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Career Profile: Dental Laboratory Technicians

Construct and repair full or partial dentures or dental appliances.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 33,100 people employed as dental laboratory technicians in the United States. The median annual salary is $42,100. Entry level employees earn approximately $27,060 per year and senior employees earn approximately $67,010 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Remove excess metal or porcelain and polish surfaces of prostheses or frameworks, using polishing machines.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
33,100
Annual Openings:
4,900
Increase in Openings by 2030:
12%
Annual Salary Range:
$27,060 - $67,010
Education Requirements:
High school diploma