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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.

What is 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.

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.

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.

Qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Dental Technology (BDentTech)

YearPapersPoints
1st year

CHEM 191  The Chemical Basis of Biology and Human Health

DTEC 101  Dental Materials 1

DTEC 102  Dental Technology 1

DTEC 103  Oral Health Sciences for Dental Technology

PHSI 191  Biological Physics

18

18

51

15

18

2nd year

DTEC 201  Dental Materials 2

DTEC 202  Dental Technology 2

DTEC 203  Dental Technology 3

DTEC 204  Applied Design for Orthodontics

18

45

45

12

3rd year

DTEC 301  SSpecial Topic: Dental Technology Research

DTEC 302  Dental Technology 4

DTEC 303  Practice Management

MART 205  Marketing the Professional Practice

45

45

12

18

Notes: The due date for applications for first enrolment in the programme is 15 September in the year preceding that in which the programme is to be commenced. Late applications may be considered.
Candidates who have passed CHEM 191 and/or PHSI 191 will not be required to repeat those papers. Those who have passed approved equivalents may be eligible for exemption from CHEM 191 and/or PHSI 191. Candidates who are not required to take CHEM 191 and/or PHSI 191 will normally be required to take additional approved papers.

Bachelor of Dental Technology with Honours (BDentTech(Hons)) (Option B)

Stage Papers Points
1st - 3rd years

Prerequisites:

All requirements for the ordinary degree of Bachelor of Dental Technology (BDentTech)

4th stage DTEC 490  Dental Technology Research 3 120
 

Note: The due date for applications for Enrolment in the Fourth Stage is 1 November in the year in which the applicant completes the requirements for the ordinary BDentTech degree.

Bachelor of Dental Technology with Honours (BDentTech(Hons)) (Option A)

Stage Papers Points

1st year

Prerequisite: Health Sciences First Year Course

Notes:
(i) Students enrolled in the Health Sciences First Year course will be required to achieve a satisfactory mark in a standard diagnostic English test or another approved measure of achievement.
(ii) For purposes of admission into the second year of the programme, a second attempt in a First Year paper in the Schedule in which a pass has already been achieved will not be considered.

126

2nd year

Prerequisites:

DTEC 102  Dental Technology 1

DTEC 103  Oral Health Sciences for Dental Technology

DTEC 105  Dental Materials 3

DTEC 204  Applied Design for Orthodontics

MART 205  Marketing the Professional Practice

51

15

30

12

18

3rd stage

DTEC 202  Dental Technology 2

DTEC 203  Dental Technology 3

DTEC 205  Dental Materials 4

DTEC 303  Practice Management

DTEC 491  Dental Technology Research 1

45

45

6

12

25

4th stage

DTEC 302  Dental Technology 4

DTEC 492  Dental Technology Research 2

45

95

Note:
The due date for applications for enrolment in the Second Year of the ordinary BDentTech programme (after completing the Health Sciences First Year course) and in the Third Stage of the Honours programme (after a year of enrolment for the ordinary BDentTech degree) is 1 November in the year preceding admission to the course concerned.

 

Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Dental Technology (PGDipCDTech)

Papers

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Postgraduate Diploma in Dental Technology (PGDipDentTech)

Papers

DTEC 501  Advanced Dental Materials Science; and

Two of

  • DTEC 502  Advanced Fixed Prosthodontics Techniques
  • DTEC 503  Advanced Implant Prosthodontic Techniques
  • DTEC 504 Advanced Maxillofacial Prosthodontic Techniques (not currently offered)
  • DTEC 505  Topics in Advanced Dental Technology

Master of Dental Technology (MDentTech)

Papers and Thesis
  • DTEC 501  Advanced Dental Materials Science

  • Two of:
    • DTEC 502  Advanced Fixed Prosthodontic Techniques
    • DTEC 503  Advanced Implant Prosthodontic Techniques
    • DTEC 504  Advanced Maxillofacial Prosthodontic Techniques (not currently offered)
    • DTEC 505  Topics in Advanced Dental Technology
  • Thesis: DTEC 5

Papers

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
DTEC101 2022 Dental Materials 1 18 points Full Year
DTEC102 2022 Dental Technology 1 51 points Full Year
DTEC103 2022 Oral Health Sciences for Dental Technology 15 points Semester 1
DTEC105 2022 Dental Materials 3 30 points Full Year
DTEC201 2022 Dental Materials 2 18 points Full Year
DTEC202 2022 Dental Technology 2 45 points Full Year
DTEC203 2022 Dental Technology 3 45 points Full Year
DTEC204 2022 Applied Design for Orthodontics 12 points Full Year
DTEC205 2022 Dental Materials 4 6 points Semester 1
DTEC301 2022 Special Topic: Dental Technology Research 45 points Full Year
DTEC302 2022 Dental Technology 4 45 points Full Year
DTEC303 2022 Practice Management 12 points Full Year
DTEC401 2022 Denture Prosthodontics 1 45 points 1st Non standard period
DTEC402 2022 Denture Prosthodontics 2 45 points 1st Non standard period
DTEC403 2022 Dental Health 30 points 1st Non standard period
DTEC490 2022 Dental Technology Research 3 120 points 1st Non standard period
DTEC491 2022 Dental Technology Research 1 25 points Semester 2
DTEC492 2022 Dental Technology Research 2 95 points 1st Non standard period
DTEC501 2022 Advanced Dental Materials Science 60 points Not offered in 2022
DTEC502 2022 Advanced Fixed Prosthodontic Techniques 30 points Not offered in 2022
DTEC503 2022 Advanced Implant Prosthodontic Techniques 30 points Not offered in 2022
DTEC505 2022 Topics in Advanced Dental Technology 30 points Not offered in 2022

Key information for future students

Contact us

Department of Oral Rehabilitation
Faculty of Dentistry
Tel +64 3 479 7125
Email oral.rehabilitation@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/dentaltechnology