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Dental Technician

Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time, Part Time

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As a member of the military, 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: 

  • Providing clinical assistance;
  • Providing clinical support procedures to include user maintenance and first line repair of dental equipment and disinfection/sterilization procedures;
  • Providing laboratory procedures to include fabrication of casts, custom trays, mouthguards and minor repairs to acrylic appliances;
  • Providing preventive dentistry measures to include selective rubber cup polishing of coronal tooth surfaces, OHI, and application of anticariogenic and desensitizing agents;
  • Providing general dental administrative services;
  • Making impressions for study models;
  • Removing sutures;
  • Applying rubber dam;
  • Placing cavity liners;
  • Placing temporary restorations;
  • Temporarily cementing crowns and bridges;
  • Applying topical anesthetic;
  • Controlling bleeding;
  • Exposing and developing radiographs;
  • Providing operational dental support (MOSID 00335 only);
  • Responding to patient medical emergencies;
  • Applying and removing matrices and wedges;
  • Performing pulp vitality testing;
  • Applying acid etch and cavity bonding;
  • Preparing simple bite registrations;
  • Selecting moulds and shades; and
  • Depending on their location, they may be called upon to maintain the Mobile Dental Clinic and Air Transportable Dental System.

Work environment

Dental Technicians normally work in a military dental clinic. 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.

If you chose a career in the Regular Force, upon completion of all required training, you will be assigned to your first base. While there is some flexibility with regards to postings (relocations), accommodations can’t always be made, and therefore, you can likely expect to move at some point in your career. However, if you decide to join the Primary Reserve Force, you will do so through a specific Reserve unit. Outside of training, your chosen Reserve unit will be your workplace on a part time basis, and you will not be obligated to relocate to a different base. As part of the Primary Reserve Force, you typically work one night per week and some weekends as a minimum with possibilities of full-time employment.

Career Overview




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.

Related Civilian Occupations

  • Dental Assistant
  • Dental Hygienist


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.

Dental Technicians attend 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.

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

  • Dental Emergency Procedures;
  • Dental Clinic Management; and
  • Field Dental Support.

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; and
  • Dental Hygiene.

Entry plans

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/license with the provincial regulatory body where applicable (provincial regulatory organizations) and at least 900 hours of clinical experience within the last two years, the CAF may place you directly into any of the 24 military dental clinics following basic training. Basic training is required before being assigned to a military dental clinic.

Non-commissioned Member Subsidized Training and Education Plan (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 a 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 be accepted at the appropriate accredited College. 

For further information, please contact a Canadian Forces Health Services Recruiter:

Learn more about our Paid Education programs here.

Part time options

For the most part, Dental Technicians serve in the Regular Force. There are limited opportunities for serving in the Reserve Force as a Dental Technician.

As a Dental Technician in the Reserve Force, you must have a Level II Dental Assisting Diploma from an accredited college and hold a current unrestricted dental assistant license by a Canadian provincial regulatory authority. You must have the ability to maintain clinical currency within your civilian workplace.

In the event of a personnel insufficiency at one of the military dental clinics, a Reserve Dental Technician may be called upon to work part-time or full-time at a clinic.

Find a Recruiting Centre

Reserve Force members may be offered a part-time or full-time position at a Canadian Forces dental clinic if the need arises. 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.