Dental Technology Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Dental Technology?

Dental technology is a branch of the dental sciences that includes dental technicians, lab scientists, and other specialists who work to recreate dental anatomy.

Dental technologists, or dental technicians, can help restore the function, health, and look of their patient’s mouths if the natural oral environment has been disrupted by disease, accidents, or other alterations. Dental technologists make and repair dental appliances, such as false teeth, crowns, bridges, implants, or braces that improve patients’ teeth, appearance, speech, or ability to chew.

The typical responsibilities of a Dental Technician include Filling orders for dental prosthetics or restorations, like dentures, bridges, veneers, inlays, and crowns, and creating individual models of patients’ mouths from both physical and digital molds.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Dental Technology courses in the following subject areas:

  • Dental Assistant (Dental Assisting) – A study of the skills required for dental assistance.
  • Health Promotion: Oral Health – The study of the specialist knowledge and skills on health promotion, the causes of oral ill-health, and oral health promotion.

Studying Dental Technology in college

Many Dental Technology courses take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification.

Work experience in a laboratory, dental practice, or hospital can show that you have developed important analytical and practical skills needed for the industry. Getting experience in the field can help you gain a place on a course or to get a trainee position. Working as a trainee dental technologist for a dental practice and studying part-time will allow you to combine a qualification and on-the-job experience.

Work Experience will not only allow you to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a course in Dental Technology you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of the production and repair of dental appliances and their uses.

As a dental technician, you will be responsible for helping to improve teeth and for replacing lost teeth. You’ll improve teeth for aesthetic reasons, and work to the prescription of a dentist to make bridges, crowns, dentures, braces, and other orthodontic devices.

You can choose to specialize in one of the following areas:

· Conservation – crown and bridgework that can be cemented into place, using materials such as porcelain, gold, and metal alloys

· Orthodontics – devices such as braces to straighten teeth, using metal or plastic

· Prosthodontics – dentures and implants made from chrome, acrylic, or plastic

· Maxillofacial – reconstruction of faces damaged by disease or an accident. You could work in hospital oral surgeries, burns units, and cancer units.

Most Dental Technologists are based in a dental laboratory, either at a dental practice or in a hospital.

Working hours are typically 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday, although this can vary depending on whether you are employed by a facility with set business hours or if you are contracted to various facilities or companies. In some instances, you may need to do some weekend work.

If you work for a hospital, you’ll usually be attached to the maxillofacial department, which works on reconstructing damaged faces due to accidents, burns, or diseases. You may also be involved in making other prostheses such as eyes, ears, and noses.

Working in a laboratory involves time spent working alone and as part of a team. You won’t generally have contact with patients themselves unless you’re working in a hospital, as you’ll work to the prescription of a dentist. In a hospital, you’ll have direct contact with dental and oral surgeons.

Related jobs include:

  • Dental hygienist
  • Dental technician
  • Dental therapist
  • Orthodontist
  • Dentist
  • Anatomical pathology technologist
  • Health improvement practitioner
  • Health service manager
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Medical sales representative
  • Teaching laboratory technician

Further study

After completing a course in Dental Technology you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as specialization in reconstruction sciences such as maxillofacial technology, conservation, orthodontics, and prosthodontics.

You could also move into a teaching role as an instructor dental technician once you’ve got additional teaching qualifications. You could also move into a related area, such as sales.


What skills could be helpful for a career in Dental Technology?

Dental technology is a science-based role that requires many analytical and practical skills such as manual dexterity, attention to detail, design skills and knowledge, the ability to analyze quality or performance, the ability to work well with others, thinking and reasoning skills, written and verbal communication skills and the ability to work well under the pressure of time constraints.

What is the difference between Dental Technology and Dentistry?

Dentists are responsible for caring for patients by preventing and treating problems affecting the mouth and teeth and Dental Technicians develop the actual equipment needed to support this.

Where can I study Dental Technology?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

· Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. 

· 25% of adults do not brush their teeth twice a day. Not brushing twice a day increases the risk of tooth decay by 33%.

· Tooth prints are like fingerprints as they are unique to each person.

· There are over 700 different types of bacteria in your mouth alone.

· Those who drink three or more cups of soda per day are 62% more likely to suffer from tooth decay, tooth loss, and filling than others.


Mariza Halliday

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Geography (Arts)


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