What they do
Dental technicians work from a prescription, usually written by a dentist, and create or repair dentures and other dental appliances. These can be made using a variety of materials including plastic, metal and ceramics. They are made using various technical skills, including plaster casting, electro-spot welding, metal casting, metal bending, metal polishing, wax modelling, ceramics, electroplating and sandblasting. Dental technicians do not usually interact with customers.
Dental technicians may work alone or in a small group in a laboratory. They usually work regular work hours. Dental technicians work with highly specialised equipment and various chemicals, which they need to be careful with when handling.
Tools and technologies
Dental technicians are required to use a wide range of tools and technologies to complete various technical procedures including plaster casting, electro-spot welding, metal casting, metal polishing, ceramics, electroplating and sandblasting. Increasingly, Computer-Aided Design/Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) machines are being used to create some dental products.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a dental technician you usually need to undertake an apprenticeship as dental technician. The dental technician apprenticeship usually takes 48 months to complete.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.