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Study Dental Technology at Otago

Designing smiles

Dental technology is the technical side of dentistry in which dental technicians make appliances to improve a patient’s appearance, speech or ability to chew.

Dental technicians are a crucial part of the dental team. They use their understanding of dental material science, and their skills of design and fabrication, to recreate people’s teeth.

The satisfaction comes from knowing you have made it possible for that person to smile again.

Applications for the Bachelor of Dental Technology open 1 August and close 15 September.

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Why study Dental Technology?

Dental technicians work as part of the dental care team within a dental laboratory, and don't have direct contact with patients. They design and construct artificial teeth (in various forms), and removable orthodontic appliances.

Working with dentists, technicians use a wide range of materials, including gold, porcelain and acrylic, to design and construct appliances to meet each patient's needs.

The fact that the products they make can affect the health and appearance of a person demands a high level of responsibility and accuracy.

Dental technicians work with their hands on detailed and delicate items and have good hand to eye co-ordination. A dental technician learns to visualise in a 3D perspective. They typically have an eye for detail to get things just right.

Career opportunities

Dental technology is a global profession. Throughout the world, there is a high demand for skilled dental technicians. The high skill base that New Zealand dental technicians achieve makes them desirable to overseas employers.

In New Zealand and Australia, dental technicians are employed by commercial dental laboratories. These laboratories provide the bulk of work for the private dental industry, the defence forces, hospitals and state dental services.

The ratio of employer to employee is approximately 1:3, and many dental technicians ultimately set up business for themselves. There are no barriers to becoming self-employed.

The areas within the profession are diverse, with individuals specialising in different areas of dental technology.

Dental Technology at Otago

The University of Otago's Bachelor of Dental Technology programme is the only one in New Zealand. It is a three-year degree programme taught within the Faculty of Dentistry.

This creates long-lasting relationships with other dental health professionals and establishes the right dental care perspective from day one.

During your study, you will learn about the oral environment, biomaterials, design principles and practical skills in designing and fabricating appliances for the mouth.

These appliances include:

  • artificial teeth (such as complete dentures)
  • partial dentures
  • implants
  • mouth guards
  • crowns
  • bridges
  • removable orthodontic appliances.

Postgraduate Dental Technology

If you wish to take your knowledge beyond the Bachelor of Dental Technology, there is a range of postgraduate study options.

A fourth-year honours programme is available for students who achieve high academic grades. There are further opportunities for higher study through the Master of Dental Technology and PhD programmes.

For those interested in treating patients, there is a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Dental Technology. Graduates of this programme can offer a removable denture service direct to patients.

Professional registration

The profession of dental technician is registered under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (2004). Graduates of the Bachelor of Dental Technology programme are automatically entitled to register with the New Zealand Dental Council in order to practise as a registered dental technician.

How to apply

Application information for admission into the Bachelor of Dental Technology (BDentTech) programme is available on the Division of Health Sciences website:

Dental Technology: Guidelines for Admission

Background required

To be admitted to the course directly from school, you should have attained a minimum of 14 credits in each of two National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 3 approved subjects (or equivalent) from science, mathematics or technology.


DTEC papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
DTEC102 2024 3D and Digital Removable Prosthetics 1 45 Full Year
DTEC111 2024 Fundamental Sciences for Dental Technology 30 Full Year
DTEC113 2024 3D and Digital Fixed Prosthetics 1 45 Full Year
DTEC201 2024 Materials Science for Dental Technology 20 Full Year
DTEC202 2024 3D and Digital Removable Prosthetics 2 50 Full Year
DTEC203 2024 3D and Digital Fixed Prosthetics 2 50 Full Year
DTEC303 2024 Professional Practice 12 Full Year
DTEC311 2024 Applied Research for Dental Technology 18 Full Year
DTEC312 2024 Integrated 3D and Digital Prosthetics 90 Full Year
DTEC401 2024 Denture Prosthodontics 1 45 Full Year
DTEC402 2024 Denture Prosthodontics 2 45 Full Year
DTEC403 2024 Dental Health 30 Full Year
DTEC411 2024 Dental Technology Research for Honours 40 Full Year
DTEC412 2024 Dental Technology Practice 80 Full Year

More information

Contact us

Department of Oral Rehabilitation
Faculty of Dentistry

Studying at Otago

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Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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