A Day in the Life of an Orthodontic Technician
Orthodontic technicians are trained to work with orthodontists, assisting them to improve people’s smiles. An orthodontic technician is responsible for adjusting braces and dental prosthetics, and can also create molds for dentures, and assist with billing and insurance claims. Exactly what an orthodontic technician does during an average day depends on where they work, whether it’s in a dental office or a laboratory.
If you choose to become an orthodontic technician, you could choose a job that lets you work in an orthodontist’s office, where you will interact directly with patients and help them with their orthodontia. Alternatively, you could work in a laboratory where you’ll be responsible for creating complicated tooth corrections systems such as bridges or crowns, and have significantly less interaction with other people during the day.
If you work in a small office, you may have additional tasks similar to that of a medical office assistant, including completing billing insurance claims, scheduling clients, and ensuring that all medical supplies are stocked. Those who work in larger offices will be responsible only for their tasks as an orthodontic technician, as all other responsibilities will be handled by other staff members.
Orthodontic technicians at work in a laboratory setting will have a much different type of day. For one, they will be dealing with models of people’s teeth, instead of the people themselves. The models will illustrate the geography of the teeth, the bite, and the gum line. The orthodontic technician will then create a wax model of the teeth that are being corrected and use it to create a metal framework. This type of task involves particular attention to detail, and the work will be overseen by an orthodontist in the lab.
You’ll spend most of the day in the lab seated and surrounded by lights and technical devices to help you complete your task. A job as an orthodontic technician in a lab involves much less interaction with other people, so it may not be the ideal career if you like to have regular interactions while on the job.
Most orthodontic technicians with little or no training before they start the job may begin as trainees. While the average wage for an orthodontic technician in 2008 was $34,460, trainees can expect to earn slightly above minimum wage. After a year or two of training they should be ready to become full-time orthodontic technicians and earn the same wage as their peers.
With the expected amount of growth in jobs for orthodontic technicians, those who undertake the training should have no problem finding a great job in this field. After a few years of experience and additional training this career offers reasonable growth opportunities, such as that of a supervisor or a technologist.
If you find that a career as an orthodontic technician is interesting, then the next step would be to research schools in your area or online that can train you for this position. Although you can find jobs that allow you to learn as you go, you can expect a higher salary and better job opportunities if you are already trained as an orthodontic technician.