Career Profile: Dental Laboratory Technician - Ana M. Remond
Ana M. Remond, Dental Technician, Third Class, Prosthesis Department, Bethesda Navy Dental School, National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland
National Institutes of Health: Office of Science Education
I chose this career because…
I chose to become a dental technician because of the opportunities I discovered in the Navy. My native country is Peru. When I came to the U.S. I was 20 years old. I tried to secure a job at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center. Because I could not speak English well, I did not qualify. I decided to enter Parkdale High School in Riverdale, Maryland. While there, I took part in the ESOL (English as a Second Language) program and ultimately graduated with an American high school diploma. (I had a similar diploma from Peru.) After receiving my diploma, I found a job and continued to go to school part-time in the evenings. I knew I wanted to enter dentistry, but first needed to complete the college entrance courses. The cost of my schoolbooks took all my earnings and I had little time for anything but work and study.
My typical workday involves…
My typical workday depends on the assignments I have for that particular day of the week. My major task is to make dentures for the upper and lower jaw. At the beginning of the week, the dentists provide me with a list of cases that need to be completed by Friday.
A typical weekly process of making dentures is as follows:
• Receive an impression of a patient’s mouth from the dentist. The impression can be made of a variety of materials from alginate, polyvinyl substance, or rubber base
• Pour a mold from the impression. This mold is made of a special stone routinely used for dental applications. It is placed in an articulator, which is a metal device to hold the mold, and is set specifically for each patient’s mouth. The articulator provides a mechanical means to duplicate the patients jaw movements and teeth. It is a reasonable copy of the patient’s mouth so the patient doesn’t have to be in the dentist’s chair during the process.
• Receive the dentist’s approval of the articulator set-up, before I continue.
• Place the teeth in the upper and lower jaw of the articulator and attach them with wax. I check to make sure that the bite is correct and make any other adjustments that are necessary.
• Cover the wax model with stone powder, which will harden. I place the stone-covered model in a container and apply heat to melt the wax. I fill the wax-free stone mold with acrylic to make the final impression. I allow the acrylic set of teeth to set for 24 hours.
• Remove the teeth from the container and place them in the articulator. I check the bite and make corrections. I will polish, and grind the dentures. My final task is to disinfect the dentures.
• Give the dentures to the dentist for inspection. The dentist will give them to the patient and ensure their proper fit.