First impressions from a dental technician

First impressions from a dental technician

Emily Makinson shares her thoughts on the industry so far and what makes being a dental technician such a rewarding profession.

My name is Emily Makinson, I am 24 years old and working as a trainee dental technician in St Agnes, Cornwall. Originally from Lancashire, I. moved to Cornwall just over two years ago, still unsure of which career path I wanted to pursue.  

I had worked in laboratories both in previous jobs and at university, and it’s an environment I thoroughly enjoyed. I then came across dental technology which I had briefly heard of but never ventured into. 

Ever since I had braces when I was younger, I have had a fascination for orthodontics and teeth in general, making sure to wear my retainer every single night. However, years later I never thought I would be making those same Essix retainers for patients all around the UK.

Loving every second

It has been two years since I started this profession and I have loved every single second. I started my apprenticeship with Yeovil College in 2022 and I am now in my second year of five. The biggest struggle is driving to and from Yeovil all the way from Cornwall in one day, but I know that it’s worth it. I’m in my element as I learn new theory and techniques. 

At work, I started off in the model room casting models for crowns, bridges and prosthetics, while also helping fabricate wax rims, special trays and splints. 

After a year, I moved onto CAD/CAM and I was designing crowns/veneers/bridges/implants, printing 3D models and milling crown and bridge work. Up until recently, I have concentrated on prosthetics. This is an area that I thrive in, and I’m also getting comfortable with staining and glazing zirconia and emax crowns. 

Every day is different; I generally help in all departments which is always interesting with each case being unique. 

Rewarding and exciting

This profession is so fascinating, and I feel as though not many people are aware of it. There are so many varied areas to specialise in which makes it so fun as you get to work with a range of materials, software and machines. Also, seeing patients pleased with your work makes it so rewarding. 

The digital side is expanding and there is so much more to learn. Working in CAD/CAM has opened this door for me, and studying the digital dental technology course is only going to educate me further. This is so exciting for my future and the patients we work with. 

Communication is critical

Communication between dentist and technician is one area that should be improved on in this industry. Simple questions to the dentist over the phone or a detailed prescription is vital to make both the dentist and patient happy. It ensures the custom medical device is perfect for the patient first time round and prevents unnecessary additional appointments.   

As a student, I feel that my teachers are all so supportive and it’s clear they want you to excel. Every technician I have worked with has been so helpful and quick to educate you and ensure you learn to the best standard. Tutors and colleagues always make sure I ask ‘why?’ in everything I produce to make sure I fully understand the reasoning behind what I’m doing. This makes me love my job even more as I’m learning every day.

Digital future

The future of dental technology, in my eyes, is CAD/CAM. After visiting Brynes Dental Laboratory, I learned that acrylic dentures will be a thing of the past. I hope it doesn’t remove the art of manually fabricating dentures with the classic Bunsen burner, yet I do believe digital will be the way forward. Since I started in this profession, I have seen the number of impression cases decline and the digital cases increase. 

The number of courses that are accessible is amazing and they can all expand your knowledge and improve your skills. I also love that everyone in the industry encourages you to always progress.  

As I continue with my apprenticeship, I look forward to learning more about software and crown and bridge. After qualifying and registering, I would love to pursue a clinical dental technology course and widen my knowledge and communication with patients.  

This article first appeared in Laboratory. To subscribe, join Dentistry CPD Pro.

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