As a lab owner in Shenzhen, China, I think processing dental cases still has a promising future. However, there are many problems. Today, I would like to focus on 3 major problems about Chinese dental technicians. And I hope my sharing could stir some discussions among dental suppliers worldwide.

1.  Major problems with Chinese dental technicians

First, many Chinese technicians never go to a dental school. They do not have a system education. Most technicians start their career as an apprentice. There work is to help an experienced technician with dental cases in a dental lab for years. Those technicians are skillful, but they can seldom make any innovations. They are more like an artisan, instead of an artist. Yet, only following instructions can never make them top technicians.

Second, some Chinese technicians have received dental education. They have some theoretical knowledge, but they lack practical experience. Making matters worse, only few of them are willing to fabricate dental cases in a lab. For them, processing dental cases is not only tiring, but also not rewarding.

Third, young technicians are eager to seek success, but they do not have adequate skills to meet their expectations. Besides, a lot of technicians in China are not well educated, and cannot follow strict management regulations in the lab. As a result, many of them choose not to remain in the denture-manufacturing industry.

2. Solutions to the problems.

These three major problems have posed a serious threat to the development in Chinese dental industry. Although there are many technicians in this rapidly growing industry, only few of them are truly technically sound. Many people are satisfied that they can be a skillful technician, and never expect to become a top one.

So how can technicians make a breakthrough at this stage? I think we should help to change their mindset. Here are some of my suggestions to Chinese dental technicians:

First, if you want to receive a higher pay, you should be patient.

The fastest way to make money is to become an expert in the industry. Meanwhile, you should also realize that it takes years of hard work to become a true master. Many people have worked in a dental lab for only two years. Yet, they expect themselves to be an experienced technician. Please remember: we are not making a toy! Our products will finally stay in patients’ mouths. If our products bring any harm to our clients, we will take full responsibility. I think those people can change a perspective: do not focus on your little pay, when your skills are at the basic level. Instead, you should tell yourself: “I get paid in a place where I am learning useful skills for a promising career. This is incredible!” By thinking this way, you will stop feeling like a victim.

Second, frequently changing working places does not help improve your skills.

There is a common misconception: I could quickly perfect my skills only if I work in many different dental labs. This is untrue! Typically, it takes a person 2 to 3 months to truly get used to a new working environment, since each lab could have a different management system. Only working at least 1 or 2 years in one place, will you be entrusted to more work. Because by this time, your superior will fully recognize your skills and personalities. At this point, you keep handling more cases, and your experiences build up. Finally, you become an experienced technician in probably 8 years. However, if you are busy looking for a job, then finding a job becomes your job. As a result, you will learn little.

Third, it is never too old to learn.

Whether you are an experienced technician or a new graduate, you must strive to improve your skills and strengthen your theoretical knowledge. Nowadays, those who have rich theoretical knowledge often do not have practical skills, while those who have adequate skills usually do not have theoretical knowledge. What about a combination? You work hard in a dental lab during your work time, in order to gain required skills. During your spare time, you find ways to obtain more theoretical knowledge. There are plenty of night schools or training centers for you to choose. If you want to save money, please pay great attention when you are attending staff-only training classes. It is not easy to improve yourself, but all your hard work will finally pay off.

As China’s market economy matures, some foreign dental labs with new technologies will probably enter the domestic market. It will inevitably bring a great impact on domestic dental labs. So it is time for us to get well prepared for the challenge.