Most People don`t look forward to going to the dentist. But they also know that, despite the fear, regular check-ups are important to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. During a regular visit to the dentist`s office, the only people you see are a receptionist, the dentist, a dental assistant or a dental hygienist. What some New Brunswickers may not know, however, is that there are Dental Technologists working behind the scenes in New Brunswick`s dental community.

Who are New Brunswick`s Dental Technologists?

Dental Technologists are regulated Health-care professional whose scope of practice includes the design, construction and/or alteration of dental prosthetic, restorative and orthodontic devices. These devices include crowns, bridges, complete and partial dentures, orthodontic, implants and other dental appliances prescribed by dentists or other regulated health practitioners to replace or enhance their patient's teeth.

Regulated under the Dental Technician Act, 1957, Dental Technologists are sometimes referred to as "RDT" or "Registered Dental Technologists" or

"Registered Dental Technicians". In New Brunswick. only those individuals who have completed the Certification Examinations for Registration and are registered with the Association may use theses titles and practice independently and/or supervise a dental laboratory.

Will I ever meet my RDT?

Although most of New Brunswick's Dental Technologists work behind the scenes, your dentist may, on occasion, refer you to a dental laboratory to have the colour of your crown matched or have your dental appliance repaired by a Dental Technologist. As well, an RDT may be called into a dentist's office for consultation, for example on an implant case.

Where do Registered Dental Technologists (RDT) work?

Some RDTs work in institutions such as Universities, Colleges and Hospitals that offer dental technology services, however most RDTs practice in dental laboratories and, while RDTs and dentists generally work in separate locations, they work closely together as a team. Dentists rely on the RDTs' professional judgement in the filling of dental prescriptions, including:

- Interpretation of the design and technical specifics of prostheses;

- Joint consultation on changes that are beneficial to patients;

- Determination of the shape, contours, structure, materials and production process.

Who regulates Dental Technologists in New Brunswick?

The New Brunswick Dental Technicians Association is the governing body established by provincial legislation to regulate the practice of dental laboratory technology in New Brunswick. Its mandate is to protect the public interest by regulating and guiding Dental Technologists.

They are knowledgeable about;

- The anatomy and physiology of the oral and facial environment;

- The physical and chemical characteristics of materials used for dental appliances;

- The techniques and procedures necessary for the design, fabrication, modification and repair of dental prosthetic, restorative and

orthodontic devices;

- The physiological functioning of these devices in the mouth.

Their work is highly technical in the application of their knowledge and also creative aspects of colour and design.

What does the New Brunswick Dental Technicians Association do?

The New Brunswick Dental Technicians Association fulfills its mandate of protecting the public interest in a variety of ways. For example, it ensures that individuals seeking registration to practice dental technology in New Brunswick meet specific education and qualification requirements. Certification examinations are required in order to meet the registration requirements. The New Brunswick Dental Technicians Association also sets the standards and guidelines for conduct and practice for RDTs. While there are dental laboratories employing Dental Technicians across the country to supply the country's dentists, New Brunswick boasts its own fully-trained technicians.So while going to the dentist may still not be an activity New Brunswickers look forward to, they should take comfort in the fact there are trained professionals across the province making sure people's mouth get the best treatment available.

So the next time you are in for a dental check-up, ask about the RDT who works with your dentist. From small town New Brunswick to our metropolitan centres, members of the New Brunswick Dental Technicians Association are committed to providing quality services to dentists, other regulated health practitioners and their patients in a safe, ethical and professional manner. They take great pride in producing dental appliances of high standards requiring a great degree of technical knowledge, skills and artistic creativity.