Your dentures broke and now they’re off being fixed. But how are they fixed? Who fixes them and what kind of materials do they use? Is it safe to rely on a laboratory for denture repair? These questions and more may be going through your mind as you wait for your order to be completed. Understanding how a dental lab works and the qualifications of the staff can help put your mind at ease about any work you are having done. It can also satisfy simple curiosity.
Denture Repair Lab Location and Staffing
Denture repair takes place in a dental laboratory. The lab may be located within the dentist office, but more likely it is a stand-alone facility to which the dentist or denturist ships appliances that need attention. Dental labs also fix dentures based on orders received directly from the patient. These orders are placed via the phone, Internet or through mail-order.
A reputable lab will use American Dental Association (ADA) approved or certified materials and have a mix of managers, dentists and certified dental technicians on staff. This helps ensure safe practices as well as quality technical and customer service for the consumer.
Specially trained denture technicians work at the laboratory where they may build and fix many types of dental appliances from crowns and bridges to dentures and retainers. Or the lab may focus solely on denture construction and repair. Workers primarily use hand tools to create an exact model of the patient’s mouth or teeth. The technician follows written instructions from the dentist and uses models, casts or molds of the patients’ teeth or mouth, if available.
Building And Fixing Dentures
To repair dentures, a technician may have to do any number of things. They might have to mix ingredients such as the high quality acrylic used to make dentures with the coloring agent used to color the gum section of the device. Technicians may use small spatula-like tools to spread the acrylic over a break or fracture or they may need to use wire cutters, Bunsen burners or soldering devices to reinforce the device with wire.
In order to make the dentures from scratch, technicians may work with dental appliance molds, which are used to recreate the shape of the patient’s mouth and teeth. Workers will sculpt and shape the forms to specification, add in reinforcing wires, if needed, and finish up by grinding and polishing the final product.
When it comes to teeth, technicians follow casts or impressions taken from the patient’s teeth or refer to the original order to repair a tooth. Repair is generally easier and quicker when it’s only for a tooth as opposed to an entire denture set or partial set.
Some labs hire workers who perform all aspects of denture repair. Others hire technicians who focus on one area of work and the denture passes along to different technicians for different needs. One worker handles the mixing and coloring, another may handle the molding and still another may do the grinding and polishing.
Many denture repair technicians have completed a two-year degree in dental laboratory technology followed by several years of training and experience. Industry-specific certifications are also very common among technicians.
Source by Chris A. Harmen