Skills Dental Laboratory Assistant near Grand Falls-Windsor (NL)

Find out what skills you typically need to work as a dental laboratory assistant in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Dental technologists, technicians and laboratory assistants (NOC 3223).

Expertise

People working in this occupation usually apply the following skill set.

  • Prepare plaster models and moulds
  • Cast gold or metal alloys for bridges and denture bases
  • Mould wax over dentures set-up
  • Finish metal framework of dentures
  • Prepare wax bite-blocks and impression trays
  • Pack plastic material in moulds to form full or partial dentures
  • Make orthodontic bands from metal and alloys
  • Polish and buff dentures
  • Design, fabricate or repair dental devices

Skills and knowledge

The following skills and knowledge are usually required in this occupation.

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation.

ReadingDental Technologists, Technicians and Laboratory Bench Workers
  • Read notes and memos from co-workers. For example, they may read co-workers' memos about changes to dental appliances requested by dentists or denturists. (1)
  • Read about new products, services and fabrication techniques in catalogues and promotional brochures. For example, they may read Zahn Dental catalogues to learn about new porcelain accessories, gypsums and investment and impression materials. (2)
  • Read text entries in forms. For example, they read doctors' comments in prescription forms to learn about patients' specific needs and the modifications required for their dental appliances. (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 product and equipment manuals. For example, they may 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)
Dental Technologists and Technicians
  • May 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 textbooks to learn the theory and practice of designing and fabricating dental appliances. For example, they may read textbooks such as the Textbook of Orthodontics to identify complex treatments and learn about design options for unfamiliar appliances. (3)
Document useDental Technologists, Technicians and Laboratory Bench Workers
  • Locate data on labels. For example, they may 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, they may enter addresses, item numbers and product names into shipping receiving and supply order forms. (1)
  • May enter data into logbooks. For example, they may fill in the columns of personal logbooks with dates, comments, measurements and other fabrication data. (2)
  • Locate data in forms. For example, they may scan intake forms to determine patients' medical histories, allergies and past dental work. (2)
  • Interpret sketches, pictures and diagrams. For example, they may interpret hand-drawn sketches of patients' jaws and teeth to determine the types and dimensions of prescribed dental appliances. They may study diagrams of dental appliances to determine how to place crowns and dummies and bend wires to fabricate custom appliances. (2)
  • May 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)
Dental Technologists and Technicians
  • Dental technologists and technicians may interpret data in radiographs of patients' jaws and dental structures. For example, orthodontic technicians working in ambulatory health care may interpret radiographs to help doctors determine which appliances and designs may succeed in supporting patients' teeth. (3)
WritingDental Technologists, Technicians and Laboratory Bench Workers
  • Write short reminders and notes to co-workers. For example, they may write notes on appointment schedules to remind themselves of patients' peculiarities and pressing deadlines. (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)
  • May write procedures and notes on fabrication processes. For example, they may write step-by-step procedures for fabricating dental appliances in personal notebooks. (2)
Dental Technologists and Technicians
  • May write memos and letters. For example, they may write letters to new dentists in their areas to outline their experience in fabricating nances, spacers and retainers. They may write letters to professional orthodontic associations to request further information about fabrication techniques discussed in recent publications. (2)
Numeracy

Money Math

Dental Technologists, Technicians and Laboratory Bench Workers
  • May make change for cash payments for dental laboratory services. (1)
Dental Technologists and Technicians
  • May calculate amounts for quotes and invoices. For example, they calculate amounts for fabricating dental appliances. They calculate charges for fabrication operations using hourly rates, add amounts for materials and calculate sales taxes. (3)

Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math

Dental Technologists, Technicians and Laboratory Bench Workers
  • Propose timelines and set laboratory schedules for fabrication jobs. For example, they propose the number of hours and days required to fabricate prescribed dental appliances. They ensure that most urgent cases are completed first. They schedule fabrication tasks so that patients' wait times are minimized. (2)
Dental Technologists and Technicians
  • 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)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Measure physical properties using common measuring tools. For example, they use rulers to measure heights of collusial rims. They use graduated cylinders to measure the amounts of liquids and powders required to mix mould compounds and build cases. (1)
  • Take measurements using specialized measuring equipment. For example, they may use jaw articulators to measure jaw angles and the lengths of teeth. (2)

Data Analysis Math

Dental Technologists, Technicians and Laboratory Bench Workers
  • 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)
Dental Technologists and Technicians
  • May 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 bench workers 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, they count items in inventories, keep track of items consumed and reorder supplies when necessary. They may also analyze the frequency of product use to adjust minimum inventory quantities. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • 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, they estimate the lengths of wires required to mould and fabricate prescribed appliances. They may estimate the millimetres of acrylic to be ground off orthodontic appliances in order to achieve proper fit and maximize patients' comfort. (2)
Oral communicationDental Technologists, Technicians and Laboratory Bench Workers
  • Discuss ongoing work with co-workers. For example, supervisors in dental laboratories assign job tasks and discuss fabrication jobs with technicians, technologists and bench workers. (1)
  • Discuss products, prices and delivery times with suppliers of dental products. For example, they may ask suppliers to outline the benefits of using new porcelain veneering products versus those currently used in laboratories. (2)
  • Discuss treatment options with patients. For example, orthodontic technicians in ambulatory health care 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)
Dental Technologists and Technicians
  • Discuss the fabrication of dental appliances with dentists and denturists. For example, dental technologists may discuss precise modifications to dental appliances with denturists. (2)
  • May 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)
ThinkingProblem Solving
  • Discover that prescriptions and fabrication instructions are unclear. They contact dentists and denturists to clarify specifications and other details of fabrication jobs. They record the new information on prescription and order forms and then continue to fabricate appliances. (1)
  • Cannot complete fabrication and production work because the products and materials they use 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)
  • Discover that impressions taken by dental assistants are of low quality and hinder the creation of effective, representative moulds. They contact dentists and denturists to explain the imperfections in the original impressions and request that new impressions be taken. (2)

Decision Making

Dental Technologists, Technicians and Laboratory Bench Workers
  • Choose methods and tools for fabrication jobs. For example, they select wires, stone powders and stains to fabricate natural, comfortable and effective dental appliances. (2)
  • Decide to modify, repair and replace dental appliances which have been fabricated incorrectly. They determine if appliances would be safe and effective after repairs. They may choose to replace dental appliances if they feel that repairs may compromise the fit and function of the appliances. (3)
Dental Technologists and Technicians
  • Choose products, equipment and suppliers. For example, dental technologists may choose fabrication products. (1)
Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the quality of completed dental appliances. To assess the quality, they review the cleanliness and durability of the products. They ask patients' opinions of comfort and fit. They inspect the appliances' surfaces, edges, and the contact points of the bite. (3)
  • Judge the aesthetic quality and appeal of the appliances they fabricate. For example, dental technologists and technicians in ambulatory health care judge the aesthetic appeal of dental appliances. They inspect the shading, colour, shape and naturalness of the appliances. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own Job Planning and Organizing

Dental technologists, technicians and laboratory bench workers 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. (3)

Planning and Organizing for Others

Supervisors in this unit group plan and organize the work of technologists, technicians and bench workers. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • remember manufacturers' specifications for commonly used materials. For example, they memorize application specifications for bleaches and stains.
  • memorize details of work orders and the materials and procedures for fabrication jobs. For example, they memorize the firing times and temperatures for moulds and the thicknesses of wire required for fabricating specific orthodontic appliances.
Finding Information
  • 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)
Digital technologyDental Technologists, Technicians and Laboratory Bench Workers
  • Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining software. For example, they may program firing temperatures, baking times and cool-down functions for furnaces. (2)
Dental Technologists and Technicians
  • use the Internet. For example, they may use Internet search engines to locate information on new products, materials, and dental appliance fabrication processes. (1)
  • use word processing. For example, they may use basic functions of word processing software to write case files for completed fabrication jobs. (2)
  • use databases. For example, they may locate data on patients and fabrication jobs in dental laboratory databases. (2)
  • use spreadsheets. For example, they may enter appointment times and costs for materials in spreadsheets. (2)
Additional informationOther Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Dental technologists, technicians and laboratory bench workers work independently and may complete all phases of fabrication from original impressions to finished dental appliances. (3)

Continuous Learning

Dental technologists, technicians and laboratory bench workers set their own learning goals and take advantage of a variety of continuing education opportunities. To stay abreast of new products, trends and fabrication techniques they read trade publications and professional journals and attend conferences. They share information and knowledge with co-workers and colleagues. (2)

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