Full Time | Part Time | NCM

Dental Technician

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Overview

Dental Technicians assist and support Dental Officers in delivering dental services to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and, occasionally, their families and dependants. 

A Dental Technician has the following primary duties: 

  • Perform preventive dentistry procedures and deliver preventive dentistry instruction
  • Produce dental x-rays and preliminary impressions for study casts
  • Perform clinical dental laboratory procedures
  • Perform preventive maintenance on dental equipment
  • Manage dental supplies and records
  • Drive and maintain the Mobile Dental Clinic
  • Operate and maintain the Air Transportable Dental System

Work environment

Dental Technicians normally work in a professional dental office. When in the field with an Army unit, they may work in a Mobile Dental Clinic or an Air Transportable Dental System. They may also work onboard a ship. Dental Technicians may be posted to a base within Canada or deployed on operations around the world.

Transcript

TITLE:

DENTAL TECHNICIAN

MASTER CORPORAL CRYSTAL RILEY: I’m Master Corporal Crystal Riley from Lawn, Newfoundland. I’m a Dental Technician currently posted to 1 Dental Unit Detachment, Halifax.

Dental Technicians are highly skilled oral health professionals that assist and support dentists in providing dental care to members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Dental Technicians work on military bases across Canada or in mobile dental clinics that serve members during domestic and operational deployments.

RILEY: I think it’s really cool to be a military dental assistant because you get a lot more opportunities. There’s positions available on a ship to work with the military dentist at sea. You can get posted to a Field Amb where you’re doing military exercises. And as well, there’s room to go on deployments, and that is a super cool experience.

Dental Technicians work as chairside dental assistants. Men and women employed in this occupationThey  take x-rays and dental impressions, and are responsible for sterilization. Daily work can include preparing dental materials such as composites, amalgams and cements. They also perform preventative maintenance on dental equipment, as well as manage dental supplies and records.

RILEY: As a dental technician here in the clinic, you could find yourself working one week with a general dentist, one week you could be working with the oral surgeon, and the next week you could be doing x-rays, sterilization or working at the front desk. I find that there’s always a lot of variety and you’re never doing the same thing for a super long time, which keeps it interesting.

RILEY: I think one of the cool things about working in a military clinic is that when the patient comes in, we’re not limited by what we can do for them. A lot of the times, in civilian practice, you can’t treat a patient because they can’t afford the care. But when somebody comes into a military dental clinic, no matter what the issue is, we’re able to give them the best care possible.

After completing their occupational training, Dental Technicians are posted to a military dental clinic here in Canada where they will work alongside military dental officers and specialists, as well as civilian dentists and dental assistants. This allows them to continue developing their dental assisting skills, while gaining exposure to military exercises and operations. Technicians have regular Monday-to-Friday work hours, with regular on-call duty evenings and weekends to treat dental emergencies.

As their career progresses, Dental Technicians have many opportunities for career advancement. They can become an administrator at a dental detachment. And there is also an option to become a registered dental hygienist with additional training and education.

RILEY: I started out dental-assisting for a general dentist and then, as I got more experience, I was able to move up and work with an oral surgeon, and then the periodontist.

In addition, Dental Technicians may have the opportunity to join the Canadian Forces Forensic Odontology Response Team. Teeth and jaws are unique to an individual and can be used to identify remains. Dental Officers and Technicians selected to be part of this team receive additional training required to support the Casualty Identification Program or to be involved in disaster victim identification.

RILEY: I just love the military aspect of things – the camaraderie. You get to do a lot of different things that maybe you wouldn’t see in a civilian practice. You get to travel a lot. I just love coming to work every day and feeling like I’m part of a team.

Basic Military Qualification

The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Basic occupational qualification training

Dental Technicians must complete Basic Driver Training, which prepares them to drive the Mobile Dental Clinic Trailer and other medium-duty vehicles. Upon completion of Basic Driver Training, Dental Technicians will then enter the Dental Technician Course at the Canadian Forces Health Services Training Centre in Borden, Ontario. The Dental Technician Course is a four-week program focused on field operations and dental clinic administration.

Available specialty training

Dental Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Palliative Dental Emergency Procedures
  • Dental Clinic Management
  • Field Dental Support

Available advanced training

As they progress in their career, Dental Technicians who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:

  • Instructional Techniques
  • Dental Hygiene

Direct entry options

If you already have a Level II Dental Assisting Diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board Certificate, including a registration/licence with the provincial regulatory body where applicable (provincial regulatory organizations) and 900 hours clinical experience within the last three years, the CAF may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. No minimum experience is required for new graduates. Basic training and military occupation training is required before being assigned.

Paid education options

Non-commissioned Member Subsidized Training and Education Program (NCM STEP)

Because this position requires specialty training, the CAF will pay successful recruits to attend the diploma program at an approved Canadian college. NCM STEP students attend basic training and on-the-job training during the summer months. They receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full-pay in exchange for working with the CAF for a period of time. If you choose to apply to this program, you must apply both to the CAF and the appropriate college.

For further information, please contact a Canadian Forces Health Services Recruiter: HealthSvcsRecruiting-RecrutementSvcsdesante@forces.gc.ca

Learn more about our Paid Education programs here.

Serve with the Reserve Force

The role of the Canadian Forces Health Services Reserves is to provide trained personnel to support, augment and sustain Canadian Forces Health Services organizations for Forces operations and training activities, while building and maintaining links between the Forces and the local community.

As a health care professional in the Health Service Reserves, you must have an unrestricted licence to practise in your clinical field (including certification in your specific specialty) and have the ability to maintain clinical currency within your civilian workplace.

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time with a military unit in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Part time employment

Dental Technicians serve may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army or the Royal Canadian Air Force as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. They are employed to assist and support Dental Officers in delivering dental services to Forces members and, occasionally, their families and dependants. When they are employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis they usually serve at a location within Canada.

Reserve Force training

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training, Dental Technicians attend a course on driver training on medium-duty vehicles and the Mobile Dental Clinic trailer and then a four-week Dental Technician Course at the Canadian Forces Health Services Training Center in Borden, Ontario.

Reserve Working Environment

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 92.8 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.