Dental Technologists, Technicians, and Laboratory Bench Workers

Occupation:Dental Technologists, Technicians and Laboratory Assistants

About the job

Nature of work:

Dental technologists and technicians design, prepare, and fabricate dentures and dental devices as prescribed by dentists and other specialists including full or partial dentures, crowns, bridges, inlays, onlays, clasps and bands, and implants. 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 group.

Job duties:
Dental technologists, technicians and laboratory assistants perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Design, fabricate or repair dental devices including full or partial dentures, orthodontic appliances, crowns, bridges, inlays, onlays, clasps and bands, and implants.
  • Prepare plaster models and moulds from dental impressions.
  • Prepare wax bite-blocks and impression trays.
  • Cast gold or metal alloys for bridges and denture bases.
  • Pack plastic material in moulds to form full or partial dentures.
  • Mould wax over denture set-up to form full contours of artificial gums.
  • Make orthodontic bands from gold, silver, stainless steel or other metals.
  • Finish metal framework of dentures and polish and buff dentures to obtain natural finish.
  • May consult with dentists or other specialists on problematic dental cases.
  • May train and supervise other dental technicians and dental laboratory assistants in fabricating dentures and other dental devices.
  • May perform administrative functions for the dental laboratory.
Sample job titles:
  • dental laboratory assistant
  • dental laboratory bench worker
  • dental laboratory technician
  • dental technician
  • dental technician apprentice
  • dental technologist
  • orthodontic dental technician
  • registered dental technician
  • registered dental technologist

To work in this field, you should have good interpersonal skills and a desire to help others. Patience and the ability to handle stressful situations may be needed. You must be efficient and accurate, yet sensitive to the needs of patients. Hand-eye coordination and an aptitude for detailed and precise work are necessary. Artistic ability may also be helpful.

Job requirements:
  • Dental technologists and technicians are required to complete a college program in dental technology or four or more years of on-the-job training under the supervision of a registered dental technologist or technician.
  • To practice in the province of Nova Scotia you must be a member of the Nova Scotia Dental Technicians Association.
  • Dental laboratory assistants usually require secondary school and up to two years of on-the-job training.
Other considerations:

Dental laboratory assistants may progress to dental technologist and technician positions with training, experience and registration.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Undetermined

This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia, with employment around 125. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Dental Technologists, Technicians and Laboratory Assistants most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions. Also, a large percentage of the workforce is self-employed which should be an important consideration for those thinking about employment in the occupation.

The median employment income for 83% of Dental Technologists, Technicians and Laboratory Assistants who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $50,555. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Dental Technologists, Technicians, and Laboratory Bench Workers130xxx
Minimum:  N/A
Median:  N/A
Maximum:  N/A
Minimum:  N/A
Median: $48,349
Maximum:  N/A
Occupations in Health36,515Strong growth4,385Low
Minimum: $16.38
Median: $25.50
Maximum: $41.00
Minimum: $10,740
Median: $43,853
Maximum: $88,944
Dental Technologists, Technicians, and Laboratory Bench WorkersCompared to: Occupations in Health
Percent employed full-time100%77%
Percent self-employed59%10%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentDental Technologists, Technicians, and Laboratory Bench WorkersCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Bretonxx13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley7%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeDental Technologists, Technicians, and Laboratory Bench WorkersCompared to: All Health
% Employed% Employed
Median Age4944
GenderDental Technologists, Technicians, and Laboratory Bench WorkersCompared to: Occupations in Health
% Employed% Employed
EducationDental Technologists, Technicians, and Laboratory Bench WorkersCompared to: All Health
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolN/Ax1.1%$27,581
High school7.7%x6.9%$24,119
Trades certificate15.4%x5.0%$31,728
College certificate or diploma61.5%$57,99539.4%$36,693
University certificate or diploma7.7%$53,3674.8%$50,769
Bachelor's degree7.7%$54,89927.6%$57,186
University advanced certificate or diplomaN/A$48,1882.3%$61,833
Master's degreeN/Ax5.1%$87,808
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax7.2%$83,000
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Dental Technicians or Technologists
Right to Title:This job is regulated in Nova Scotia. The job title is protected (you may not use this job title without a professional designation). Professional designation shows that the holder has met provincial requirements for the job. Employers may require professional designation, however, you do not need professional designation to legally work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Dental Technicians Association
26 Keating Drive
Chezzetcook, NS B0J 1N0
(902) 440-7131
Useful contacts:
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
380 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
Tel: (902) 461-0871
Fax: (902) 461-9572

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Dental laboratory technology/technician
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals, under the supervision of dentists, to design and construct dental prostheses such as caps, crowns, bridges, dentures, splints, and orthodontic appliances. These programs include courses in dental anatomy, dental materials, ceramics technology, impressions, complete dentures, partial dentures, orthodontics, crowns and bridges, sculpture, bonding and assembly techniques, and equipment operation.
There are no schools in Nova Scotia offering this program.
Additional resources: