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Summary Report for:
51-9081.00 - Dental Laboratory Technicians

Construct and repair full or partial dentures or dental appliances.

Sample of reported job titles: Dental Technician, Dental Ceramist, Dental Laboratory Technician, Waxer, Denture Technician, Dental Lab Technician, Metal Finisher, Crown and Bridge Dental Lab Technician, Model and Dye Person, Model Technician

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Read prescriptions or specifications and examine models or impressions to determine the design of dental products to be constructed.
  • Fabricate, alter, or repair dental devices, such as dentures, crowns, bridges, inlays, or appliances for straightening teeth.
  • Remove excess metal or porcelain and polish surfaces of prostheses or frameworks, using polishing machines.
  • Melt metals or mix plaster, porcelain, or acrylic pastes and pour materials into molds or over frameworks to form dental prostheses or apparatus.
  • Test appliances for conformance to specifications and accuracy of occlusion, using articulators and micrometers.
  • Apply porcelain paste or wax over prosthesis frameworks or setups, using brushes and spatulas.
  • Place tooth models on apparatus that mimics bite and movement of patient's jaw to evaluate functionality of model.
  • Create a model of patient's mouth by pouring plaster into a dental impression and allowing plaster to set.
  • Train or supervise other dental technicians or dental laboratory bench workers.
  • Build and shape wax teeth, using small hand instruments and information from observations or dentists' specifications.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Dental articulators or accessories — Adjustable articulators; Anatomic articulators; Arcon articulators; Semiadjustable articulators
Dental finishing or polishing discs — Build-up brushes; Dental buffing wheels; Prophylaxis brushes; Soft brushes
Dental laboratory casting machines or its parts or accessories — Crucible formers; Dental laboratory centrifugal casting units; Dental laboratory pressure molding devices; Flask presses
Dental laboratory furnaces — Dental ovens; Electric burnout furnaces; Inlay furnaces; Porcelain furnaces
Dental laboratory lathes or accessories — Conventional lathes; Dental laboratory bench lathes; Dental laboratory high-speed lathes; Dental laboratory pumice lathes

Technology used in this occupation:

Accounting software — Bookkeeping software; Intuit QuickBooks software
Data base user interface and query software — Easy Solutions Easy Lab; Inventrix Labtrac; Laboratory Systems Group Lab Manager; Mainstreet Systems & Software DentaLab/PC II
Graphics or photo imaging software — Computer imaging software; Graphics software
Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
Word processing software — Mainstreet Systems & Software DentaRX; Microsoft Word

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Knowledge

English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

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Skills

Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

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Abilities

Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

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Work Activities

Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

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Work Context

Time Pressure — How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — How much does this job require using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?
Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
Freedom to Make Decisions — How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
Exposed to Contaminants — How often does this job require working exposed to contaminants (such as pollutants, gases, dust or odors)?
Frequency of Decision Making — How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, salespersons (retail), and tellers.
SVP Range (4.0 to < 6.0)

There are 5 recognized apprenticeable specialties associated with this occupation:
Dental Ceramist; Dental-Laboratory Technician; Finisher, Denture; Orthodontic Technician; Contour Wire Specialist, Denture

To learn about specific apprenticeship opportunities, please consult the U.S. Department of Labor State Apprenticeship Information external site website.

For general information about apprenticeships, training, and partnerships with business, visit the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship external site website.

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
53   High school diploma or equivalent
32   Some college, no degree
  Less than high school diploma

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Interests

Interest code: RIC

Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

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Work Styles

Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.

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Work Values

Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

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Wages & Employment Trends

National

Median wages (2012) $17.35 hourly, $36,090 annual
Employment (2012) 39,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Slower than average (3% to 7%) Slower than average (3% to 7%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 14,200
Top industries (2012)

State & National

          CareerOneStop

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

Find Jobs
for Dental Laboratory Technicians

          mySkills myFuture

State & National Job Banks

          CareerOneStop

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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