Job Search

Dental Ceramist vs. Dental Technician: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Dental ceramists and dental technicians are both responsible for creating dental prosthetics, such as crowns, bridges and implants. Though they work together to provide patients with the best possible care, there are several key differences between these two roles. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between dental ceramists and dental technicians, and we provide information on what you can expect from each profession.

What is a Dental Ceramist?

Dental Ceramists are responsible for creating and repairing dental prosthetics, such as crowns, bridges and implants. They use porcelain, ceramic and other materials to create lifelike replicas of teeth. Dental Ceramists work in dental laboratories, where they consult with dentists and dental technicians to create custom prosthetics. They use a variety of tools and machines to mold, shape and polish dental prosthetics. Once they’ve completed a piece, they send it back to the dentist or dental technician to be fitted and installed in the patient’s mouth.

What is a Dental Technician?

Dental Technicians work in laboratories to create dental prosthetics, such as crowns, bridges, implants, dentures and orthodontic appliances, according to specifications provided by dentists and orthodontists. They use a variety of tools and materials, such as wax, plaster, metals and porcelain, to create these products. Dental Technicians must have a keen eye for detail to create products that fit patients’ mouths perfectly and look natural. They often work with other laboratory technicians to complete orders in a timely manner.

Dental Ceramist vs. Dental Technician

Here are the main differences between a dental ceramist and a dental technician.

Job Duties

While dental ceramists and dental technicians share some of the same job duties, there are differences between their responsibilities. For example, a dental technician may take impressions of patients’ teeth to create dental prosthetics such as dentures or dental crowns. A dental ceramist may work with them to fabricate the final product using the impression they created together.

Another difference is that dental technicians often perform routine procedures, such as cleaning teeth or filling cavities, while dental ceramists may only assist in these procedures by assisting with the polishing or staining of the finished product.

Job Requirements

Dental ceramists typically need to complete a two-year associate degree or certificate program in dental technology. Some programs may require students to have completed prerequisite coursework, such as biology and chemistry, before enrolling. Dental technicians usually need to earn a high school diploma or equivalent, although some jobs may require postsecondary education, such as an associate degree. Many community colleges offer dental technology programs that can be completed in two years.

Work Environment

Dental ceramists and dental technicians work in different environments. Dental technicians typically work in a dentist’s office, where they perform their duties under the supervision of a licensed dentist. They may also travel to patients’ homes or other locations to provide services.

Dental ceramists usually work in a laboratory setting, although some may work for denture companies that manufacture products on-site. These professionals often work alone, but they may collaborate with other lab employees to complete projects.


Dental ceramists and dental technicians both use artistic skills to create custom dental prosthetics, such as crowns, bridges and implants. They also use manual dexterity to sculpt the materials they are working with, as well as attention to detail to ensure that their products meet the specifications set by dentists or orthodontists.

Dental ceramists typically have a higher level of experience and training than dental technicians and, as a result, may use more advanced skills in their work. For example, dental ceramists often utilize CAD/CAM technology, which allows them to create three-dimensional models of dental prosthetics before they begin the manufacturing process. This can help ensure that the final product meets the dentist’s or orthodontist’s expectations. Dental technicians typically do not use this technology.

Another difference between dental ceramists and dental technicians is that dental ceramists typically work in laboratories, while dental technicians typically work in dental offices. As a result, dental ceramists may be responsible for more administrative tasks, such as ordering supplies and maintaining equipment.


Dental ceramists earn an average salary of $74,213 per year, while dental technicians earn an average salary of $52,408 per year. Both of these salaries may vary depending on the type of work you do, your location and your experience level.


Marketing Assistant vs. Marketing Coordinator: What Are the Differences?

Back to Job Search

Internist vs. Gastroenterologist: What Are the Differences?