Dental restorations – including crowns, dentures, bridges and veneers – are custom medical devices that correct a range of oral health issues and provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance for the patient.
The creation of these products begins at diagnosis, when the dentist determines that a restoration is necessary for the patient. Dentists then take impressions of their patients’ teeth for use as a template to fabricate dental restorative products.
While a handful of dentists employ dental technicians that produce restorations for their dental practice, the vast majority of practices have their prescriptions fabricated by dental laboratory technicians that are employed by a commercial dental laboratory.
Unlike a pharmacy, where prescriptions are “filled” with medications that are shipped to the pharmacy, dental laboratories actually fabricate each patient’s prescription using industry-specific materials.
Dental technicians must produce restorations that are satisfactory with regard to three categories: physical traits such as durability and hardness, biocompatibility – or how well they integrate with the patient’s tissues, and their aesthetic appearance.
Upon completion of the multi-stage production process, each dental restoration is shipped back to the dentist who ordered the prescription, where it is implanted into the patient’s mouth.