Dental technicians make and repair dental appliances, such as false teeth, crowns, bridges, implants or braces. Dentists use these appliances to replace or improve their patients’ teeth, speech, appearance or ability to chew.
You could be:
following written instructions from a dentist, giving exact details of the appliance to be made
designing and making the item, using materials such as metal, plaster or plastic
carving, moulding, casting, grinding and polishing the item, often using complex equipment
checking that the finished item is correct in colour and design, looks attractive and will not damage teeth, gums or other parts of the mouth
adjusting or repairing dental appliances
keeping patient records.
After training, you could go into one of the three following specialisms:
removable prosthodontics – design and make dentures
fixed prosthodontics – specialise in crown and bridge work
orthodontics – make braces to correct the position of teeth.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Dental technicians' pay can start at around £18,000 a year, rising with experience to between £24,000 and £30,000 year.
Dental technicians who work with the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change scale. The current pay scales are from April 2021. Qualified technicians start on Band 5, £26,104 to £32,915 a year. Dental technician specialists and those with management responsibilities are on Band 6, £33,072 to £40,736 a year.
Higher specialist dental technicians are on Band 7, £40,872 to £47,846 a year.
You would work in a laboratory in a hospital or commercial business, and sometimes in a dentist’s surgery.
You may work alone or in a small team.
You have contact with dentists but usually not with patients.
Working hours are normally regular, but in some hospital departments you may need to attend emergencies.
You would wear a white coat or protective clothing and sometimes other safety equipment such as an eye-shield.
accurate, to make items fit the patient comfortably and properly
practical with a high level of manual dexterity
able to follow technical instructions
artistic, to make items visually pleasing
careful and methodical
able to concentrate on close work
able to work on your own and in a team.
Depending on how you study, training might be on the job, with part time study.
Once you are registered with the GDC, you are required to undertake Continuous Professional Development (CPD) in order to keep your skills and knowledge up to date. You must complete at least 150 hours every 5 years.
In hospitals you would probably move on to a senior technician’s job.
In a commercial laboratory you might move into management or quality control.
You could take further qualifications and specialise in making a particular type of dental appliance.
With experience and specialist training, dental technicians can become Clinical Dental Technicians (training not currently available in Scotland).