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A denturist creates and repairs prosthetic devices for the mouth. He builds and fixes artificial teeth. He may work in a dentist’s office or for a laboratory that works with many dentists.
When people lose their teeth due to illness, gum disease or accidents, they normally require artificial teeth. They may need only a partial replacement on the top of one tooth or several teeth. This prosthetic device is normally called a cap or crown. In these cases, the denturist constructs the artificial tooth to snugly fit on top of the existing tooth.
If several teeth in a row require replacement or caps, the technician builds a bridge of teeth to create an illusion of healthy, real teeth. The bridge is held in place by tiny wires that are invisible when the device is properly placed into the patient’s mouth. He may have to adjust the bridge a few times to make the fit perfect.
Many patients require a full set of false teeth called dentures. Occasionally only the top or bottom set of teeth require replacement. In either situation, the dentist makes a plastic or wax impression of the patient’s mouth and of the original teeth, if possible. The dentist presents these impressions, along with detailed instructions on the desired gum and teeth colors, to the denturist. Using these directives, the denturist builds artificial teeth.
Depending on the preferences of the dentist and patient as well as the availability of materials, a denturist creates his prosthetics using plastic or porcelain. In some cases, small devices such as caps or crowns may be constructed of gold or other metals. If his goal is to create false teeth or bridges to match the patient’s real teeth, he refers to a color-matching chart with hundreds of colors from which to choose.
In building his prosthetics, a denturist uses a variety of equipment and tools. To create the original pieces, he normally uses a high-temperature furnace to solidify the plastic or porcelain. He then shapes the pieces with lathes, electric drills and presses. The final touches on the pieces are traditionally made using hand tools made for shaping and carving.
An aspiring denturist requires a high school diploma to be admitted into a dental laboratory technician training program. This program traditionally lasts about two years and provides classroom and laboratory instruction. Once the training is complete, most regions and vicinities require board certification before a denturist can be hired as an entry-level dental laboratory technician.
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