About Dental Technology
What Is Dental Technology?
The practice of dental technology is the design, construction, repair or alteration of dental prosthetic, restorative and orthodontic devices. The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA), specifies that dental technology can only be carried out by a Registered Dental Technologist (RDT) who holds a General Certificate of Registration, a dentist or a person supervised either by an RDT or dentist.1
- The RHPA includes some exemptions to this requirement. It does not apply to, ‘…the design, construction, repair or alteration of removable dentures for the patients of a member of the College of Denturists of Ontario if the member does the designing, construction, repair or alteration or supervises their technical aspects’. Anything,’…done in a hospital as defined in the Public Hospitals Act or in a clinic associated with a university’s faculty of dentistry or the denturism program of a college of applied arts and technology’, is also exempt.
Who Are Registered Dental Technologists in Ontario?
RDTs are highly skilled oral health professionals who work behind the scenes in Ontario’s dental community and play an important role in improving patients’ health.
RDTs develop the knowledge, skills and judgement required to undertake this precision work through their studies at the advanced diploma level (or equivalent) and through participation in ongoing professional development. All entrants to the profession in Ontario are required to pass the College’s registration examinations which test candidates’ competence at the entry to practice level.
Only those persons registered with the College may use the restricted title of Registered Dental Technologist in Ontario. Members of the College must use the designation RDT and their full name as it appears on the College’s public register in the course of providing or offering to provide dental technology services.
What Do Registered Dental Technologists Do?
RDTs use a variety of specialized tools, techniques, materials, and technologies (including computer-aided design and manufacturing) to produce bridges, crowns, dentures, implants, orthodontic and other dental devices. The unique nature of these devices—no two patients are the same—means that, as well as being technically competent, the RDT must be creatively adept and knowledgeable about the possibilities and limitations of a wide range of materials.
An RDT may also work directly with the patient at a ‘shade taking’ appointment where the RDT matches the colour tones of the device with the patient’s natural tooth colour. Later, they may, under the supervision of a dentist, meet the patient at what is called a ‘try-in’, where the device is tried in the patient’s mouth, by the dentist, to check for a good fit before being completed.
Some RDTs also support the development of future professionals through their work in dental technology education programs, and others may focus on the development of new technology, techniques and products through their work with component manufacturers and suppliers.
Where Do Registered Dental Technologists Work?
Most RDTs work in laboratories, either in stand-alone facilities or within dental clinics. RDTs may own the laboratories in which they work, but a laboratory owner is not required to be an RDT; however, all work completed in a dental laboratory must be completed by or supervised by a member of the College of Dental Technologists of Ontario, RDT, or the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, dentist.
Some RDTs also work in institutions such as Universities, Colleges and Hospitals that offer dental technology services.
How Do You Know a Registered Dental Technologist Made Your Dental Device?
The College requires that invoices or documents authorizing the release of a dental device to a dentist or other healthcare professional must be impressed with a personalized supervision stamp. The stamp contains the College’s seal and identifies the RDT who will be held completely responsible for the case which is released on the authority of his or her stamp. The stamp indicates that the dental device produced by the RDT or produced under their supervision meets the College’s standards.
Who Cannot Practice Dental Technology in Ontario?
It is illegal for an individual to practice dental technology in Ontario if they:
- Are not a member of the College of Dental Technologists of Ontario (CDTO) holding a General Certificate of Registration;
- Are not a member of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO);
- Are not supervised by a member of the CDTO holding a General Certificate of Registration; or
- Are not supervised by a member of the RCDSO.
A member of the CDTO who holds an Inactive Certificate of Registration may not practise as a dental technologist or supervise the practice of dental technology in Ontario. However, Inactive Members can use the restricted titles dental technologist, Registered Dental Technologist, or the designation RDT in Ontario.
The Public Register can be used to verify if an individual is registered with the College and can use the restricted title, and the Class of Certificate of Registration they hold to determine if they can practice dental technology.