Dental Technician

Dental Technicians design, manufacture, modify and repair custom-made dental appliances. Typically the work is undertaken in a dental laboratory on a prescription from a dentist. The work can broadly be split into crown & bridge, dentures and orthodontics; most labs specialise in one or two of these areas but during the apprenticeship Dental Technicians will develop competency across all disciplines from start to finish before choosing if/where to specialise once they are qualified.

Dental Technicians tread a fine line between art and science; they manufacture precise custom-made medical appliances but require the attention to detail, colour and manual dexterity that is expected of fine artists.

Dental Technicians are registered professionals and work within the standards and scope of practice defined by the General Dental Council (GDC) Scope of practice Document September 2013 http://www.gdcuk.org/Newsandpublications/Publications/Publications/Scope of Practice September 2013.pdf

Working as part of the Dental Team Dental Technicians will need to comply with professional regulation, collaborate with dental practices and occasionally meet patients. Dental Technicians will be able to work with minimum supervision and are responsible for the quality of their finished work before it is released to the dentist and patient. 

Skills

Appropriate Device Selection: Advise the prescribing dentist on appropriate dental devices based on dentist input, while recognising oral limitations and their effect on devices. Evaluate, for individual patients, the need for more complex treatment and seek advice from the dentist or more experienced Dental Technicians as appropriate.

Device Manufacture: Design, manufacture, assess, repair, modify and provide biomechanically sound custommade dental devices in the following three areas:

1.Prosthetic Device Manufacture (Dentures): Design and manufacture complete and partial removable prosthesis, including the provision of custom made impression trays

2.Conservation Device Manufacture (Crown/Bridge): Produce models and dies for conservation work

Design and manufacture single metallic and tooth coloured restorations

Create substructures for bridgework and apply tooth coloured materials for permanent restorations.

3.Orthodontic Device Manufacture (Braces): Produce models for Orthodontic case study purposes and appliance construction Design and manufacture removable, functional and fixed orthodontic appliances

Digital Manufacturing Procedures: Aware of the basic procedures used in design and manufacture of custom made devices (including CAD/CAM & IT Solutions).

Device Assessment: Assess impressions, models and finished devices as well as the fitness for purpose of devices and propose alternatives where necessary, in line with patient prescription, and formally record these decisions as for MDD requirements

Can review and Quality Assure the devices

Implants and attachments: Aware of basic procedures for the use of implants, milling and precision attachments as used with various forms of custom made dental restorations

Communication: Communicate effectively with and about patients, their representatives and the rest of the dental team. Handle complaints effectively and within GDC guidelines.

Decontamination & Infection Control: Manage safety, infection control and decontamination risks around the dental laboratory in keeping with current regulations

Knowledge

Oral Anatomy: Normal dental/oral anatomy and physiology.

Dental devices and combating oral problems: How design of custom-made devices can contribute to restoration of functionality as well as prevention of oral disease/further decline.

Manufacturing Procedures: The procedures used in design and manufacture of custom made devices - dentures, crowns, bridges, orthodontic (including Computer Aided Design (CAD)/ Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) & IT Solutions).

Material Selection: The principles regarding the selection and use of materials for use in custom made dental devices.

The Dental Team and Professionalism: The role of Dental Technician and other dental team members in management and leadership, professionalism and communication.

Medical Devices Directive & GDC Guidelines: Compliance with the Medical Devices Directive Council 93/42/EEC (MDD), GDC standards for Dental Team, Scope of practice http://www.gdcuk.org/Newsandpublications/Publications/Publications/StudentFtPApril10web_260310[1 ].pdf

Behaviours

Continuing Personal Development: Proactive in their own development, willing to commit to lifelong learning by use of a Personal Development Plan (PDP), personal reflection and continuous improvement.

Ethical/Legal Awareness: Recognise and act within GDC standards, ethical guidance, information governance and relevant laws.

Collaboration: Willing to give and receive feedback effectively and tactfully within the wider dental team; takes responsibility for establishing personal networks with dental professionals, specialists and other relevant individuals and organisations.

Responsibility & Integrity: Ready to take responsibility for integrity of completed work.

Entry Requirements

Individual employers will set the selection criteria for their apprentices. Most candidates will have A levels or existing relevant Level 3 qualifications. Other relevant or prior experience may also be considered as an alternative. Employers who recruit candidates without English and Maths GCSE at Grade C or above (or approved equivalent) must ensure that the candidate achieves this standard prior to the completion of the apprenticeship. 

Duration

36 months.

Professional Qualifications / Recognition

Level 5 Foundation Degree Science in Dental Technology

On completion of the apprenticeship the apprentice can apply to register with the General Dental Council as a Dental Technician, by virtue of an acceptable qualification accredited by the GDC.

Note: To meet the requirements for registration the competencies and associated curriculum will be used in conjunction with the learning outcomes detailed in the GDC document ‘Preparing for Practice.’(http://www.gdcuk.org/newsandpublications/publications/publications/gdc learning outcomes.pdf)

The education and training providers must be compliant with the GDC Standards, Student fitness to practice and requirements for providers of education and training programmes. 

Originally published on Gov.uk, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

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