A dental laboratory is a business which undertakes all of the work which might be outsourced by a dentist, such as denture repair. A dental surgeon works directly on the patient, in much the same way as a consultant or surgeon in a hospital does. However, when the dentist requires a denture to be made for his patient, a crown, bridges, veneers or orthodontic appliances such as splints to straighten teeth then he will outsource the work to a dental laboratory.
Here, specialists will undertake the actual manufacture of the equipment or materials that the dentist has specified for his patient. So this may be a full set of dentures, partial dentures, crowns and so on. The dentist will have made a mould of his patients teeth and/or mouth which he sends to the laboratory with details of exactly what he needs.
It follows that the laboratory technician has to be an extremely skilled worker with attention to minute detail, since every patient’s requirement isdifferent. Dental technicians work with many different materials including stainless steel, various poylmers and porcelains, plastics, waxes and alloys.
A dental laboratory will use sophisticated equipment since it is necessary for the finished product to fit the patient’s mouth exactly, perform as well – if not better than – the missing tooth or teeth and at the same time be aesthetically pleasing and fit in with the colouring of the patient’s remaining teeth. Not only that, but turnaround time has to be as quick as possible since the dentist will want to get his patient on the road to full recovery and back to normal eating habits as soon as he can.