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A Day in the Life of a Dental Lab Technician Student

Apr 08, 2010

What is it like to be a student studying to become a dental lab technician? To answer that question one has to look at the various types of classes that make up the curriculum for a dental lab technician student.

Studies can cover many areas of dentistry, and these subjects are common to most courses that qualify one to work in the field of dentistry, whether as a technician, a hygienist, or a dentist.

Science of Dental Materials

This comprehensive course covers the scientific aspect of dentistry, and includes instruction in biology, chemistry, and physics. These sciences are then applied to developing and understanding the materials that are used in dentistry. Primarily the materials learned during these courses are applied to creating dental appliances using in dentistry and orthodontics. There may be a practical component to this coursework, requiring one or more projects to be completed to illustrate the full understanding of the material presented.

Oral Anatomy

The purpose of this course is to identify tooth structures, the landmarks of the teeth, the structures of the teeth, and the terminology associated with the teeth and other structures inside the mouth. Additionally, tooth development will be covered, as well as the various disturbances that can cause poor development. By the end of the course you should be able to identify all areas of the mouth as well as understand the histology behind many types of dental issues.

Procedures of Fabrication

This course will provide a more hands-on approach to dental lab technician teaching. Students will get to use materials to fabricate various types of dental apparatus, as well as learn different techniques for developing these tools. It is in this class that the benefits of the two previous classes reaped. Students will use what they know of dental anatomy as well as biology and chemistry to create lasting pieces of dentistry.

Ethics

Courses in ethics help students cope in a real world environment with common issues that arise from working in the dental practice. Instructors may use role playing or realize scenarios to illustrate the appropriate way to act and carry out your business while working as a dental lab technician.

Additional Courses

Students who are looking to enhance their skill set, and want to improve their chances of becoming managers or supervisors may want to continue with business and marketing courses. These courses will prepare the dental lab technician student for a job where they are responsible for handling more than the average dental lab technician’s duties. Many dental lab technicians who have a background in business and marketing may go on to open their own dental labs.

Online Courses

Students who do not have nearby access to a dental lab school may choose to complete online courses. It should be noted that not all online courses are accredited by the American Dental Association, and therefore may not be recognized by an employer or a licensing body. In addition, there is usually no hands-on component to these online courses and as a result the dental lab technician student may not be fully prepared for a job in the field.

It is important that students wishing to become dental lab technicians find fully accredited programs that will give them training and hands-on experience with dental lab technician procedures and materials. Otherwise, they may find that once they graduate, they are ill equipped and do not qualify for the jobs that they have been training for. While a career as a dental lab technician is rewarding, without the proper education the first few years can be very frustrating.

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