Although they don’t work directly with patients, dental technicians (or dental technologists) are an integral part of the dental team. Without them, dentists would not be able to offer patients a full range of treatments and services.
Dental technicians work closely with a dentist’s prescription to make, repair and alter a wide range of dental appliances, including dentures, bridges, crowns and orthodontic appliances, which helps to improve the patient’s speech, appearance and chewing ability. There are 4 specialist areas of dental technology:
Dental technicians can work in several of these areas or choose one to specialise in.
Dental technicians need to have a high level of manual dexterity, technical skill and excellent attention to detail.
You must be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) to work as a dental technician. To become a dental technician, you need to obtain a BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) National Diploma in Dental Technology (which takes 2 years) or a BSc in Dental Technology (which takes 3 years). You can choose to do a BTEC full time, or you could get a post as a trainee dental technician and do the course part time. BScs are normally offered on a full time basis.
Entry requirements may vary for different institutions, but generally you need 4 GCSEs grades A-C, including science, maths and English, to study for a BTEC. For a BSc you will normally also require 2 A Levels or equivalent.
Most dental technicians work in dental labs, but some work in hospitals and general practices. Experienced dental technicians may become senior technicians, manage their own lab or go into sales. With some additional training, dental technicians could go into teaching and research roles. They could also specialise as orthodontic therapists or clinical dental technicians after undertaking extra training in clinical skills and sciences.
What is the DTA?
The DTA is a source of information on all aspects of being a professional dental technician and offers advice on courses and training if you want to become a dental technician.
What does the DTA do?