabricate crowns, bridges, and dentures using their proficiency with various dental materials and machinery in a way that ‘fits’ into a patient’ mouth to restore form and function. Some dental lab techs will continue their training by gaining valuable experience working side by side with a master dental technician. (A master dental technician is considered an expert in the field having ‘mastery’ skill and extensive experience working in complex dental cases). During this apprenticeship, the technician can hone his or her skill in a specific area.

Why is a dental lab technician important?

The dental lab tech plays an essential role in a patient’s dental treatment by creating whatever dental prosthesis is needed. Through a detailed prescription and the use of photos, impressions, and/or digital data, the dentist can liaise with the technician to obtain a solution for the patient. Although dentists have extensive knowledge of preparing for and placing these prostheses, they are not capable of fabricating them.

How does a lab tech’s skill affect the final outcome?

In today’s highly demanding world of dental esthetics, the lab tech’s role is more important than ever! So huge that many cosmetic dentists have created state-of-the-art dental laboratories within their practices in order to work 1 to 1 with the technicians to get the most natural and precise fitting restorations and prostheses. These leading technicians are considered artists within the field. Some even with their own Instagram accounts (see the post above of our lab) to showcase their work. They have the ability to manipulate an assortment of ceramics by layering different shades of porcelain to create beautifully colored and contoured teeth that can enhance the beauty of a patient’s smile and overall appearance.