Is the future bright for dental technicians?

Last week, we asked the dental profession whether they believe the future is bright for dental technicians – here’s what was said…

Dentistry’s Big Questions is a brand new feature exploring the hot topics of the profession.

Last week’s question was: Is the future bright for dental technicians?

Based on our poll, 63% of respondents said no, 23% were unsure, and only 14% think the future is bright.

Hear what the dental profession said below…

Scroll to the bottom for next week’s Big Question.

Mark Ambridge, clinical dental technician and founder of Ambridge Ceramics

Well, I for one believe it’s a yes! Why? People are living longer and keeping their teeth longer. Teeth are not ‘designed’ to last as long as people are now living. Therefore there will be a need for skilled people to make teet ! (Okay, it’s a broad sweeping statement).

Crowns, bridges, veneers, implant retained work and, of course, dentures – all these will be required tenfold in my opinion.

So yes, the future is bright. As dental technicians and clinical dental technicians we will and now do have new technologies at our fingertips to help with this exploding market.

Rick Esgate, digital and lab specialist

The numbers look pretty healthy, really, when you look at General Dental Council (GDC) registration. There are just over eight dentists for every technician registered, but don’t forget this only counts ‘registered’ technicians. T

here are loads more ‘lab assistants’ or ‘process workers’ so this could easily come down to six or even four dentists to every person carrying out lab work.

Donna Cole, technical manager and clinical dental technician

The future is so, so bright for dental technicians. My belief is train and invest in the people.

Thinking back to how I trained, fortunately I was given the time and investment from each lab I have worked in, right from the 18 year old on the YTS scheme. It is hard to work and train the lovely new people I have had the privilege of meeting and working with in my various rolls.

I also believe if you are passionate about what you do, it brings the best out in the team. There is always something in an employee – you can see their niche and guide them to achieve. All that said, it does take hard work from all parties and encouragement from those who we are teaching and guiding.

I have always loved this profession. Teeth are great!

What I do believe lets our profession down is the colleges and universities that give unrealistic expectations for the students. I’m all for apprenticeships!

Mark Maley, director of A-Line Dental Services

There are a number of considerations.

Firstly, the ageing issue. A recent article proposed a significant proportion of technicians were approaching retirement age within the medium term. I agree. That in itself asks the question who or what does the work.

Secondly, the training and development of new technicians. It is an expensive course to run, but if we want dental technology to thrive, we need more. We need to replace those of us shuffling off this dental coil.

Third, humans have not evolved significantly during my 40 years of dental technology. They still have teeth, or want some new ones. That is still a lot of work to do.

Finally, I have seen the quality of the prostheses created. There are a lot of very talented technicians.

Without the inputs, dental technology is in a precarious position. To those younger technicians with the skill sets I have seen, fill your boots – you will thrive.

It is going to get interesting.

Hans-Joachim Burkhardt

Fifty years ago, my boss said there is no future for dental technicians and I should be happy that he had offered me a job. Changed the job and had enough work for 24/7.

Forty years ago, I got my MDT and founded my own lab. People said there is no future for self-employed people.

Thirty years ago they said the business will go down because of regulation and insurance issues.

Twenty years ago they said we all would be unnecessary due to modern technology and automatism.

Ten years ago they said if we don’t buy a milling machine, we could not exist much longer.

Now I am 53 years in the business and my ‘big future’ is behind me. But I’m still working, meanwhile for pleasure only.

The future is what you make of it!

What are your thoughts? Email [email protected]

The next Big Question is: Has direct access proved effective?

What do you think? Let’s get a discussion going – email your thoughts to [email protected] to feature in our follow-up article in which we will share the views from across the profession.

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