Tacoma, Wash. –Computer-aided design and manufacturing has become the next generation of dentistry, and Bates Technical College now has the state-of-the-art equipment that will give future dental lab technicians a reason to smile.

The CAD/CAM technology is the focus of the Dental Lab Technician program’s Open House on Dec. 9, 2-3 p.m. at the Downtown Campus, Room M224, 1101 S. Yakima Ave, in Tacoma.

Dental CAD/CAM allows dentists and lab technicians to customize appliances specifically for patients, with increased accuracy, a more precise fit, better aesthetics, and a quick turnaround for efficiency.

Matthew Chapman, owner of Chapman Dental Laboratory, Inc. in Tacoma, said, “Bates Technical College provides students with one of the best education opportunities in the dental field,” he said. “Bates is the only accredited dental laboratory program on the West Coast to implement the dental CAD/CAM education into their curriculum,” said Chapman, who added that the college can now offer CAD/CAM continuing education to those in the dental laboratory industry.

Dental lab program instructor Bob Criss noted that digital restorative dentistry is here to stay, and will be the standard going forward. “Our industry is telling us that CAD/CAM technology is a necessary tool for the 21st Century dental lab technician tool belt,” he said. “We are privileged to add this technology to our program and region. Keeping our curriculum relevant and meaningful to our students and the industry we serve remains a high priority. After all, as dental professionals, it is our goal to give the patient the most accurate fitting and esthetically-appealing restorations possible,” he added.

Co-instructor Kristina Merriman commented, “Not only will we attract students who enter the industry because they are drawn to the artistry involved in dental lab work, but it will now attract those who have an affinity for computer design or other computer-related work, though the artistry will always be a draw,” she said.

Students enrolled in the program learn to fabricate orthodontic appliances, complete and partial dentures, and gold or porcelain crowns and bridges. The program offers an Associate in Applied Science and a Certificate of Competency. It is the only American Dental Association-accredited dental lab technician program in Washington state.

To learn more about the Dental Lab Technician program, go to www.bates.ctc.edu/DentalLab, or call 253.680.7002.