The Role of a Lab Technician

Dental Laboratory Technician

The Dental Laboratory Technician typically works away from the dental office, in their own business but there are some cases where the laboratory technician works “in house” in the dental office. The dental technician follows a dentist’s prescription to fabricate a variety of dental prosthetics such as porcelain or gold crowns, partials, dentures, and various appliances, etc.

A typical example is the procedure of dental crown. A crown covers the visible portion of the tooth. It begins with an impression of the patient’s prepared tooth in the dental office. The modern materials used for impressions have 25 micron accuracy ( a human hair is 40 microns thick) and yet are relatively durable. From there, the impression goes to the dental lab.

In a clean organized setting, the laboratory uses magnifying glasses to achieve accurate precision fit to the patient’s tooth. A plaster mold of the patient’s tooth is created and separated from the impression to determine the smooth tooth surface around the tooth/crown junction. The technician is instructed by the dentist on what type of materials ( usually porcelain or alloy such as gold) are to be used with restorative instructions to create and design an anatomically correct and functional crown. The shape and color of replacement teeth are determined as appropriate and complementary to the size and shape needed for a specific patient.

All these separate steps are performed with communication between the patient and doctor and the lab technician and at many points to arrive at a custom solution for each individual patient.

The personal quality service is exemplified in the laboratory and as a conscientious set of “other eyes” to arrive at an excellent final product. This is why the process takes days, not hours to complete. In regards to the return of investment, the quality of the restoration increases the predictability and offers many more years of service for the patient’s tooth that is restored.

We welcome you to our practice for a custom fit experience. We choose our lab technicians carefully because we stand behind our promise of quality dental care from beginning to end.

By Dr. Robert Carlisi

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