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Dental Technology is the technical side of dentistry where a dental technician, on prescription of a dentist, makes any prosthesis or appliance for the head and neck. This could consist of:
Dental technicians do not have direct contact with patients. Instead they work in a dental laboratory where various prosthetic appliances are custom made. Dental technicians can be thought of as artists who, with a thorough understanding of dental materials science, use their artistic skills to fabricate the form, colour and function of individual teeth or maxillofacial prostheses for a patient. The fact that the product can affect the health and appearance of a person demands of the technician a high level of responsibility and accuracy. For this reason, the profession of dental technology is registered under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2004. Graduates with the Bachelor of Dental Technology (BDentTech) degree are automatically entitled to register with the New Zealand Dental Technicians Board.
What is Dental Technology?
Dental technicians work as part of the dental care team within a dental laboratory, and don’t have direct contact with patients. They design and construct artificial teeth (in various forms), and removable orthodontic appliances.
Working with dentists, technicians use a wide range of materials, including gold, porcelain and acrylic, to design and construct appliances to meet each patient’s needs.
The fact that the products they make can affect the health and appearance of a person demands a high level of responsibility and accuracy.
Dental technicians work with their hands on detailed and delicate items and have good hand to eye co-ordination. A dental technician learns to visualise in a 3D perspective. They typically have an eye for detail to get things just right.
Dental technology is a global profession. Throughout the world, there is a high demand for skilled dental technicians. The high skill base that New Zealand dental technicians achieve makes them desirable to overseas employers.
In New Zealand and Australia, dental technicians are employed by commercial dental laboratories. These laboratories provide the bulk of work for the private dental industry, the defence forces, hospitals and state dental services.
The ratio of employer to employee is approximately 1:3, and many dental technicians ultimately set up business for themselves. There are no barriers to becoming self-employed.
The areas within the profession are diverse, with individuals specialising in different areas of dental technology.
Dental Technology at Otago
The University of Otago’s Bachelor of Dental Technology programme is the only one in New Zealand. It is a three-year degree programme taught within the Faculty of Dentistry.
This creates long-lasting relationships with other dental health professionals and establishes the right dental care perspective from day one.
During your study, you will learn about the oral environment, biomaterials, design principles and practical skills in designing and fabricating appliances for the mouth.
These appliances include:
artificial teeth (such as complete dentures)
removable orthodontic appliances.
Applications for admission may be made under the following categories: Secondary School, One Year of University Study, Two or More Years of University Study, Graduate, Alternative.
The minimum requirement for students is the completion of a high school qualification plus satisfactory completion of one year's study at an approved tertiary institution or successful completion of New Zealand Foundation Year programme.
We also accept the following International qualifications: International Baccalaureate: IB Diploma with a minimum of 24 points; GCE Advanced Levels: minimum grade of 8.
If your first language is not English you need to meet our English language requirements as follows: IELTS score of 6.0 in the academic module (with no individual band below 5.5); Internet-based TOEFL: Score of 80 (writing 20), Paper-based TOEFL: Score of 550 (TWE 4.5), we also accept a number of other English language tests. Due to COVID-19, we currently accept IELTS Indicator Test, and TOEFL iBT Special home Edition.
Don’t meet the English language requirements? The University of Otago Language Centre "English for Otago" programme offers a pathway for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students to meet the English language requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate study.
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