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Become A Dental Technician

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Working As A Dental Technician

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Getting Information
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Repetitive

  • $48,560

    Average Salary

What Does A Dental Technician Do

Dental assistants perform many tasks, ranging from patient care and taking x rays to recordkeeping and scheduling appointments. Their duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work. 

Duties

Dental assistants typically do the following:

  • Ensure that patients are comfortable in the dental chair
  • Prepare patients and the work area for treatments and procedures
  • Sterilize dental instruments
  • Help dentists by handing them instruments during procedures
  • Keep patients’ mouths dry by using suction hoses and other equipment
  • Instruct patients in proper oral hygiene
  • Process x rays and complete lab tasks, under the direction of a dentist
  • Keep records of dental treatments
  • Schedule patient appointments
  • Work with patients on billing and payment

Assistants who perform lab tasks, such as taking impressions of a patient’s teeth, work under the direction of a dentist. They may prepare materials for dental impressions or to create temporary crowns.

All dental assistants complete certain tasks, such as helping dentists with procedures and keeping patient records. Dental assistants are allowed to perform the following procedures in some states:

  • Coronal polishing
  • Sealant application
  • Fluoride application
  • Topical anesthetic application

Coronal polishing, which means removing soft deposits such as plaque, gives teeth a cleaner appearance. In sealant application, a dental assistant paints a thin, plastic substance over teeth that seals out food particles and acid-producing bacteria to keep teeth from developing cavities. Fluoride application, in which fluoride is put directly on the teeth, is another anticavity measure. Some dental assistants may be qualified to apply topical anesthetic to an area of a patient’s mouth, temporarily numbing the area to help prepare a patient for procedures.

Each state regulates the scope of practice for dental assistants.

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How To Become A Dental Technician

There are several possible paths to becoming a dental assistant. Some states require assistants to graduate from an accredited program and pass an exam. In other states, there are no formal educational requirements.

Education

Some states require dental assistants to graduate from an accredited program and pass an exam. Most programs are offered by community colleges, although they also may be offered by vocational or technical schools. Most programs take about 1 year to complete and lead to a certificate or diploma. Programs that last 2 years are less common and lead to an associate’s degree. The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), part of the American Dental Association, accredited nearly 300 dental assisting training programs in 2015.

Accredited programs include classroom and laboratory work in which students learn about teeth, gums, jaws, and other areas that dentists work on and the instruments that dentists use. These programs also include supervised practical experience.

High school students interested in a career as a dental assistant should take courses in biology, chemistry, and anatomy.

Training

Dental assistants who do not have formal education in dental assisting may learn their duties through on-the-job training. A dental assistant or dentist in the office teaches the new assistant dental terminology, the names of the instruments, how to complete daily tasks, how to interact with patients, and other activities necessary to help keep the dental office running smoothly.

Important Qualities

Detail oriented. Dental assistants must follow specific rules and protocols, such as infection control procedures, when helping dentists treat patients. Assistants also must be aware of what tasks they are allowed to complete in the state where they work.

Dexterity. Dental assistants must be good at working with their hands. They generally work in tight quarters on a small part of the body, using very precise tools and instruments.

Interpersonal skills. Dental assistants must work closely with dentists and patients. Sometimes, patients are in extreme pain and/or mental stress, so the assistant should be sensitive to their emotions.

Listening skills. Dental assistants should be able to listen to patients and other healthcare workers. They need to follow directions from a dentist or dental hygienist, so they can help treat patients and do tasks, such as taking an x ray.

Organizational skills. Dental assistants should have excellent organizational skills. They should have the correct tools in place for a dentist or dental hygienist to use when treating a patient.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states require dental assistants to be licensed, registered, or certified. In other states, there are no formal requirements to become an entry-level dental assistant.

States that allow assistants to perform expanded duties, such as coronal polishing, require that they be licensed, registered, or hold certifications from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). To earn certification from DANB, applicants must pass an exam. The educational requirements for DANB certification are that dental assistants must either have graduated from an accredited program or have a high school diploma and complete the required amount of work experience. Applicants also must have current certification in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

In addition, many states require assistants to meet specific education or training requirements in order to work with radiography (x ray) equipment. Requirements vary by state. Contact state boards of dentistry for specific requirements.

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Dental Technician jobs

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Dental Technician Career Paths

Dental Technician
Laboratory Manager Project Manager General Manager
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Security Officer Night Auditor
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Maintenance Technician
Chief Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Dental Laboratory Technician Office Manager Operations Director
Director Of Facilities
11 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Office Manager Operations Manager
Division Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Facilities Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Adjunct Faculty Co-Owner
General Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Human Resources Coordinator
Human Resources Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Driver Operation Supervisor
Logistics Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Driver Delivery Driver Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Operations Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Dental Hygienist Adjunct Faculty Chairperson
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Manager Operations Manager
Plant Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Service Manager Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator Production Supervisor
Production Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Correction Officer Technician Quality Control Inspector
Quality Control Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Driver Dispatcher Operations Manager
Regional Operation Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Dental Hygienist Registered Nurse Case Manager
Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Correction Officer Forklift Operator
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Dental Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

49.2%

Male

48.6%

Unknown

2.2%
Ethnicity

White

75.5%

Hispanic or Latino

13.9%

Asian

8.4%

Unknown

1.6%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.8%

French

5.1%

Chinese

5.1%

Polish

5.1%

Tagalog

3.8%

German

3.8%

Mandarin

2.6%

Korean

2.6%

Portuguese

2.6%

Arabic

2.6%

Hmong

1.3%

Hindi

1.3%

Dutch

1.3%

Bulgarian

1.3%

Russian

1.3%

Afrikaans

1.3%

Nepali

1.3%

Filipino

1.3%

Albanian

1.3%

Croatian

1.3%
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Dental Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.9%

Kirkwood Community College

8.0%

Liberty University

8.0%

Community College of the Air Force

7.1%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

6.2%

Kaplan University

6.2%

American InterContinental University

5.3%

University of California - Los Angeles

4.4%

University of Maryland - College Park

3.5%

Webster University

3.5%

Wayland Baptist University

3.5%

Saddleback College

3.5%

Orange Coast College

3.5%

University of Missouri - Saint Louis

3.5%

Portland Community College

3.5%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.5%

South Puget Sound Community College

2.7%

Hinds Community College

2.7%

Texas State Technical College - Waco

2.7%

East Tennessee State University

2.7%
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Majors

Dental Assisting

30.0%

Business

16.9%

Nursing

6.0%

Biology

4.5%

General Studies

4.3%

Health Care Administration

4.0%

Psychology

3.8%

Graphic Design

3.0%

Fine Arts

2.6%

Education

2.6%

Liberal Arts

2.6%

Dentistry

2.6%

Medical Technician

2.5%

Computer Science

2.3%

Management

2.3%

Criminal Justice

2.3%

Medical Assisting Services

2.2%

Accounting

2.2%

Communication

1.7%

Information Technology

1.7%
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Degrees

Other

39.6%

Bachelors

23.0%

Associate

17.6%

Certificate

8.4%

Masters

7.2%

Diploma

2.6%

Doctorate

1.3%

License

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Dental Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Professional Dental Technician Wilford Samson D.D.S. Family Dentistry Old Saybrook, CT Nov 04, 2009 $81,393
Dental Technician Ceramist Southern Craft Dental Laboratory Gainesville, GA Jan 15, 2010 $67,828
Master Dental Technician Great White Dental Lab Santa Maria, CA Jul 02, 2014 $61,048
Dental Technician Aki Yoshida, Inc. Weston, MA Aug 27, 2013 $60,000
Master Dental Technician Advanced Dental Technologies, A Novadent Company Roseville, CA Aug 15, 2012 $60,000
Professional Dental Technician Wilford Samson D.D.S. Family Dentistry Old Saybrook, CT Oct 01, 2009 $57,870
Dental Technician Precision Esthetics Dental Laboratory, Inc. West Palm Beach, FL Feb 12, 2009 $52,154
Dental Technician (Ceramist) Precision Craft Dental Laboratory, LLC Smithfield, RI Apr 15, 2015 $51,355
Dental Technician A.I. Dental Art Studio, Inc. Las Vegas, NV Sep 03, 2016 $50,190
Dental Technician Innovation Dental, Inc. Jersey City, NJ Feb 26, 2010 $49,232
Senior Dental Technician Deedent Dental Solutions, Inc. Santa Clarita, CA Dec 05, 2016 $48,901
Dental Technician Deedent Dental Solutions, Inc. Santa Clarita, CA Jan 28, 2016 $48,901
Dental Technician Innovation Dental Inc. Jersey City, NJ Jan 31, 2011 $47,029
Dental Technician Hi-Point Dental Lab, Inc. Rolling Meadows, IL Apr 12, 2015 $44,000 -
$44,500
Dental Technician Ephphada Dental Lab Cosmetic & Implant Corp. NY Jul 07, 2010 $43,680
Cad/Cam Dental Technician Uni Dental Studio Inc. Columbia, MD Jun 20, 2016 $42,952
Dental Technician JK Dental Lab Services Inc. Port Washington, NY Mar 10, 2009 $42,888
Dental Technician Ismilecare, P.C. Park Ridge, IL Jul 28, 2016 $42,515
Dental Technician Ismilecare, P.C. Park Ridge, IL Apr 13, 2016 $42,515
Dental Technician ACL Hawaii, Inc. Urban Honolulu, HI Dec 13, 2010 $42,245
Cad/Cam Dental Technician Tristar Art, Inc. Santa Rosa, CA Sep 11, 2016 $42,016
Dental Technician Asteto Dent Labs Maplewood, NJ Jan 28, 2008 $41,740
Dental Technician Middlesex Dental Prosthetics, Inc. Waltham, MA Aug 05, 2015 $40,414
Dental Technician Middlesex Dental Prosthetics, Inc. Waltham, MA Aug 04, 2015 $40,414
Dental Technician AMC Dental Spa Herndon, VA May 19, 2015 $39,458
Dental Technician American Dental Center, D.D.S., P.C. Berkley, MI Mar 26, 2008 $38,610
Dental Technician Lee Dental Laboratory Inc. DBA Ivory Dental Lab Richmond, VA Oct 17, 2016 $37,877
Dental Technician Felizola Dental Laboratory, Inc. Miami, FL Feb 26, 2010 $37,816 -
$37,879
Dental Technician 369 Dental Center Irwindale, CA May 15, 2010 $37,566
Supervisor, Dental Technician Green Dental Lab Inc. Los Angeles, CA Nov 07, 2007 $37,149

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Top Skills for A Dental Technician

PartialDenturesDentalLabPorcelainCrownsDentistsDentalOfficesCustomerServiceDentalProceduresDentalProsthesesDentalProductsZirconiaOralHygieneOralSurgeryCustomTraysDentalAppliancesDentalEquipmentInfectionControlDentalClinicDentalImpressionPFMDentalRecords

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Top Dental Technician Skills

  1. Partial Dentures
  2. Dental Lab
  3. Porcelain Crowns
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Fabricated full and partial dentures, bleaching trays, night guards Assisted with filing, scheduling, sorting denture teeth and delivery
  • Repair and maintain all furnaces, casting machines, high speed grinders and all other machines around the dental lab.
  • Opaqued copings, Built and ground porcelain crowns
  • Consult with dentists and patients on the options of dental fabrications available.
  • Key Results: Picking up and delivering patient cases to and from various Dental offices in the Corpus Christi area.

Top Dental Technician Employers

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Dental Technician Videos

A Day in the Life of Rob (Dental School)

We Are Dental Technicians

CDI College Dental Technician Program

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