Celebrate Dental Technicians and Laboratories This June

Dentistry Today


No state requires dental technicians to be licensed, and only four states require at least one dental technician in the laboratory to be certified (Texas, South Carolina, and Kentucky) or continuing education (Florida) for that laboratory to operate. No other states have any minimum qualifications for someone to work as a dental technician.

To ensure standards are met and patients receive quality care, the National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) advocates for dentists to partner with certified dental laboratories and technicians. As part of these efforts, the NADL is promoting June as Dental Technician and Certified Dental Technician (CDT) Appreciation Month.

The National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology (NBC), an independent organization, administers the CDT and the Certified Dental Laboratory (CDL) credential programs. Also, the NADL administers the Dental Appliance Manufacturers Audit System (DAMAS) designation.

The CDT credential is the only certification program for dental technicians recognized by the ADA. According to the NADL, it illustrates a technician’s commitment to dental laboratory technology and demonstrates knowledge and skill in one of six specialties: ceramics, complete dentures, crown and bridge, orthodontics, partial dentures, and implants. CDTs also are required to earn a minimum of 12 hours of continuing education each year. 

The CDL certification requires stringent infection control, personnel training, equipment, facility, and case management standards with a CDT involved in upholding the technical quality in the laboratory. The NADL, the ADA, and the American College of Prosthodontists all recognize the CDL designation, which receives support and participation from the US military services as well. 

The standards required to be a DAMAS dental laboratory closely mirror the Food and Drug Administration’s Quality System/Good Manufacturing Practice specifications and provide a clear-cut process for improving the documentation of laboratory operations, the NADL reports, including: 

  • Dental prescriptions/work authorizations
  • Patient contact materials
  • Subcontractor/supplier agreements
  • Material and equipment purchases
  • Employee training
  • Maintenance and calibration of equipment
  • Labeling
  • Customer complaints
  • Material traceability

“When you partner with a CDT, CDL, or DAMAS lab, you are working with professionals who have a desire to be an industry leader and are dedicated to compliance with documented standards,” said Heather Voss, CDT, former chair of the NBC and a member of the NADL Board of Directors.

Standards provide assurance of safety, predictability, and functionality, the NADL says. Working with certified professionals ensures dentists and patients can be confident the services provided and the materials and processes used to fabricate dental restorations meet or exceed industry guidelines and regulations, the NADL adds. The NADL encourages dentists who have partnered with CDTs and CDTs themselves to share their experiences via a brief survey.

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