Technician Finds Success, Satisfaction as 'Denture Practitioner'

Mark Funderburk, CDT · Sep 04, 2013

Throughout my 34-year career as a technician, lab owner, manager, consultant and denturist, most of my problems have been the doctors' lack of training and experience in fixed and removable appliances. Since many dentists graduate with minimal lab experience—especially in removables—they get very frustrated by denture cases.

In Indiana, technicians, assistants and other dental professionals can work directly with patients under the dentist's supervision and over the years I found myself spending more and more time working chairside with my dentist-clients on removable cases.

Today, I consider myself a "Denture Practitioner" and I’ve found much success in this approach. I work chairside in three offices doing removables cases from start to finish and training the doctors and their staff on troubleshooting techniques. While I do most of the lab work in my own home laboratory, being in the office allows me to get the proper impression, proper bite, etc. needed to fabricate a quality product; I even guarantee every case I fabricate.

I also help educate patients—explaining the entire process to them and talking about expectations before, during and after the process. Doctors love this because in a fast-paced office they often don’t have the time to explain things thoroughly.

In a nutshell, I take away the headaches from the dentist and his staff.

I see this type of in-office position growing in popularity in the future. And while it can be very profitable—I bill for both my chairtime and the case itself—the best part is leaving at the end of the day with everyone feeling good about the process and confident in the results.