Frequently Asked Questions
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A dental laboratory produces dental restorations on the order of a dentist. Dental laboratories create dentures, partials, crowns, bridges, orthodontic appliances, or other dental restorations such as implant crowns.
A dentist sends a specification (or prescription) of the dental restoration to be produced, along with an impression (mold)or digital scan of the patient’s teeth to the dental laboratory to be custom made by a dental laboratory technician.
In essence – Dental laboratory technology is the art and science of manufacturing corrective devices and replacements for natural teeth.
Dental laboratory technicians are the individuals who create custom made dental restorations for dentists. They can specialize in several areas: orthodontic appliances, crowns and bridges, complete dentures, partial dentures, ceramics or implants.
Each restoration the technician makes will be different and each must simulate the function of the natural teeth. But, beyond that, the technician’s great challenge is to capture and recreate both the perfection and the imperfection of natural teeth.
The Certified Dental Technician (CDT) designation is a great achievement and demonstrates a significant mastery of the knowledge and applied skills needed in dental technology. This is the only voluntary certification program for dental laboratory technicians recognized by the American Dental Association and individuals achieving this designation have demonstrated a competency not all of their peers will achieve.
The CDT designation places the technician among the group of individuals who are at the top of the dental technology profession.
The extensive knowledge gained by the CDT during the required continuing education process assures the laboratory owner, dentist and the patient that this individual is a true student of the profession with a solid commitment to remain at the cutting edge of his or her field.
You can locate a Certified Dental Technician in your area by searching the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology’s (NBC) online Who’s Who Directory here. According to most state laws, laboratories can only accept prescriptions from a licensed dentist, but the patient may find a laboratory that employs Certified Dental Technicians in their area, and call to request the contact information for a dentist they work with.
The Certified Dental Laboratory (CDL) provides assurance that a laboratory has met specific standards relating to quality assurance, safety, and business and manufacturing practices. By earning and maintaining the CDL designation, a dental laboratory is always monitoring and attempting to improve the quality and efficiency of their services and facilities.
The CDL designation is recognized by the National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL), the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP). It also receives outstanding support and participation from US military services.
You can locate a Certified Dental Laboratory in your area by searching the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology’s (NBC) online Who’s Who Directory here. According to most state laws, laboratories can only accept prescriptions from a licensed dentist, but the patient may find a Certified Dental Laboratory in their area, and call to request the contact information for a dentist they work with.
In addition to being a Certified Dental Laboratory, some laboratories are DAMAS certified (Dental Appliance Manufacturers Audit System). To learn more about this program and how it protects patient safety.
You can also locate a DAMAS certified laboratory by clicking on the link here. According to most state laws, laboratories can only accept prescriptions from a licensed dentist, but the patient may find a DAMAS certified laboratory in their area, and call to request the contact information for a dentist they work with.