An orthodontist, just like a doctor, works with a team of other professionals in providing care for their patients. The team includes orthodontics or dental technicians.
Lab technicians work at orthodontic laboratories. They use various materials, such as ceramics and plastic, to manufacture orthodontic appliances specified by orthodontists for their patients. Here’s what an orthodontic lab technician’s work involves:
The work of a lab technician begins with a mold, specifically, that of the patient’s teeth, and the instructions from the orthodontist. The technician then makes a cast of the jaw structure and fabricates prostheses, bridges, and braces, among others, that will help align the teeth or restore them to their original positions.
The technicians may use ceramic, plastic, and metal alloys. Because each material has its own set of uses and characteristics, the technician must know the appropriate material to use for each application, and then mold or sculpt them according to the orthodontist's instructions.
Competent lab technicians can be considered as artisans. As such, they have an eye for aesthetics. Likewise, they possess superior technical skills. They are able to come up with appliances that complement the user’s existing teeth.
The technician uses the latest tools to perform his job. These include anything from a simple hand tool to the most sophisticated computer system. A basic component of the lab technician’s job is the ability to use small sculpting instruments, as well as powered rotary equipment.
Many technicians working at orthodontics laboratories today gained experience and training on the job. They gained most of the required skills hands on. Some schools offer bachelor or associate degrees in the field. Some big laboratories that rely heavily on computers may opt to hire employees who have undergone formal training.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for orthodontic technicians is expected to remain constant for the next decade. Job openings may come mainly from turnover and retirements.
Understanding the role that orthodontic technicians play in the treatment of your patients will help you appreciate their efforts more. Go find the most reliable dental laboratory in your location and ensure quality appliances for your patients.