Why CDT?

March 22, 1991

Marcus Ring, CDT

10201 Grosvenor Place

North Bethesda, MD 20852-4613

Dear Marcus,

It was with great interest that I read both your T&T article (with Ms. Stewart’s response) and your recent letter addressing the “CDT Status” issue.   I completely understand your objection to requiring our “brightest and best” to take the CDT exam. It is an insult to their integrity, ability, and competency. I understand because we have a similar problem here in Tennessee where nearly 50% of the population does not have a high school diploma. It is undignified for me to ask a 26 or 36 year old man if he would mind going back to high school or taking a GED, to prove he is not a moron, just so he can apply for the CDT exam! Hell, if he can fill out the application (without any serious spelling misteaks) that should be enough! Technicians everywhere will applaud your step skipping proposal. Especially the one who recently wrote to T&T opposing the CDT exam because he felt himself better tested by his accounts. He claims that when a dentist buys his work then he has passed the only test necessary! But why should he limit his “accounts” to just dentists. I know our “brightest and best” technicians are more than capable of delivering a better denture than some dentists. Perhaps we should let then skip the indignation of dental school and award them an MBA (Master of Bushwhacking Award). But I digress into sarcasm. My point is this. I don’t know where the CDT program got this “black eye”…this belief that becoming a CDT brings you up (or down) to a specific level of expertise- On the contrary, all it means is that you have passed a point of competency You are capable of doing competent work. Ideally, one achieves this through either formal education and/or a proper OJT program so that, within a reasonable time, one acquires enough knowledge and competency to take the CDT Exam. And I suppose there lies the proverbial “rub” Those with years of experience may feel a little ego bruising having to take this test with a bunch of “new kids”. They may feel they are taking a step backwards. This is NOT true. When an, octogenarian goes back to get a high school diploma this does not mean that he has suddenly acquired the necessary knowledge to ‘pass” or that he had to “prove” himself to his peers. He has not taken a step backward He has simply picked up a missing step. He does not seek honor! He gives honor…honor to the achievement…honor to the program…honor to those who have gone before him. I wish this were the attitude of our” brightest and best” non-CDT’s. I have never heard the NBC say that only CDT’s are competent. What they have said is anyone who is truly competent should be able to pass the CDT exam. As for what this level of competency entails, I would just as soon not open that can of worms. I wonder what kind of response you would get if, on graduation day, you asked the DDSs, MDs. MBAs, CPAs, PhDs, etc how competent they are. You should get a resounding. “Damn competent!” But, if you were to ask again ten years later how competent were they when they graduated. They might say, “In college I earned my degree; in the real world I learned my trade.” Competency does not start or stop with achieving CDT status it is NOT a beginning…NOT an end…just a step…a step worth taking…a step worth going back for. So, at what point does a technician achieve another level of competency? This will always be debatable. And yet, I do feel there is a need for some clarification. There is some confusion in the industry as to what CDT does encompass. I have met many doctors who did not know that CDTs were specialized into the various disciplines. To end this confusion that I would support another level of certification, Some type of designation for someone certified in multiple areas. For example. a Crown and Bridge CDT and Ceramics CDT would translate into a MFPT (Master of Fixed Prosthetics Technician). And a Complete Denture CDT and Partial Dentue CDT would achieve an MRPT (Master of Removable Prosthetics Technician). And someone who has garnered all four categories would be a MDPT (Master Dental Prosthetic Technician). But. there again, this could just add to the confusion. I also realize this is not what you seek because it falls within the framework of the CDT program and simply clarifies the status and is not a true upgrade. But I feel it is important that we stay the course with CDT. That we continue to upgrade and improve CDT testing, prerequisites, and renewal process. After all, we have come from “send us a sample of your work” to “sit down and show us what you can do’ and it has taken a lot of years, work, and money to achieve the recognition that the CDT program has today and I would hate to see CDT relegated to an entry level status. Nor do I relish the thought of our industry starting a “paper chase” for credentials.Those who are the “brightest and best” in our industry will continue to be recognized for their work and their professionalism. I implore you not to cast aside the CDT status as if it were something holding you down but to elevate it as symbol of quality for, accomplishment in, and dedication to the dental laboratory industry.

Sincerely yours,

Tim Lane, CDT