navydds13

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I am interested in applying to orthodontic residency and would like your thoughts on whether or not I would be a competitive applicant.

I graduated dental school five years ago w/ 3.76 GPA (ranked 15/130). I excelled clinically in dental school and was selected to work in the AEGD department during my fourth year. I completed a formal AEGD my fist year out of dental school and have spent the last five years practicing as an active duty Navy dentist. For the last three years, I have worked part time (26hrs/month) in a private practice practicing comprehensive dentistry (ortho, implants, etc.). I consider myself to be a good dentist and enjoy dentistry.

When I left dental school, I did not have an interest in orthodontics. Experience in ortho in school was very limited. I have no research experience from BS or DDS programs. In general, I do not consider myself to be a good standardized test taker so I'm worried about the GRE, ADAT, etc. I am concerned that my lack of ortho interest in dental school has cost me the ability to get good letters of recommendation from ortho faculty.

For the record, I will be separating from the military so I will be applying to civilian programs. Here are a few other questions:

1) Does my military service help/hurt my chances of admission?
2) What are the best programs for me to apply to given the circumstances?
3) Other than study, study, study, what other things could I do to enhance my application?
4) Are letters of recommendations from mentors in dental school/residency valuable if they are not orthodontists?

Thank you for your time.
 
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FutureDent020

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I’m just going to address one part of your question. Recs from dental school faculty mean very little at this point and I think that’s a good thing. You are completely different than you were 5 years ago and probably for the better. If you have known for a year or so you want to specialize in ortho, you should have at least built a relationship with one ortho for a good rec and other commanding officers can go a long way. I remember when I was interviewing, the most eye catching letter I sent was from an O-5 General Dentist. But I also had to 2 endodontist as well. Some people get a letter from line officer CO’s, and I think that can carry weight as well. But I would scrap any dental school faculty letters, unless they are really good and you think would help. And most programs that “require faculty” don’t they just put that because they are dealing with dental students. Military recs are just as good if not better.
 
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gryffindor

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I’m far removed from the ortho residency process but it was my impression that being a dentist in the military would only help your application. It would be best if you could have orthodontists write your letters. They do not have to be the orthodontists from your dental school. Just that a letter from an orthodontist is probably better than one from your old operative instructor.
 

Big Time Hoosier

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Your military experience will likely be viewed as a plus at most programs. Do you have any research experience? Ortho programs seem to get hung up on an applicants research background. Letters of recommendation from people in the military will be fine. Only 1/4 of my letters came from dental school. It sucks, but putting in the time to do well on the GRE and ADAT will show you’re serious. Are you looking to apply this summer? Or do you have more time to prep your application?

Big Hoss
 
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navydds13

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I have ZERO research experience. Is it required to take both the GRE and the ADAT? It seems that most programs require GRE. I was hoping to apply this summer but realize that time is limited.
 

blablabla1

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I have ZERO research experience. Is it required to take both the GRE and the ADAT? It seems that most programs require GRE. I was hoping to apply this summer but realize that time is limited.

Research experience isn’t necessary, but it does strengthen your application. I matched with worse GPA and rank than you and my only research experience was some research assisting in undergrad. I only got asked about it in one interview

ADAT is unnecessary honestly, just score really well on the GRE to show programs you can still excel academically even after not being in school for a few years
 

mmc12

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At nearly all of my ortho interviews, I was asked about my research experience. In fact, in some programs, there was an entire interview panel devoted to just asking you about research.
 

gryffindor

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Back in the day, lots of people with strong stats got in with "resume research." As in they put something called "Research Experience" on their resume, but it wasn't anything remotely like proper scientific research conducted in a lab where you care about the results and wonder if you could publish. There was one guy a few years ahead of me in our lab one summer, he did't know anything and I remember having to show him everything about how a cellular research lab works. He was only there so it technically wouldn't be a lie to say he did "research" since he did set foot in the lab and messed with some pipettes. He matched that fall. These candidates were also very polished and could probably explain why their "resume research" was basically so important that they were on the brink of solving world hunger.

So that said, is there any mentor where you currently work either in the private practice or the Navy that might appreciate you pulling a bunch of journal articles and putting together a lit review? For the sake of "research"?
 

SirBrotherJam

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Has anyone ever heard of someone getting into ortho with a 3.22 GPA?
Not impossible but...
ice hockey longshot GIF by NHL
 
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gryffindor

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Has anyone ever heard of someone getting into ortho with a 3.22 GPA?
Are there buildings or lecture halls or clinics at your dental school with names on them that match your last name?

Serious answer, you won't know unless you apply.
 
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