Dental Technology (B.Dent.Tech)
The Bachelor in Dental Technology is a 3 year course which is taught mainly in the Dublin Dental School and Hospital. The main aim of this course is to educate and train students to become part of the dental team for the planning, designing and fabrication of intra-oral appliances.
Laboratory training in dental technology requires the application of a wide range of knowledge and experience in an integrated manner for the provision of appliances for patients. Modules describe fairly specific areas of learning and development of laboratory skills. The curriculum design uses both vertical and horizontal integration so that learning from one module may be prerequisite to a subsequent module in the same or a later year or be complemented by another in the same year, as well as being applicable across all areas of laboratory practice. On successful completion of the three-year Dental Technology undergraduate programme, graduates must be capable of independently providing a wide range of restorations, prostheses and appliances.
Dental technology is divided into four main areas, fixed prosthodontics, complete denture technology, removable denture technology and orthodontic technology. The aims of the first year are that students will develop basic techniques in each of these broad areas under close supervision. The students will develop skills in relation to handling and using materials to perform simple laboratory tasks and to fabricate prostheses and appliances. Students will be taught chemistry and physics through lectures and practical experiments this will provide a basis on which the aspects of material science relative to dentistry can be developed in second year.
During the second year students will build on the knowledge and skills acquired in first year. Students will work on more complex prostheses designs and appliances. Students are expected to master basic laboratory skills whilst working more independently from the supervisor. Material science is an integral part of second year, whilst this builds on physics and chemistry modules in first year it is more focused on aspects which are directly related to dental technology. A business studies module is included in the second year; this is intended to provide students with the skills and knowledge to set up, perform and understand aspects of business and self employment.
The aim of the third year is to provide the student with opportunities to undertake laboratory work intended for delivery to patients in each of the four main areas, fixed prosthodontics, complete and removable partial denture technology and orthodontic technology. Students will be expected to complete this work in a timely fashion, to a clinical standard and requiring minimal input from their supervisor. They are required to maintain a log diary of all their laboratory work, this will form part of their assessment. Students are expected to liaise closely with members of the dental team, observe the safety rules in the laboratory. This experience is provided by means of a combination of our in-house production facilities and where possible placement in an outside commercial laboratory. Students will undertake a dissertation which aims to provide them with research and presentation skills. As part of their assessment students are required to present their dissertation via written and oral medium.
A Day in the Life of a Dental Technology Student
In first and second year a dental technology student will spend much of their time (6-8, 3 hour sessions) in the dental hospital in the teaching laboratory. The course is very much ‘hands-on’ right from the start. There will also be lectures and labs in physics and chemistry (1st year) and materials science and business studies (2nd year) either on campus or in the dental hospital. Some sessions are taught in conjunction with the dental science students (Occlusion and Function and Removable Partial Dentures). Full attendance at all sessions is required in order to keep up with the pace of the programme.
In third year students are assigned to the production laboratory for experience in providing a service to patients. Liaison with the dental science students and clinical staff is encouraged and students are advised to spend time in the clinic to observe their complete work in situ. There is opportunity for students to be placed in external laboratories and there is a possibility of Erasmus exchange in this year also. Students will be busy throughout the year preparing their dissertation which is presented at the end of the year in addition to a log diary of the practical work which the student has carried out.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a dental technician do?
Dental technicians work in a laboratory usually remote from the clinic. Dental technicians work to the prescription of a dentist, they perform the laboratory aspects of dentistry fabricating crowns and bridges, dentures, maxillofacial and orthodontic appliances, (retainers, space maintainers, implants etc.) which are intended for delivery to the patient. Dental technicians have good manual dexterity skills and are required to work with various different materials in the fabrication process; these consist of plaster, stone, wax, metals, acrylics and ceramics. A sound understanding of scientific principles is necessary to underpin a thorough knowledge of material science.
Dental technology has changed a lot in recent years with emphasis on CAD/CAM restorations becoming increasingly popular. Dental implants have also become more commonplace in the daily routine of a dental technician.
What are the career prospects?
Dental technicians may work in a laboratory or be self employed. Dental technology does give scope to work and travel abroad.
The Dublin Dental Hospital has recently introduced a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Dental Technology; one of the prerequisites to securing a place on this course is a qualification in dental technology.
How to apply:
Check out the TCD Prospectus for entry requirements: www.tcd.ie/courses/undergraduate/az/course.php?id=DUBDE-DTEC-1F09
School leavers should apply through the C.A.O. http://www.cao.ie/
Mature students (over 23 years) must apply through the CAO and directly to the Admissions Office in Trinity College