Shadowing Dentists for Dental School - How to Approach a Dentist & Helpful Tips

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in this video I'm going to go over the

first and the most important thing you

should do if you want to become a

dentist this is a topic I see a lot of

pre dentals have questions about so here

it is everything you need to know about

shadowing a dentist for dental school

I'll be talking about why shadowing is

important what's required how to reach

out to a dentist and I'll go over some

helpful tips to get the most out of your

shadowing experience this is the first

thing you should do because you're going

to need those observation hours anyway

and no matter where you are in your pre

dental journey whether that's high

school college or post college it's

never too soon to reach out to a dentist

and start getting those hours in this is

the most important thing you should do

because this is the best way to find out

if dentistry is really the career for


not only that any knowledge you gain is

great material for your application your

personal statement and your interviews

and everything you learn is a great head

start for dental school and becoming a


I loved my first shadowing experience so

much so that actually led to me becoming

a dental assistant and I have learned so

much from this experience and my passion

for dentistry has grown like a million

times over not only that but I've

learned the steps that go into fillings

root canals crowns extractions removable

prosthetics and I've learned the names

of instruments the numbers of the teeth

and many many other things that I know

will come handy in dental school so I

highly recommend getting a lot of

experience in dentistry so not only is

shadowing really important for you it's

also required so how much is required

well if you've seen any of my other

videos you probably know what I'm going

to say it depends on this

and each school is different to get an

idea of what you'll need here are some

examples o Hsu requires 50 hours of

observation 25 of which need to be with

the general dentist so the remaining can

be with any specialty that you choose

Tufts requires 75 hours 40 of which

should be with a general dentist and

then we have Loma Linda they just

require 50 hours these are the minimum

requirements but I recommend if you want

to be a competitive applicant shoot for

around a hundred hours and get quite a

bit with the general dentist and if you

have time and access spend some time

observing some specialties as well my

advice really is to just spend as much

time as you can in dentistry not only

for the hours that you'll have on your

application but for that experience that

you gain the knowledge that you gain in

the head start okay now let's talk about

how to approach a dentist and ask to

observe them most dentists take a pre

dental asking to shadow them as a high

compliment so don't be nervous

also good news is there's no pressure if

they say no or can't for whatever reason

just move on and ask the next dentist

first reach out to your own dentist

likely you'll be more comfortable with

them and maybe they already know that

you're a pre dental student this way

it'll be a lot less pressure asking if

you can observe and you'll feel more

comfortable asking questions and

hopefully getting more involved and your

dentist knows you better and can

hopefully write a more personal letter

of recommendation if asking your own

dentist isn't a possibility you

basically have two options one being

asked in person and to cold-call the

office I think both options are

completely fine option one asking in

person you'll walk into the dental

office and greet the receptionist nicely

remember to smile and you can say

something like good morning my name is

jasmine I'm actually a pre dental

student looking to get some

knowing experience I was hoping to set

up a day or two with dr. Phil possible

if the receptionist says that the

dentist is busy with patients which is

highly likely you can just let her know

thank you so much and offer your resume

with your contact information so dr.

Phil can hopefully get back to you

whenever it's convenient for him if the

dentist can come out and talk to you


remember be professional and smile and

you can say something like hi dr. Phil

I'm jasmine nice to meet you I'm a pre

dental student at PSU and I'm planning

on applying to dental school in a couple

years after you go through the greetings

you can ask dr. Phil if he'd allow you

to shadow him in the near future be

ready to offer your resume or your CV as

well he might ask if he says yes to

shadowing you can work out a day that

works best remember you should be

working around the dentist's schedule so

be flexible I recommend first setting up

one or two half days to start if that

goes well you can work out with the

dentist a more regular schedule option

two is to cold-call dental offices this

makes a lot of sense if transportation

between dental offices isn't as

convenient where you live or if you just

need to save time the format for this

will be pretty much the same as going

into the office but a lot shorter

because you'll be on the phone with the

receptionist and she or he is probably

short on time and needs to take other

calls and check in and out other

patients so when you call you just

introduce yourself you can say something

like hi my name is Jasmine I'm actually

not calling to set up an appointment I'm

calling because I'm a pre dental student

and I was hoping to set up a couple days

to shadow dr. Phil if possible again be

polite and professional and offer your

resume the receptionist will probably

let you know that the doctor will have

to get back to you so at that point you

just say thank you and that you're

looking forward to hearing back so now

you know why shadowing is important

what's required and how to reach out to

a dental office now I want to share with

you some tips that will hopefully help

you get the most out of your shadowing

experience tip number one is

practice your little speech practice

introducing yourself and letting people

know that you're a pre dental student

and what you're studying and just get

comfortable with talking to dental

professionals tip number two is call or

contact dental offices at times where

they're not so busy usually that's mid

morning between 10:00 or 11:00 you

definitely don't want to go in or call

first thing in the morning or in the

afternoon the third thing I want to say

is you might have to contact a lot of

dental offices to get one yes and that's

okay some things are just out of your

control tip number four is know your

availability and be flexible tip number

five is dress business casual at first

you'll want to treat this like a job

interview so tip number six is once you

got in and that first shadowing day done

you can ask the receptionist and other

staff things like what you should wear

if you can wear scrubs if the dentist

prefers half days for full days for you

to come in and observe and other things

like that that will help you blend in

and have a more successful shadowing

experience tip number seven is try to

shadow at multiple places you'd be

surprised at how much dental offices can

vary tip number eight is ask questions

and show that you're eager this dentist

is probably going to write you a letter

of recommendation so you'll really want

to show that you are passionate about

the field and this is a learning

opportunity for you take advantage of

that and my last tip is have fun be a

sponge soak up everything that you can

and really just take advantage of these

observation hours they're required and

it's really an opportunity for you to

learn and it's in your best interest to

get as much time in dentistry as

possible before you apply to dental

school so good luck to you all and I

will see you next week for another

dental video