Q&A: How to Become a Dental Technician

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Q:  I want to become a dentist so somebody told me that I should become a dental technician first. how should I go about doing this?
-Tysean

A: Tysean, becoming a Dental Technician, or Dental Laboratory Technician, as they are more commonly called, is not the only way to become a Dentist, but it is certainly a good start if you want to be able to earn money working as you complete the requirements necessary to become a Dentist. Keep in mind, however, that a Dental Lab Tech is not a “Junior Dentist.” In fact, while Dental Lab Techs works closely with Dentists, they have limited contact with patients. According to the United States Department of Labor, Dental Laboratory Technicians “use impressions, or molds, of a patient’s teeth to create crowns, bridges, dentures, and other dental appliances.”

To become a Dental Lab Tech, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Post-secondary education is not necessarily required, as most of your education will come via on-the-job training, but some Dental Lab Techs complete formal training programs through community and technical colleges. These generally last about two years although the Georgia Career Information System suggests that it takes 3 to 4 years to become an accomplished Technician. The knowledge required may also be obtained in the military. Dental Lab Techs may go on to become Dentists, to teach or take on roles with dental suppliers in product development, marketing, or sales. Entrepreneurship is also an option.

To become a Dentist, it is necessary to attend dental school. In order to begin a program in dentistry, you will be required to take no less than two-years of college courses. Most entrants to dental school have bachelor’s degrees, which is, in many cases, preferred. Majors to begin with include: biology, pre-dentistry, life-science, etc. Dental college takes approximately four years to complete. For more specific academic requirements, I recommend researching the admission requirements of dental schools in your area.

That should give you more information to chew on. 😉

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