Becoming a Cosmetic Dental Technician
Cosmetic Dental Technicians use their artistic ability and technology to help patients’ mouths and teeth look and function properly. They make porcelain veneers, crowns, gum grafts to simulate the function of the patient’s natural teeth. They use a variety of high-tech materials, such as ceramics, plastics wax, and metal alloys for fixed restorations of the tooth or prosthetic. They apply hand or power tools to polish and shape the devices as well as inspect the final product for quality and accuracy. In some cases, they use computer programs to create appliances or to get impressions sent from a dentist’s office.
Cosmetic Dental Technicians work in dentists’ offices, manufacturing laboratories, military departments, government agencies and may even own their own lab. However, these professionals often work closely with the Dentists. Most of the technicians work full time. However, they may work in evening-shifts, holidays or weekends, depending on their nature of work environment.
Although there are no formal educational requirements to become a Cosmetic Dental Technician, the aspiring candidates need to complete at least a high school diploma and take courses in science, mathematics, computer programming, and art. The candidates can learn basic skills, like making models, as well as advanced techniques, like creating orthodontic appliances through on-the-job training.
Moreover, Cosmetic Dental Technicians can receive a 2-year training program, accredited by the American Dental Association, from a technical college, community college, vocational school, university or dental school. The syllabus includes patient care, dental anatomy, dentures, and dental ceramics.
Certification and Licensure
Since the practice of Cosmetic Dental Technicians is required to be licensed in some states, the aspiring candidates need to complete a training program and pass the licensing examination. The National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology offers certification to these professionals.
Cosmetic Dental Technicians have a great deal of understanding in the mechanics of the mouth and the dental devices as well as dental terminologies. They also possess excellent eye-hand coordination, good color perception, excellent dexterity with small instruments, an interest in material sciences, the patience to attend to minute details, effective communication and interpersonal skills, competent in computer skills etc.
Job Outlook and Salary
The job outlook for a Cosmetic Dental Technician remains excellent across the USA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities in this profession may rise 7% from 2012 to 2022. The average annual salary of a Cosmetic Dental Technician was $ 33,070 in May 2012.