Dental Technician Kaihangarau Niho
Dental technicians create and repair devices for the treatment, replacement and protection of damaged, badly positioned or missing teeth.
Dental technicians need to be registered with the Dental Council of New Zealand, and hold an annual practising certificate.
- Dental Council of New Zealand website - information on registration
- Dental Council of New Zealand website - information on annual practising certificates
Dental technicians work from a mould of a client's mouth made by a dentist or a clinical dental technician, and custom-make a range of appliances for the mouth, including:
- crowns (covers for broken or damaged teeth)
- removable orthodontic appliances (plates with wires to straighten teeth)
- splints for broken or cracked jawbones
- anti-snoring devices
- teeth-whitening trays.
To specialise in an area of dental technology, such as clinical dental technology, you need to complete postgraduate study at the University of Otago.
Dental technicians need to have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses) and good hand-eye co-ordination.
Useful experience for dental technicians includes:
- work in the dental services industry, such as dental assisting
- any work requiring fine hand-eye co-ordination, such as making precision models or jewellery.
Dental technicians need to be:
- accurate, with an eye for detail
- good at planning and problem-solving
Dental technicians need to have knowledge of:
- the structure and functions of the teeth, jaw and mouth
- different dental equipment, methods and materials
- modelling, shaping and sculpting
- chemistry and general science.
Those running their own business also need small business skills.
- usually work regular business hours, but may be required to do some evening and weekend work
- work in dental laboratories.
To enter tertiary training you need to have NCEA Level 3. Useful subjects include chemistry, biology, physics, maths and health education.
Dental technicians may set up their own businesses, work in research and development with international dental companies, become sales representatives and technical advisers for international companies, or teach at the University of Otago Faculty of Dentistry.
Dental technicians may specialise in the role of:
- Clinical Dental Technician
- Clinical dental technicians make full dentures, partial dentures and other oral devices, and work directly with patients to provide these.
Years Of Training3 years of training required
To become a dental technician you need to complete a Bachelor of Dental Technology from the University of Otago.
You also need to be registered with the Dental Council of New Zealand, and hold an annual practising certificate.
The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.