Summary Report for:
51-9081.00 - Dental Laboratory Technicians
Construct and repair full or partial dentures or dental appliances.
Sample of reported job titles: Crown and Bridge Dental Lab Technician, Dental Ceramist, Dental Laboratory Technician (Dental Lab Technician), Dental Technician (Dental Tech), Denture Technician, Metal Finisher, Model and Dye Person, Orthodontic Laboratory Technician (Orthodontic Lab Technician), Porcelain Technician, Waxer
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Read prescriptions or specifications and examine models or impressions to determine the design of dental products to be constructed.
- Test appliances for conformance to specifications and accuracy of occlusion, using articulators and micrometers.
- Melt metals or mix plaster, porcelain, or acrylic pastes and pour materials into molds or over frameworks to form dental prostheses or apparatus.
- Create a model of patient's mouth by pouring plaster into a dental impression and allowing plaster to set.
- Place tooth models on apparatus that mimics bite and movement of patient's jaw to evaluate functionality of model.
- 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.
- Apply porcelain paste or wax over prosthesis frameworks or setups, using brushes and spatulas.
- Prepare metal surfaces for bonding with porcelain to create artificial teeth, using small hand tools.
- Load newly constructed teeth into porcelain furnaces to bake the porcelain onto the metal framework.
- Build and shape wax teeth, using small hand instruments and information from observations or dentists' specifications.
- Mold wax over denture setups to form the full contours of artificial gums.
- Rebuild or replace linings, wire sections, or missing teeth to repair dentures.
- Prepare wax bite blocks and impression trays for use.
- Train or supervise other dental technicians or dental laboratory bench workers.
- Shape and solder wire and metal frames or bands for dental products, using soldering irons and hand tools.
- Fill chipped or low spots in surfaces of devices, using acrylic resins.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Air compressors
- Amalgam carriers — Amalgam dispensers; Amalgam instruments
- Binocular light compound microscopes — Dental lab microscopes; Light microscopes
- Chucks — Auto chucks
- Crucibles for dental casting machines — Crucibles
- Culture tubes
- Dental amalgamators
- Dental articulators or accessories — Adjustable articulators; Anatomic articulators; Arcon articulators; Semiadjustable articulators (see all 5 examples)
- Dental burs — Acrylic cutters; Diamond burs
- Dental cutting or separating discs — Dental rotary cutting equipment; Diamond wheels
- Dental finishing or polishing discs — Build-up brushes; Dental buffing wheels; Prophylaxis brushes; Soft brushes (see all 9 examples)
- Dental hand pieces or accessories — Dental handpieces
- Dental impression material syringes or accessories — Impression syringes
- Dental impression material water baths or accessories — Hygrobaths
- Dental impression trays — Impression trays
- Dental instrument sharpening accessories — Mechanical dental instrument sharpeners
- Dental knives — Porcelain slicers; Surgical knives
- Dental laboratory air abrasion units — Air scribes
- Dental laboratory burners or torches — Casting torches; Dental laboratory alcohol torches; Dental laboratory torches
- Dental laboratory casting machines or its parts or accessories — Crucible formers; Dental laboratory centrifugal casting units; Dental laboratory pressure molding devices; Flask presses (see all 5 examples)
- Dental laboratory curing units — Dental laboratory curing lights
- Dental laboratory dies — Dental laboratory die mold fabrication systems
- Dental laboratory dust collectors
- Dental laboratory flasks — Injection flasks; Split flasks
- Dental laboratory furnaces — Dental ovens; Electric burnout furnaces; Inlay furnaces; Porcelain furnaces (see all 5 examples)
- Dental laboratory gold platers or supplies — Dental laboratory gold platers
- Dental laboratory lathes or accessories — Conventional lathes; Dental laboratory bench lathes; Dental laboratory high-speed lathes; Dental laboratory pumice lathes
- Dental laboratory model trimmers or accessories — Crown holders; Dental laboratory model trimmers
- Dental laboratory sandblasters or supplies — Dental laboratory microblasters; Dental laboratory sandblasters
- Dental laboratory soldering machines or supplies — Dental laboratory solderers; Spot-welding equipment
- Dental laboratory vacuum units or supplies — Dental laboratory vacuum extractors; Dental laboratory vacuum formers; Dental laboratory vacuum-mixing devices
- Dental laboratory vibrators — Dental vibrators
- Dental laboratory waxing units — Dental laboratory wax heaters
- Dental lasers — Neodymium-doped Yttrium Aluminum Garnet Nd:YAG dental lasers
- Dental marking devices — Dental surveyors
- Dental pin drivers — Dowel pin drills
- Dental plaster knives
- Dental retainers — Matrix retainers
- Dental scalers or accessories — Curette scalers
- Dental shades — Shade guides
- Dental spatulas — Dental wax spatuals
- Dental stones — Dental finishing stones
- Dental wax carvers
- Desktop computers
- Digital cameras
- Flow sensors — Laboratory flow meters
- Gas burners — Bunsen burners
- Laboratory balances — Clinical scales; Electronic precision balances
- Laboratory beakers
- Laboratory mixers — Mobile mixers
- Laboratory vacuum pumps — Dental laboratory vacuum pumps
- Laser printers
- Mallets — Electronically operated mallets
- Milling machines — Dental milling machines
- Notebook computers
- Orthodontic pliers — Dental pliers
- Personal computers
- Pestle or mortars — Mortars and pestles
- Pneumatic press — Pneumatic presses
- Shielded metal arc welding or stick welding machine — Shielded arc welding tools
- Steam autoclaves or sterilizers — Steam cleaners
- Stereo or dissecting light microscopes — Stereo microscopes
- Tissue culture coated plates or dishes or inserts — Culture plates
- Ultra pure water systems — Water purification systems
- Ultrasonic cleaning equipment — Ultrasonic cleaners
- Water baths
Technology used in this occupation:
- Accounting software — Bookkeeping software; Intuit QuickBooks software
- Calendar and scheduling software — Scheduling software
- Computer aided design CAD software — CAD/CAM; Dental product design software
- Computer aided manufacturing CAM software — Dental product manufacturing 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 (see all 7 examples)
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Computer imaging software; Graphics software
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Inventory management software
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Mainstreet Systems & Software DentaRX; Microsoft Word
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- 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.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- 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.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- 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.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- 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.
- 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.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- 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).
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- 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.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- 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.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- 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.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Detailed Work Activities
- Read work orders or other instructions to determine product specifications or materials requirements.
- Mix ingredients to create specific finishes.
- Place materials into molds.
- Direct operational or production activities.
- Measure clients to ensure proper product fit.
- Trim excess material from workpieces.
- Polish materials, workpieces, or finished products.
- Apply parting agents or other solutions to molds.
- Inspect medical or dental assistive devices.
- Load items into ovens or furnaces.
- Melt metal, plastic, or other materials to prepare for production.
- Cast molds of patient anatomies to create medical or dental devices.
- Solder parts or workpieces.
- Repair medical or dental assistive devices.
- Construct customized assistive medical or dental devices.
- Fill cracks, imperfections, or holes in products or workpieces.
- Shape metal workpieces with hammers or other small hand tools.
- Instruct workers to use equipment or perform technical procedures.
- Exposed to Contaminants — 98% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 97% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 91% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Time Pressure — 92% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 86% responded “Extremely important.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 88% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 80% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 57% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 49% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 40% responded “More than half the time.”
- Exposed to Disease or Infections — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 33% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 47% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 63% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 59% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 43% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 33% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 41% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 32% responded “Very important results.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 44% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Telephone — 40% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 33% responded “Extremely important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 69% responded “40 hours.”
- Level of Competition — 36% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Physical Proximity — 49% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 25% responded “Extremely important.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 32% responded “Very high responsibility.”
|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)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|43||High school diploma or equivalent|
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.
- 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.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- 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.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- 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.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$17.71 hourly, $36,830 annual|
|Employment (2014)||39,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Faster than average (9% to 13%)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||13,500|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
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.
- Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.