A Denturist in the United States and Canada, clinical dental technician in the UK or (in Australia) a dental prosthetist, is a member of the oral health care team who provides an oral health examination, takes impressions of the surrounding oral tissues, constructs and delivers removable oral prosthesis (dentures and partial dentures) directly to the patient.[1]

They differ from prosthodontists, who are qualified specialist dentists for making fixed or removable appliances for patients.

Traditional duties

According to the United States National Denturist Association website, denturists can perform the following functions:

1. Perform a complete visual/digital oral examination and evaluation of the patient. This includes obtaining a complete medical and dental history of the patient. It should be noted that a denturist is not a doctor or dentist and will not diagnose diseases of the head and neck.

2. Take impressions of the oral tissue and make necessary jaw relation records, select artificial teeth, design the dentures.

3. Fabricate and insert dentures in the mouths of patients.

4. Perform any adjunctive services such as a repair to dentures, relines and adjustments of removable dentures.

5. Supervise auxiliary personnel in the performance of their delegated duties.

Further, in Alberta, Canada,[2] denturists may also do the following:

6. Treat traumatized oral tissues.

7. Order radiographs (but not interpret them).

8. Provide implant supported dental prosthesis,both fixed or removable.

9. Provide sports mouthguards.

10. Provide anti-bruxism (night guard) devices.

11. Provide tooth-whitening services.

12. Creating a clone of your denture (denture cloning)

In the UK Clinical Dental Technicians are registered with the General Dental Council in London. This is following graduation from the Royal College Of Surgeons London. Clinical Dental Technicians can work directly with patients for the provision of complete Dentures, if the patient has no remaining teeth. If the patient still has remaining natural teeth, they see the dentist first to check those remaining teeth, the Dentist then refers them to the Clinical Dental Technician for the provision of partial dentures. UK based Clinical Dental Technicians scope of practice is therefore different to those points 1 to 12 above.


In order to become licensed as a denturist an individual must graduate from an accredited Denturist College, usually two to three years in length, in addition to having at least four years experience and background in dental technology in most states and some provinces.


Denturism is defined as the practice by denturists of making artificial dentures and fitting them to patients.[3]

Denturism is a recognized profession throughout the world, in which a specialized dental practitioner, a denturist, provides duplicate Dentures and dental appliances directly to the public.

The International Federation of Denturists consists of national organizations of denturism from around the world who are interested in furthering the profession, and providing the world's edentulous population with affordable, professional denture care.

Denturism is legislated and practiced in five U.S. states: Maine, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. Denturitry is legislated and practiced in the state of Montana. According to the College of Denturists of Ontario, denturism has been a regulated profession in the Canadian province since 1973. In Alberta, the profession has been regulated since 1961; first under the "Dental Mechanics Act", and subsequently since 2002, under the Health Professions Act of Alberta as reported by the College of Alberta Denturists ( All Canadian provinces and territories recognize the profession.

More recently the United Kingdom has legislated the profession. In the U.K. denturists are termed “Clinical Dental Technicians”. According to the Clinical Dental Technician’s Association, "Professional Clinical Dental Technicians are members of the Dental Health Care Team specifically trained and educated in the skills and knowledge necessary to provide a removable appliance service directly to the community. Equipped with solid technical training as a Dental Technician and post-technician training in sciences, clinical skills, and interpersonal skills, the Clinical Dental Technician can design, create, construct and modify (repair and rebase) a removable appliance to insure optimal fit, maximum comfort and general well-being of patients. These skills enable the Clinical Dental Technician, whilst remaining a member of the Dental Health Care Team to work independently of other Dental Health Care providers."

Australia is another country where the profession of denturism is regulated. In Australia a denturist is referred to as a dental prosthetist. The Australian Dental Prosthetists Association is the national organization in Australia.


Denturists have campaigned for the right to practice independently in many states, with the argument that they can provide greater access and lower-cost prosthetic services. This argument has been disproved by examining other jurisdictions in the world which have both dentists and denturists. For example, six years after the Canadian province of Ontario began regulating denturists, the fees quoted in their fee guide were similar to those of dentists.[4] Consequently, most of these campaigns have so far failed.

In some jurisdictions, denturists must operate under the supervision or oral health certificate of a dentist. Many dentists argue that this does not happen. For example, in 1991, investigators hired by the Arizona Dental Association found that only three out of the state's 13 denturists advised callers to see a dentist before visiting them.[5] Many denturists argue that from a business point of view dentists are viewed as competition and in many locations dentists may "steal their business" after doing an exam.[6]

Distinguishing from dental technicians

A licensed denturist or dental prosthetist is not a dental technician. Historically, a large number of the original denturists, or dental prosthetists, were schooled as dental technicians who sought to further their education in denturism.

This training and experience gives denturists a unique advantage in that they have become extremely familiar with cases of edentulism, and both the clinical and laboratory procedures in which to treat edentulous and semi-edentulous patients.

Denturists in Canada and the USA(for the most part), are independent primary healthcare providers.

Dental technicians (or dental technologists), are not primary healthcare providers; rather, they are an auxiliary profession of dentistry and denturitry which forms part of the healthcare team. Technicians provide laboratory services based on a received prescription, from a dentist or denturist, and they provide a product to the referring dentist or denturist, for that practitioner to place into a patient's mouth.

Distinguishing from other dental professionals

According to the International Federation of Denturists, "University-trained dentists perform the full range of services related to the patient dental health care and well being (assessment, diagnosis, treatment etc.). The scope of practice for Denturists includes clinical work, but clearly delineates and draws distinctions between adjustment and/or alteration to natural teeth/tissues of the mouth, and appliances. Denturists work with prosthetic (artificial replacement) devices only. Dental technicians, by contrast, work in laboratories and are trained to make appliances for dentists. They have neither the clinical education nor the legislated mandate to work directly with patients."

See also


  1. American Academy of denturitry.denturist. (n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved March 04, 2007, from website: Chicago Manual Style (CMS): denturist. Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. (accessed: March 04, 2007). Modern Language Association (MLA): "denturist." Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 04 Mar. 2007. <>.
  3. American Psychological Association (APA): denturism. (n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved March 04, 2007, from website: Chicago Manual Style (CMS): denturism. Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. (accessed: March 04, 2007). Modern Language Association (MLA): "denturism." Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 04 Mar. 2007. <>.
  4. Abrams, SH (1997). "Denturists: do they really provide more affordable care in Ontario". Journal of the Canadian Dental Association. 63: 771–774.
  5. McCann D. Cameras capture unlicensed dentist. ADA News, July 15, 1991
  6. Williamson RT. College active in denturism fight. ACP Messinger 2(25):4, 1995
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