What Dentists Should Know About Certification

About NBC

Welcome to the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology (NBC). The National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology is the independent board founded by the National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL). It was formed in 1955 as an independent certification organization dedicated to improving the quality of dental laboratory technology through voluntary testing and certification of dental laboratories and technicians. Today, the NBC, the NADL and the Foundation for Dental Laboratory Technology, work to advance the dental laboratory technology profession.


Today the NBC has over 5,500 active Certified Dental Technicians (CDT), 200 active Certified Dental Laboratories (CDL), and 350 Recognized Graduates (RG). This page has been created to explain the process to clinicians and other team members of the oral health care team as well as stress the importance of hiring and/or working with a Certified Dental Technician (CDT) and a Certified Dental Laboratory (CDL). The certification process is explained and details all of the requirements to obtain and retain it. CDTs and CDLs bring security and stability due to the standards set forth by the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology (NBC).

This page will provide resources for you to look up CDTs in your area, understand the standards CDTs must abide by, understand the necessity of continuing education and learn about our advocacy for the industry.

What is Certification?

The National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology is the certifying body for dental laboratory technicians. The CDT program has met international standards for certification programs according to the standards set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Working with a Certified Dental Technician or a Certified Dental Laboratory enables you to know that you are working with someone who wants to provide the best to you and your patients. Most state dental practice acts do not regulate or set standards for operation for dental laboratories or dental technicians. It is important to work with individuals and organizations that have voluntarily achieved "third party verification" of their skills, knowledge and operating standards.

NBC's Adherence to Standards

While dental laboratories and technicians are required to adhere to certain regulatory standards, voluntary certification programs are not regulated by any government body. However, there are organizations that exist to ensure that certification programs themselves set minimum standards. These standards address the structure/governance of the certifying agency, the details of the program, program transparency, information available to certificate holders and the public, and the recertification policies and procedures. A dental technician, who achieves certification, has demonstrated both comprehensive knowledge and applied skills in dental laboratory technology. CDTs are knowledgeable about the proper use of dental materials so that only those materials compatible with the dental prescription are used. Every step of the manufacturing process is infection controlled to protect the patient, the dentist and the dental laboratory technician.

Information on Our Standards

What is a Certified Dental Technician?

The CDT designation is a great achievement and demonstrates a significant mastery of the knowledge and applied skills needed in dental laboratory technology. Individuals achieving this designation have demonstrated a competency not all of their peers will achieve. The CDT designation illustrates a technician's commitment to the field of dental technology and demonstrates their knowledge in all seven specialty areas. The pride of earning a CDT is personally rewarding and the CDT designation places the certificant among a group of individuals who are at the top of the dental technology profession.

CDTs and RGs have not only demonstrated competency, but they have shown determination and commitment in completing the certification process. This value is affirmed by statistics that show almost two-thirds of CDTs have held their certificate more than 10 years. Today's CDTs are dedicated individuals who believe strongly in improving themselves and their profession.

The extensive knowledge gained by the CDT and RG during the required continuing education process assures the dentist, laboratory owner and the public that this individual is a true student of the profession with a solid commitment to remain at the cutting edge of his or her field.

Interested in finding a CDT in your area or want to verify a CDT? Please visit our CDT/RG Directory to find a technician near you.

Click Here for the CDT/RG Directory Page

What are Certified Dental Laboratories?

The Certified Dental Laboratory (CDL) program provides assurance that a laboratory has met specific standards relating to quality assurance, safety and business manufacturing practices. By earning and maintaining the CDL designation, a dental laboratory is always monitoring and attempting to improve the quality and efficiency of their services and facilities.

The CDL is recognized by the National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL), the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP). It also receives outstanding support and participation from US military services.

This designation requires stringent infection control and case management standards with a requirement of having at least one Certified Dental Technician employed at the laboratory. Many program changes over the last few years have made the CDL Program stronger than ever.

Interested in finding a CDL? Please visit our CDL Directory to find a certified laboratory near you.

Click Here for the CDL Directory Page

Dedication to Continuing Education

In order to retain certification, CDTs are required to apply annually to the NBC for renewal. To qualify for renewal, the CDT must attest that he or she has complied with the laws governing the practice of dental technology and dentistry in the applicable state and must submit proof of specific continuing education.

CDTs must accumulate at least twelve (12) hours of continuing education during the one-year renewal cycle. Those requirements include:

  • 1 hour of Regulatory Standards credit; Regulatory Standards covers a wide variety of courses determined to keep the technician apprised of important regulations within the industry. Regulatory Standards credits can be earned through instruction on any of the following topics: OSHA/Infection Control; QS/GMP (quality systems/good manufacturing processes); HIV/AIDS; Material Science; Ergonomics; HIPAA; Hazard Communication, Bloodborne Pathogen Standards, Emergency Action Plans, Respiratory Protection, Lockout/Tagout or PPE.
  • 6 hours of Scientific/Technical credit; Documented Scientific credits include scientific and technical courses or clinics. At least three hours of documented Scientific credits must be earned through NBC-approved courses. ADA CERP and AGD PACE approved scientific or technical courses are considered to be NBC-approved.
  • 5 hours may be any of the following; Regulatory Standards, Scientific, or Professional Development credit Continuing education requirements are required to ensure CDTs are constantly at the forefront of the industry. CDTs will be able to adapt to the industry year after year because they are constantly learning and developing their knowledge base and skillsets.

Transparency and Advocacy in Dentistry

"What's in Your Mouth", by the National Association of Dental Laboratories aims to raise awareness regarding the important role and value of the dental laboratory and a trained and educated dental technician as part of the dental restorative team. Dentists and patients should know where their dental restorations are coming from, who is making them and what materials are used in the process.

Poorly-made dental restorations - whether made in America or abroad - can lead to a range of health consequences for patients, and in turn, legal consequences for dentists. Growing demand for dental work in America has created a market that features both high-end and economy-priced work.

Dental restorations increasingly are being imported from countries like China, India and Vietnam. Depending on the country, those dental laboratories may not be subject to the same scrutiny that domestic laboratories receive from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Domestic labs remain unregulated in more than 40 states.

To ensure better outcomes for safe dental restorations, it is extremely important that dentists and patients have a full understanding of where their dental restorations are coming from and what materials are used in the process.

Click Here to Visit the What's in Your Mouth Page

We can help the way your association works. click here. Website Design and Management by: