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Forum Category: General Dentistry

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Finding a dentist to shadow

One of our newest members is asking THE NEXTDDS user community for assistance in finding a dentist to shadow. What resources did you use to find this type of resource prior to or during dental school? How did you network to find a suitable opportunity? Looking forward to your feedback!
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Finding a dentist to shadow

10:23 AM | Oct 21,2017
I found that asking faculty members for recommendations was more productive than searching on my own, as school faculty generally know specialists and general dentists who either used to teach at the school, or who are generally very open practitioners, who would be more inclined to teach visiting students more about practice and what to expect after graduation. I highly recommend this method, as I have learned so much from my experiences shadowing a former professor.

Finding a dentist to shadow

07:36 AM | Apr 27,2017
These are all great ways to find a dentist to shadow. I do not have any family members in dentistry so that initial connection to dentists does not exist. I found getting involved in the state dental association to be extremely helpful in finding dentists to shadow and seeking out mentors. Most members of the association are more than glad to help students in any way possible. I have heard often local dentists eager to have a student to show them all their work and what they do. Before dental school, I would give out "cold calls" to find shadowing opportunities. In this method, you will get a variety of dentists or specialists who practice completely different. It is a nervous, exciting blind date. Best of luck!

Finding a dentist to shadow

04:46 PM | Feb 12,2017
Prior to starting dental school, I scrubbed instruments for an oral surgeon around where I lived. An oral surgeon who does a lot of in-office sedations are a great source for shadowing or part-time summer jobs (since a lot of people get their wisdom teeth removed in the summer). Even if you are interested in general dentistry and not necessarily oral surgery, the experience is still very beneficial. These connections will also be very helpful in the application process and for letters of recommendation. Throughout dental school, it is important to continue to shadow dentists and specialists in a field you may be interested in. Sometimes connections can be the most important aspect of your post-grad application or resume.

Finding a dentist to shadow

10:15 PM | Jul 17,2016
If you have a cousin or parent who is a dentist, it's easy to rely on the expertise of this person alone. I think it's a great idea, especially for those with family members who are dentists, to shadow others. Shadowing other dentists will allow you to diversify your understanding of dental practice and how much each dentist can differ in their method of practice.

Finding a dentist to shadow

09:23 PM | May 18,2016
I highly recommend shadowing different private practice dentists throughout your dental school experience. All of us have shadowed dentists in private practice prior to entering dental school. However, once in dental school, many of us find ourselves too busy to continue this practice. While we have the ability to shadow a variety of faculty from all different fields right at the dental school, faculty may have been out of private practice for decades. By continuing to shadow private practice dentists, we can stay up to date on current trends in the job market, advancing technology, and advice on running a business. Shadowing faculty is a phenomenal resource, just don't forget to keep with the different perspectives.

Finding a dentist to shadow

12:37 PM | May 09,2016
I looked up all the dentists within a mile or two from where i was staying my freshman year and i went to everyone of them to see if i can shadow, assist or even hire me on the weekends. Every dentist i went to were happy to let me shadow but one was willing to hire me on the weekends. shadowing is a great opportunity to learn the ins and out of the business as well as the patient relationship.

Finding a dentist to shadow

12:37 PM | May 09,2016
I looked up all the dentists within a mile or two from where i was staying my freshman year and i went to everyone of them to see if i can shadow, assist or even hire me on the weekends. Every dentist i went to were happy to let me shadow but one was willing to hire me on the weekends. shadowing is a great opportunity to learn the ins and out of the business as well as the patient relationship.

Finding a dentist to shadow

01:25 PM | Apr 02,2016
The suggestions and advice listed below are all great. However, if you are not currently living in your hometown, for instance due to school or work, you may not have access to your own dentist or a familiar network. In this scenario, it is best to reach out to a number of dentists, and just remain persistent. It is important to not feel discouraged if the first couple of requests are denied - those dentists may have their personal reasons for not allowing anyone to shadow. Another tip for increasing your success is to drop by offices to ask in person, rather than via telephone. These recommendations, in addition to those listed below, should guarantee that you are able to find at least one dentist (if not more!) to observe.

Finding a dentist to shadow

12:14 AM | Dec 18,2015
I definitely agree with the above comments. I strongly believe that shadowing is an incredible opportunity that people often underestimate. I would recommend starting with your own dentist. You have a relationship already established. Use this time wisely, however. Go into the office enthusiastic about learning and ask questions if you have any. I would highly suggest jotting down some notes of interesting things you’ve seen during that day, so that when you go home you can further research and supplement your shadowing. Additionally, I think quality over quantity is more important. It’s better to shadow one individual multiple times than several doctors only once. This applies for both during dental school and before. If you are interested in or considering specializing, I would recommend using your dentist’s connections. Ask who they refer too and reach out to that specialist asking to come in and shadow. Best of luck!

Finding a dentist to shadow

05:15 PM | Dec 17,2015
Shadowing is what confirmed my desire to pursue dentistry as well. I had the privilege of shadowing my own dentist, which I felt was a great experience. I have been going to this dentist for many years, and it was a very easy connection to be made, being the most natural. When shadowing, my dentist took the time to explain procedures to me that I had not yet understood, but had a great interest to learn. I started to understand the value in patient communication, as well as practice management. I also had the opportunity to shadow various residency programs at the nearest dental school, which was Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine. While there, I shadowed in the GPR, orthodontic, periodontics, and pediatric dental residencies, as well as the fourth year clinic. I found shadowing at Stony Brook to be very helpful in different ways than what I saw in private practice. Being that these were residents and students, I was able to ask them further details about their pre-dental and dental school experience. I received numerous tips on studying for the DAT, writing my personal statement, and the application and interview process. Even though I am already in dental school now, I still believe it is very important to shadow older dental students and dentists in private practice. With every experience, I learn more and more regarding various aspects of dentistry that I would not have thought about otherwise. My shadowing experiences have been invaluable, and I plan to continue to do this to expand my knowledge outside of what I am directly learning in dental school.

Finding a dentist to shadow

12:37 AM | Sep 28,2015
Shadowing several dentists is a very important aspect of applying to dental school. It was one of my most enjoyable memories of the entire pre-dental process, because I shadowed incredibly talented and passionate dentists. It not only confirmed my decision to apply to dental school, but made me excited to join a career with amazing people. Seeking out a dentist to shadow is not difficult, but finding a dentist who enjoys teaching and sharing the joy of dentistry takes some work. First and foremost, talk with your colleagues. Ask them about dentists they have shadowed. This is a great way to connect with dentists who have already worked with pre-dental students and enjoy doing so. If you volunteer at any local dental clinics, get to know the dentists who volunteer there. Most of those dentists would be more than happy to have you shadow them. Most importantly, shadow your dentist. The first dentist I shadowed was my very own dentist. Regardless of the route you take, I encourage you all to find dentists who share the same enthusiasm as you do with dentistry - your shadowing experience will be phenomenal if you do!