Dental Technicians will always be needed – This is what the author of this “Renfert Flashlight” contribution was always told when he contemplated which profession to follow. Since then, over the past three decades, the dental technician’s job description has changed dramatically. Many, who are faced with a career choice, or those who have already worked for many years, ask themselves how long this profession will even exist in this age of highly dynamic dental digitalization. Isn’t this similar to the way the profession car mechanic (which turned into the automotive mechatronics technician) became extinct? Yes, we can be sceptical – on the one hand. On the other however, when one door closes, another opens.
In future, the dental technician will be the producer of dental restorations, but will also be required to take on the role of dental consultant and planning assistant. This is due to the variety of prosthetic options, the wide range of materials and the “backward planning” of implant supported restorations, with their highly functional and esthetic requirements. In order to guarantee a reliable, efficient treatment and manufacturing workflow with accurate end results, the dental technician will also be increasingly involved in patient information – after all, it is essential to include all their prosthetic requirements within the restorations, so that no post alterations are necessary.
In addition to anatomical knowledge and material expertise, “soft skills”, such as personal, social and methodical competences, will be increasingly required. These qualities will be reflected in: commitment and self-motivation, empathy and communication skills and in dealing with new media and structured work ethics.
Even if some worry about or even fear that technical development will mean the end of the profession dental technician, there are enough good arguments for its long-term existence. This industry lives from communication with and for people, cooperation and collaboration with one another – unlike the digital transformation “Industry 4.0”, where the machines communicate and cooperate independently with one another. Due to the demographic development, personnel resources are becoming scarcer at all levels. This inevitably means that there will have to be a constructive division of labor between dentists, dental assistants and on-site dental technicians. In implant planning, for example, this has already been successfully practiced for a long time; this interdisciplinary collaboration is developing in the field of functional diagnostics of the temporomandibular joint.
Of course, the use of digital dental procedures will continue to expand as well as partially automate, as the biomimetic occlusal surface reconstruction shows. But first, the developmental focus will certainly be on optimizing the connectivity of open digital components – as with intraoral and facial scanner or the analysis tools for TMJ relations and implant planning.
Why not take this opportunity to visit the Job Futuromat on the Internet (https://job-futuromat.ard.de). Here, you can find out about the degree of automation in the profession dental technician. Even if some of the duties mentioned do not reflect the actual situation, it is still interesting to see how the “degree of automation” is assessed.
Even if a lot of dental developmental situations are aimed the digital production dental restorations, highly skilled personnel will still be required on every level to work on the complex dental-medical-technical possibilities correctly and efficiently. The multi-talented dental technicians and dentists will be required to perform applications such as the intraoral scan, facial scans, determining TMJ relations, implant planning and insertion as well as project planning in order to achieve a functional and esthetical complete package.