What are Dental Technologists?
Dental technologists are members of the dental health team that includes dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants. Technologists contribute to patient care in two very important ways. First, they fabricate restorations and prostheses prescribed by the dentist such as crowns, bridges, dentures, implants, and maxillofacial prostheses. Technologists must have extensive knowledge and understanding of anatomy, dental materials, and technologies in order to fabricate restorations and prostheses that assist the dentist restoring and maintaining the patient's dental health. Second, the technologists serve as consultants to the dentist concerning dental materials and technology. The dental field is experiencing numerous evolving and emerging materials and technologies. New materials (alloys, ceramics, and resins) and new technologies (digital imaging, laser, and CAD-CAM) are available for fabricating restorations and prostheses. The dentist has more options to consider in providing patient care. Therefore, today’s experienced technologists must have knowledge and understanding concerning these options in order to consult the dentist in making choices.
Technologists must have certain attributes or abilities in order to perform their work. These include artistic ability, mechanical aptitudes, and critical thinking. Technologists who choose to become laboratory owners must have professional business acumen, supervisory and managerial skills, as well as professional ethics. Bachelor's degree-prepared technologists meet all of these requirements.
What are the opportunities for dental technologists?
There are many career opportunities for the dental laboratory technologists.They may practice in commercial dental and government laboratories and private dental offices. Some may become laboratory owners, managers, or supervisors. Some may choose to enter the manufacturing arena as sales or technical representatives, educators and trainers, and research and development personnel. Others may become educators in schools or universities. Dental technologists may enter dental school and become dentists.