Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I don’t have any experience as a dental technician or all my lab experience has had nothing to do with orthodontics.  Will I be able to learn from your DVDs?

A. Absolutely.  These DVDs are designed to teach anyone how to be an orthodontic technician regardless of your background.  No previous knowledge of dentistry is required.  The DVDs start with the basic terminology, equipment and materials used, and guide you through the processes step-by-step. Each DVD teaches you the theory behind the appliances (i.e. why you are doing things, not just how to do them) so that you can apply your knowledge and be able to make decisions when necessary.  With the training provided, you should be able to start your own commercial orthodontic laboratory if you desire.  Our technical support will help you if you get stuck or feel unsure.  We encourage you to read the DVD reviews page and the testimonials section of our website for additional assurance.

Q. I already have experience in orthodontic lab work. Will your DVDs help me?

A. Yes, even advanced technicians can learn from the processes Jay shows and improve their skills and knowledge. Many experienced technicians have professed a marked improvement in the quality of their work and production time after using our DVDs. The 10 more advanced DVDs assume that the technician has already mastered the basic technical skills.

Q. How long will it take me to learn how to be an orthodontic technician?

A. There are basically 5 skills involved in orthodontic technology: plaster work, waxing,  acrylic work, soldering and wire bending. Of these, plaster work, waxing, and acrylic work are quickly learned and mastered--within a few weeks. Soldering generally takes several tries but also is quickly learned. The most frustrating part of the work is learning to bend wire.  Everyone can learn. Although I have seen no one who can perfectly bend a wire on their first try, generally speaking, anyone should be able to produce actual work (appliances) within just a few days. Your first retainer may take several hours to make. A proficient technician can make approximately two retainers in an hour.  While practice, of course, will steadily improve your production time, it may take about a year to get to be fully proficient. Generally, it takes no longer than this for anyone to become a good and proficient technician. Once the basic skills are mastered, all appliances are built using these same skills applied in different ways as shown on the DVDs.  The first 10 titles and the In-Office Lab Tutor DVDs are more in depth in teaching the basic skills while the other 10 titles assume the basic skills are already mastered.

Q. How much can I make as an orthodontic technician?

A.   In today’s market, a basic retainer (the most common of orthodontic appliances) will generally sell at about $55-$65, depending on clasping and design and marketing area. This work is very labor intensive and the basic retainer will have no more than $2-$3 in materials.
A proficient technician can readily produce $750-$1000 or more in work per day without working long hours and even allowing for a mishap or two and those inevitable phone calls.  Our entire DVD series could be paid for with about 25-30 sets of retainers, less than one week’s work for a proficient technician. 

Q. Wouldn’t it be better to learn from a hands-on workshop or seminar?

A. Not necessarily. We used to conduct hands-on seminars and have even taken some hands-on courses but here are the problems we repeatly experienced. Hands-on courses generally are a weekend or 3-4 day affair at best in which you generally make one type of appliance. Most of your time during the course is spent working to make this one appliance. When you go home, you have your memory, a few notes, an example to go by which is generally not that good an example--being your first attempt--and maybe a booklet with a few pictures, often not of particularly good quality due to the extreme costs of printing quality photos.  It may be a few days or a few weeks before you are called upon to make that appliance and inevitably, questions and doubts arise while trying to duplicate the processes you’ve seen and performed only once.
Even the brightest of us needs repetition to fully retain what we learn. Studies have determined that we only retain about 10% after hearing something just once!  If this were not true, we’d all be able to graduate from college just a few months after starting first grade!   After creating the DVDs, we quit offering hands-on courses because we could not provide a better education at a better price!  While Great Lakes still offers hands-on courses in New York, it requires hundreds of dollars to attend a course to learn just one or two appliances, and then there are travel and hotel and food expenses, as well as the inherent problems of retention we just discussed.  For what it would cost to attend one or two seminars for one person, we can offer practically our entire vocational education series to be used over and over for best retention and to train as many people as one desires!  When you compare the DVD costs with that of any vocational school or training seminar, you will see that we offer quite a bargain!
The DVD series is also a valuable asset to the laboratory library. CDT’s can use the DVDs to fulfill part of their continuing education requirements. If you haven’t made a certain type of appliance in months, you need merely to refresh your memory by watching the DVD showing step-by-step construction. And who better to learn from than the top technician in the U.S.?  In addition, our free technical support allows you the peace of mind of knowing you can address virtually any question or problem that might occur.  To be honest with you, we rarely address technical problems because Jay did such a good job of teaching on the DVDs!  That is the main reason we can offer technical support for free.
Even a laboratory needing to cross train their employees will often spend more money for the trainer’s time in training than the cost of the DVD to provide the same or better training with the potential to repeat, repeat, repeat for best retention. And once again, using the hands-on trainer, only one person has been trained, multiplying that cost for each new trainee.  These DVDs are best utilized at the workbench providing the most in-depth, most complete training available on the market today.

Q. Would I be better off going to dental tech school?

A. As far as dental technical schools go, often there is very little emphasis put on orthodontics. While there is a broader range of training, much time being spent on dentures, partial dentures, or crown and bridge, generally the problem is that an instructor cannot teach effectively what he does not know.  Few instructors have any orthodontic training at all.  Many dental and dental tech schools have purchased our DVDs or at least a few titles to enable them to teach students specifically interested in orthodontics but even those schools generally leave the burden of the study time devoted to ortho to the student--along with their regular studies required.  Annual surveys conducted by LMT (Lab Management Today) have shown repeatedly that orthodontic technology work pays a higher return than these other specialities and requires less investment in equipment and supplies to start a laboratory. 

Q. What if I have questions after watching a DVD?

A. Just call for technical support and we will be happy to assist you any way we possibly can.

Q. If I order just one DVD and then decide I’d like to get the rest of them, will you still honor the set discount price?

A. Yes, provided you order the rest of the DVDs within the length of time we’ve offered that discount. We deduct what you’ve paid from the discounted price and add appropriate shipping charges.

Q. What can I charge my customers for the appliances and where do I get my supplies?

A. Our support staff can offer suggestions for pricing information and can refer you to several companies who offer orthodontic supplies. We will try to recommend the best products that we used in our laboratory and will make every effort to direct you to their source.

Q. What exactly will your “technical support” provide for me?

A. We will help in any way we can.  It’s that simple. We have had the experience of not only being the beginning learner but have operated and managed a full-service orthodontic laboratory serving literally hundreds of accounts, all wanting their work their way!  We have faced many problems and encountered lots of challenges.  Our technical support has helped in areas regarding appliance design, in preparing the technician to discuss a case with their customer, marketing ideas, lab pricing information, interviewing and hiring new trainees, and has even helped with prescription design and repair policy suggestions. In short, if hearing about our experience can help you, we are glad to pass on what we have learned.  We do not claim to be the “be-all, know-all” of this industry but do have considerable experience and knowledge that we are delighted to share.  So once again, our “technical support” means we will try to help you address any question you might have regarding orthodontic technology or running a laboratory. 

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