Dental techs in high demand


“Rapidly expanding career opportunities for community-college graduates are opening up in the field of dental technicians, as a result of new, state-of-the-art, lab equipment,” said dentist E. Preston Kaenel, D.D.S.

That new, computerized equipment is the advanced CEREC lab system. It makes one-visit appointments possible for common dental procedures, like crowns and fillings.

The $130,000 CEREC process allows a dentist to treat patients in just one visit.

The result is that more dental technicians, who are often community-college graduates, are needed to operate that equipment.

To make a crown (which normally takes at least two visits to your dentist) using CEREC, the dentist first uses a tiny camera to make a digital image of the tooth in the patient’s mouth, according to Kaenel.

That digital image is then fed into a computer which does the modeling that will eventually become the new restoration or crown.

“As much as two-thirds of a tooth can be restored” with this new, high-tech equipment, says the young dentist.

The digitalized image of the modeled tooth then goes to a mill where the new crown is ground from tiny, polychromatic blocks.

“Some dentists don’t want to do this lab work,” Dr. Kaenel says; “and that means more jobs for trained dental technicians.”

Where some extreme dental problems are involved, and only the facilities of a large commercial lab can do the work, Dr. Kaenel says the equipment also allows him to quickly send a digitalized image of a tooth to the lab, speeding up the process for the patient.