The practice of dental technology explained
A Registered Dental Technologist (RDT) makes a major contribution to the practice of dentistry. RDT’s are regulated health care professionals whose scope of practice includes the design, construction, repair or alteration of dental prosthetic, restorative and orthodontic devices.
RDT’s perform their duties based on a prescription received from a dentist.
WHAT IS A REGISTERED DENTAL TECHNOLOGIST (RDT) AND WHAT IS THEIR PURPOSE?
There are five major areas of dental technology:
- Crown and bridge
- Partial dentures
- Full dentures
All work is custom made, requires specialized, integrated equipment, specific and specialized materials, as well as a great deal of skill and training. For this reason, many technologists choose to specialize in one area of dental technology. Due to the many different technologies available, a similar prosthetic (i.e. a crown) can vary widely depending on the process and materials used.
RDT’s are held to the same level of professionalism as the other 24 health care providers governed under the RHPA.
A RDT can be employed by a laboratory and serve one of two purposes. He/She can have “Laboratory Supervision Status”, or work as a technician without this status.
RDT’s without “laboratory supervision status” can be employed in a laboratory and perform all of the technical functions of the profession but cannot supervise the case from prescription to completion. They cannot be called upon to ensure that the work provided meets all the requirements.
RDT’s who have obtained “laboratory supervision status” from the CDTO can accept a prescription from a dentist or another regulated health care professional and supervise the technical aspects of the case. Upon completion, the RDT will place his/her stamp on the invoice to ensure that the work case was designed, constructed, repaired, or altered in accordance with the standards of the CDTO. It also ensures that the invoice conforms to the standards of the College in that it accurately reflects the processes, materials and charges. As well, the stamp indicates that the RDT accepts responsibility for certifying that the records reviewed are adequate to design, construct, repair or alter the case. These records include impressions, intra-oral records, models, diagrams, written instructions and verbal instructions, which must be recorded in the chart. If this stamp is missing, the recipient should inquire why it is not present. Every invoice must be stamped, including no-charge invoices.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE RDT AND DENTIST OR OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL:
RDT’s provide a service, which is a vital component in achieving the optimum result for the patient. RDT’s are required to obtain and maintain the highest standards of learning expertise through their initial post secondary education to continued education programs maintained by the CDTO. While the RDT’s access to the patient is limited, access to the dentist or other health care professional should not be. The dentist should feel compelled, as well as obligated to know who their RDT is. The “Dental Laboratory” is not the RDT and the RDT is not the “Dental Laboratory”.
There is a clear distinction between the two. A dental laboratory could be operating in the province unsupervised. It is in the dentist’s or other health care professional’s best interest to ensure they are not doing business with a laboratory such as this. The result could lead to disciplinary action from the RCDSO or other College involved and it will certainly not ensure that you are providing your patients with the best services available to them.
The RDT and the dentist should be compelled to work together in the best interest of their patient. Each dental case and each dental patient is unique and should be treated as such. We owe it to the public as they put a great deal of trust in the system and the professionals.