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NOC Code: NOC Code: 3223 Occupation: Dental technologists, technicians and laboratory assistants
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Dental technologists and technicians design, prepare and fabricate dentures and dental devices as prescribed by dentists and other specialists. Dental laboratory assistants assist dental technologists and technicians in preparing and fabricating dentures and other dental devices. They are employed in dental laboratories. Dental technologists and technicians who are supervisors are included in this unit group. Dental technologists and technicians design, prepare and fabricate dentures and dental devices as prescribed by dentists and other specialists. Dental laboratory assistants assist dental technologists and technicians in preparing and fabricating dentures and other dental devices. They are employed in dental laboratories. Dental technologists and technicians who are supervisors are included in this unit group.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
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Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Reading 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Digital Technology Digital Technology 1 2
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2 3
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading
  • Read notes and memos from co-workers. For example, read co-workers' memos about changes to dental appliances requested by dentists or denturists. (1)
  • Read memos to obtain information regarding company policies and human resources issues. (2)
  • Read manufacturers' pamphlets, which may be over 10 pages in length, introducing new products and techniques. (2)
  • Read text entries in forms. For example, read doctors' comments in prescription forms to learn about patients' specific needs and the modifications required for their dental appliances. (2)
  • Read about new products, services and fabrication techniques in catalogues and promotional brochures. For example, read Zahn Dental catalogues to learn about new porcelain accessories, gypsums and investment and impression materials. (2)
  • Read newsletters from provincial and national associations. For example, dental technicians may read newsletters from dental technicians' associations to learn about professional development opportunities such as conferences. (2)
  • Read dental magazines to stay abreast of new developments in the field. (3)
  • Read prescriptions or work orders from dentists to review specifications for the work to be done, such as the type of bridge and special fitting instructions. This text is cross-referenced to any supporting diagrams or documents. (3)
  • Read articles in academic and professional journals. For example, dental technologists and technicians read articles in publications such as Oral Health Journal and The Canadian Journal of Dental Technologists to learn about recent research, new design and fabrication processes and new products. (3)
  • Read product and equipment manuals. For example, read instruction manuals for veneering kits in order to learn the procedures for checking occlusions prior to veneering, completing crowns and shaping, layering and finishing veneers. (3)
  • Read textbooks to learn the theory and practice of designing and fabricating dental appliances. For example, read textbooks such as the Textbook of Orthodontics to identify complex treatments and learn about design options for unfamiliar appliances. (3)
  • Refer to lengthy manuals, such as the Manual of Dental Technology, to verify the steps in making orthodontic appliances or to access information needed in solving design problems. (4)
  • Refer to college textbooks to review infrequently-used procedures. (4)
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Writing
  • Write short notes to dentists to advise them of any changes made to the original specifications of an appliance which may affect its fitting. (1)
  • Inscribe clients' names and the date casts were made on orthodontic appliances. (1)
  • Write short reminders and notes to co-workers. For example, write reminder notes on appointment schedules about patients' peculiarities and pressing deadlines. (1)
  • Write lists of materials to be restocked. (1)
  • Write text entries in forms. For example, dental technologists may write entries in prescription forms to inform doctors why bridges were not fabricated to specifications. (2)
  • Write procedures and notes on fabrication processes. For example, write step-by-step procedures for fabricating dental appliances in personal notebooks. (2)
  • Write prescriptions of a paragraph or more in length to detail work requirements for the casting lab. (2)
  • Write memos and letters. For example, write letters to new dentists in the area to outline your experience in fabricating nances, spacers and retainers. Write letters to professional orthodontic associations to request further information about fabrication techniques discussed in recent publications. (2)
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Document Use
  • Read labels on containers of gold and chemicals. These give weights, density and directions on how to use the material and precautions. (1)
  • Locate data on labels. For example, scan the labels on products such as fillers and adhesives to obtain instructions for use, allergy and hazardous material warnings and proper handling and storage procedures. (1)
  • Enter data into forms. For example, enter addresses, item numbers and product names into shipping receiving and supply order forms. (1)
  • Enter codes on prescriptions or work orders to document the prices of various procedures. (1)
  • Enter data into logbooks. For example, fill in the columns of personal logbooks with dates, comments, measurements and other fabrication data. (2)
  • Enter information on tooth identification drawings. These are presented in tabular form with two rows referring to each jaw and cells in columns referring to individual teeth. (2)
  • Interpret sketches, pictures and diagrams. For example, interpret hand-drawn sketches of patients' jaws and teeth to determine the types and dimensions of prescribed dental appliances. Study diagrams of dental appliances to determine how to place crowns and dummies and bend wires to fabricate custom appliances. (2)
  • Locate data in forms. For example, scan intake forms to determine patients' medical histories, allergies and past dental work. (2)
  • Study assembly drawings in manuals and textbooks. For example, dental laboratory bench workers may study assembly drawings of partial bridges so that they can fabricate custom clasps. (3)
  • Read forms relating to prescriptions or work orders, which may contain check boxes, technical words and phrases, dates, code numbers of teeth, diagrams and hand-drawn sketches, to prepare orders according to their specifications. (3)
  • Interpret various charts and tables related to the making of crowns, such as those presenting information on colour, porcelain firing/burnout cycles and measurement conversion. (3)
  • Dental technologists and technicians may interpret data in radiographs of patients' jaws and dental structures. For example, orthodontic technicians working in ambulatory healthcare may interpret radiographs to help doctors determine which appliances and designs may succeed in supporting patients' teeth. (3)
  • Read Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to safely use products, especially when they are unfamiliar. (3)
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Digital Technology
  • Use Internet search engines to locate information on new products, materials, and dental appliance fabrication processes. (1)
  • Use computer-controlled machinery. For example, enter codes to program the temperature of a computer-controlled furnace for firing materials. (1)
  • Locate data on patients and fabrication jobs in dental laboratory databases. (2)
  • Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining software. For example, program firing temperatures, baking times and cool-down functions for furnaces. (2)
  • Use basic functions of word processing software to write case files for completed fabrication jobs. (2)
  • Enter appointment times and costs for materials in spreadsheets. (2)
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Oral Communication
  • Consult with managers to clarify the requirements of a particular prescription. (1)
  • Discuss ongoing work with co-workers. For example, supervisors in dental laboratories assign job tasks and discuss fabrication jobs with technicians, technologists and laboratory assistants. (1)
  • Discuss the fabrication of dental appliances with dentists and denturists. For example, dental technologists may discuss precise modifications to dental appliances with denturists. (2)
  • Discuss treatment options with patients. For example, orthodontic technicians in ambulatory healthcare facilities may discuss modifications and repairs to appliances with patients. Dental technologists may discuss alternate methods of restoring patients' teeth enamel using new materials. (2)
  • Discuss products, prices and delivery times with suppliers of dental products. For example, ask suppliers to outline the benefits of using new porcelain veneering products versus those currently used in laboratories. (2)
  • Speak with dentists to clarify special instructions noted on prescriptions or work orders. (2)
  • Interact with new dental laboratory bench workers to provide training, assign tasks and supervise them. (2)
  • Give presentations at conferences. For example, dental technologists may present information on innovative techniques for fabricating orthodontic appliances to groups of professionals at dental association conferences. (3)
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Money Math
  • Make change for cash payments for dental laboratory services. (1)
  • Calculate prices by totalling figures from price lists to provide dentists with price quotations. (1)
  • Verify that suppliers' financial credits for unused teeth are correct. (2)
  • Calculate amounts for quotes and invoices. For example, dental technicians and technologists calculate amounts for fabricating dental appliances. Calculate charges for fabrication operations using hourly rates, add amounts for materials and calculate sales taxes. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Monitor the flow of incoming orders and outgoing work to ensure that co-workers are meeting quotas. (1)
  • Monitor laboratory budgets. For example, dental technologists and technicians may monitor budgets to ensure that payments to suppliers have been made and that funds budgeted for supplies are effectively used. (2)
  • Determine whether a customer's deadline request may be accommodated, considering such scheduling factors as the time required to produce each component. (2)
  • Propose timelines and set laboratory schedules for fabrication jobs. For example, propose the number of hours and days required to fabricate prescribed dental appliances. Ensure that most urgent cases are completed first. Schedule fabrication tasks so that patients' wait times are minimized. (2)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Measure physical properties using common measuring tools. For example, use rulers to measure heights of collusial rims. Use graduated cylinders to measure the amounts of liquids and powders required to mix mould compounds and build cases. (1)
  • Measure materials for mixing, such as liquid and powder polymers, using a graduated scale in millilitres and a scale in grams. (1)
  • Calculate the weight of metal required for a client's tooth by using a formula to convert the weight of the wax model to the weight of the specific metal to be used. Different formulae are used for different metals. (2)
  • Measure the dimensions of bridges using various callipers to prepare them according to the specifications. (2)
  • Take measurements using specialized measuring equipment. For example, use jaw articulators to measure jaw angles and the lengths of teeth. (2)
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Data Analysis
  • Compare measurements to specifications and standards. For example, dental technicians may compare clearances of porcelain fused to metal to determine if they meet manufacturers' specifications. (2)
  • Analyze invoices and other records to determine fabrication trends and to help forecast supply purchasing needs. For example, supervisors of dental technologists, technicians and laboratory assistants gather and analyze data on lab operations to identify the frequencies of particular fabrication jobs. (2)
  • Manage inventories of supplies and fabrication tools. For example, count items in inventories, keep track of items consumed and reorder supplies when necessary. Dental technologists and technicians analyze the frequency of product use to adjust minimum inventory quantities. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the amount of porcelain needed to complete a construction, based on experience. (1)
  • Estimate the amount of time required to deliver orders to facilitate dentists' appointment scheduling. Accuracy is important because delays impact the schedules of both dentists and their patients. (1)
  • Estimate times for fabrication operations. For example, dental technologists estimate numbers of hours to complete laboratory procedures so that they can give patients approximate turnaround times. These estimates are important to ensure that work processes are completed within expected timelines and patients' wait times are minimized. (2)
  • Estimate amounts of fabrication materials. For example, estimate the lengths of wires required to mould and fabricate prescribed appliances. Estimate the millimetres of acrylic to be ground off orthodontic appliances in order to achieve proper fit and maximize patients' comfort. (2)
  • Estimate the angle of tilt at which each tooth is to be set into dentures. (3)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Dental laboratory bench workers receive case assignments, each with a deadline. They have great flexibility in planning and organizing their job tasks to achieve the deadlines. This involves carefully sequencing and timing the multiple steps for each case, such as setting and firing, to maximize efficiency. They are often faced with rush orders and disruptions which require them to reprioritize their work plans to maintain customer satisfaction. (3)
  • Dental technologists, technicians and laboratory assistants plan and organize job tasks to meet dentists' and denturists' fabrication deadlines. There can be significant variety in their daily tasks as all fabrication jobs are unique. They frequently work on several appliances and cases simultaneously. Their job task plans may be disrupted by fabrication difficulties and urgent requests to repair appliances which have been damaged. They must ensure that urgent cases are given due priority, and that tasks are carried out to maximize efficiency. Supervisors in this unit group plan and organize the work of technologists, technicians and laboratory assistants. (3)
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Decision Making
  • Decide whether teeth match the shade guides. The supervisor may be consulted if there is doubt. (1)
  • Choose products, equipment and suppliers. For example, dental technologists and technicians may choose fabrication products. (1)
  • Decide whether to contact a dentist directly or speak with the supervisor for further information, considering such factors as familiarity with the dentist's preferences and the quality of the impressions. (1)
  • Choose methods and tools for fabrication jobs. For example, select wires, stone powders and stains to fabricate natural, comfortable and effective dental appliances. (2)
  • Decide among various design choices for dental devices, such as the type of mould to use and the size and angle of the teeth. These decisions are based on many factors such as the type of bite and the location of bone. (3)
  • Decide to modify, repair and replace dental appliances which have been fabricated incorrectly. Determine if appliances would be safe and effective after repairs. Choose to replace dental appliances if it is felt that repairs may compromise the fit and function of the appliances. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • When soldering joints, it is found that the solder won't flow. Clean up the solder and redo the work, perhaps several times, until the solder flows properly. (1)
  • Discover that prescriptions and fabrication instructions are unclear. Contact dentists and denturists to clarify specifications and other details of fabrication jobs. Record the new information on prescription and order forms and then continue to fabricate appliances. (1)
  • A defective appliance has been returned by a client. Dismantle the appliance, salvage what is possible and determine how to rebuild it. (2)
  • Discover that impressions taken by dental assistants are of low quality and hinder the creation of effective, representative moulds. Contact dentists and denturists to explain the imperfections in the original impressions and request that new impressions be taken. (2)
  • There are equipment malfunctions, such as improperly placed rubber seals in pressure pots. Identify the nature and scope of the equipment problem and determine whether work needs to be redone. (2)
  • Fabrication and production work cannot be completed because the products and materials used are defective. For example, dental technologists may find the pins used in bridge mountings are of poor quality and are bending during normal use. They contact suppliers to describe the deficiencies and explain their dissatisfaction with the products. They seek replacement supplies for the defective products. (2)
  • A client has returned dentures because lines developed in the finish. Go back through the process to identify the cause of the problem and resolve it appropriately while maintaining good client relations. (3)
  • The modified dentures do not fit comfortably in a client's mouth. Analyze each stage of fabrication to identify the cause of the problem, checking factors such as whether the dentist's original impression was distorted or the die was altered. Then determine the best approach to ensuring a good fit, possibly asking others for advice. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Read prescriptions to find information about the requirements for each case. (1)
  • Speak with co-workers and supervisors for information on procedures and techniques. (2)
  • Find information about fabrication methods and materials. For example, dental technologists read textbooks to find information on moulding and casting techniques. They read articles in trade magazines and professional journals. They scan personal notebooks for data such as firing times. They ask co-workers for advice when fabricating difficult custom orders. (2)
  • Read product literature or may view videotapes to research new techniques. (2)
  • Refer to industry manuals, such as the Manual of Dental Technology, for technical information on building appliances. Interpretation requires the use of specialized knowledge. (2)
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Critical Thinking
  • Judge the aesthetic quality and appeal of the appliances that are being fabricated. For example, dental technologists and technicians in ambulatory healthcare judge the aesthetic appeal of dental appliances. They inspect the shading, colour, shape and naturalness of the appliances. (3)
  • Evaluate the quality of completed dental appliances. To assess the quality, review the cleanliness and durability of the products. Ask patients' opinions of comfort and fit. Inspect the appliances' surfaces, edges, and the contact points of the bite. (3)
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