Orthodontic technicians help design and create custom appliances used to straighten and align patients' teeth. Using molds and other images, the technician follows an orthodontist's instructions to shape and assemble appliances; these typically are in pre-designed sizes and shapes, but require intricate computer-aided milling, cutting and shaping to ensure a proper fit for each patient's mouth and needs. The technician must work carefully during this process and possess an excellent eye for detail and accuracy.
Often, an orthodontic technician works in a dedicated laboratory that handles work orders from orthodontists. However, larger dental practices may produce these appliances themselves; in this case, the technician may play a more direct role with patients, assisting in preparation for appliance installation, the actual installation and any follow-up adjustments. The technician may interact directly with patients, taking molds and performing imaging work to be used in the creation of braces, retainers and other orthodontic appliances.
While some employers perform on-the-job training, many individuals who work as orthodontic technicians receive technical school training or a community college degree in a field such as dental laboratory technology. Most technicians work during regular business hours, although hours may vary depending on their employers' needs.
Orthodontic Technician Tasks
Construct and repair appliances for straightening teeth.
Create and perform work according to orthodontic prescription.
Assemble metal and plastic orthodontic appliances.
Clean and finish dental parts with electric grinders and polishers.
Verify the conformance to prescription specs by using articulator.