Dental and Optical Laboratory Technicians


Dental and Optical Laboratory Technicians

The military provides dental and optical care as part of its comprehensive health service program. Dental and optical laboratory technicians make and repair dental devices and eyeglasses that are provided for military personnel.

Job Details:

What They Do:

Dental and optical laboratory technicians perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Make dentures, braces, and other dental or optical devices
  • Construct, assemble, repair, and align dental and optical devices (metal braces and retainers, eyeglass frames and lenses)
  • Harden and cure dentures or lenses using high temperature ovens or other heat-treating equipment
  • Grind, polish, and smooth dentures or lenses using hand or power tools

Work Environment:

Dental and optical laboratory technicians normally work in dental or optical laboratories and occasionally in examination and dispensing offices.

Training Provided:

Job training consists of 21 to 26 weeks of classroom instruction, including practice in making and repairing dental and optical devices. Course content varies depending on specialty, but typically includes laboratory operating procedures (for dental or optical specialty). Further training occurs on the job and through advanced courses.

Opportunities:

The services have about 1,500 dental and optical laboratory technicians. Each year, they need new technicians due to changes in personnel and the demands of the field. After job training, technicians work under very close supervision. With experience, they work more independently and perform more challenging tasks. Eventually, they may become supervisors or managers of dental or optical laboratories.