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Difference between dental shadowing and assisting

phamdmd

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Aug 29, 2007
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  1. Pre-Dental
    What is the difference between these two terms? How come on people's application the hours are different? Is assisting suctioning, handing him stuff, like gluma, composite, light cure? While, shadowing is just standing behind him(while the RDA does her job)? Thanks.
     

    NewMexDent

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    Jun 29, 2007
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    Provo, UT
    1. Pre-Dental
      Shadowing is standing for several hours trying to catch a peek at what the dentist is actually doing while feeling the overwhelming urge to just sleep.

      Assisting is dynamically helping the dentist while he performs a procedure and is interesting and won't make one sleepy.
       
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      Danny0230

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      Aug 23, 2007
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        Do dental schools care which you do? Just as long as you do either, you have enough experience?

        No dental schools will require you or expect you to assist. Assisting requires you to take classes and is an actual job. Assisting is definitely a postive because it gives you good experience and you probably learn alot, but I bet only a small percentage of applicants have actually assisted.

        Schools will definitely expect you to shadow, but shadowing is ridiculously easy.
         

        Saddleshoes

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          Here is my feeling on that one, has a working dentist.

          If your coming to my clinic I will let you work as a dental assistant for a prescribed period of time. During that time I will train you to be a tolerable dental assistant. You will learn the basics of dentistry up close, both the good and the bad.

          Please don't come to me and ask "shadow". I take "shadowing" to mean looking over my shoulder, getting in the way, asking stupid questions and pretending to my my friend so you can pad your dental school resume. I simply don't have time or the temperament for that kind of foolishness.

          I am sure the thing that made me stand out as a prospective dentist was the year I spent working as a dental assistant in a clinic for the indigent in my college community. Where I worked with 3 dentists, 4 assistants and a hygienist and learned dentistry from the ground up.
           

          vert

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          Dec 15, 2007
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          1. Pre-Dental
            Here is my feeling on that one, has a working dentist.

            If your coming to my clinic I will let you work as a dental assistant for a prescribed period of time. During that time I will train you to be a tolerable dental assistant. You will learn the basics of dentistry up close, both the good and the bad.

            Please don't come to me and ask "shadow". I take "shadowing" to mean looking over my shoulder, getting in the way, asking stupid questions and pretending to my my friend so you can pad your dental school resume. I simply don't have time or the temperament for that kind of foolishness.

            I am sure the thing that made me stand out as a prospective dentist was the year I spent working as a dental assistant in a clinic for the indigent in my college community. Where I worked with 3 dentists, 4 assistants and a hygienist and learned dentistry from the ground up.

            don't you need schooling to work as an assistant?

            I thought there were colleges that offered diplomas for dental assisting.. perhaps i am mistaken? :confused:

            thanks,

            -- vert
             

            swtcatastrophe

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              don't you need schooling to work as an assistant?

              I thought there were colleges that offered diplomas for dental assisting.. perhaps i am mistaken? :confused:

              thanks,

              -- vert

              i thought this also. i helped a dentist by mixing composites, developing xrays, seating patients, and answering the phones. i put it on my app as a combination of assisting and shadowing because i didn't know which was more accurate. are dental hygienists the ones who have degrees? is an assistant something i can do in my year off if i don't get in this year?
               

              jigabodo

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              Mar 13, 2006
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              1. Dentist
                i thought this also. i helped a dentist by mixing composites, developing xrays, seating patients, and answering the phones. i put it on my app as a combination of assisting and shadowing because i didn't know which was more accurate. are dental hygienists the ones who have degrees? is an assistant something i can do in my year off if i don't get in this year?

                I think you need a BS to be a dental hygenist.
                 

                bodiddely

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                  There are degrees in hygiene from the associates to the masters level, though I'm pretty sure the scope of practice is the same for all three, an RDH is an RDH (I'm waiting for them to start offering D.D.H. degrees!)

                  For assisting, most community colleges offer 9ish month courses to get certified by the "National Board of Dental Assisting" or some other similarly named body, but I don't think certification allows you to do anything that on the job training wouldn't.

                  And yes shadowing is pretty boring for the most part after you've seen each procedure performed once or twice.
                   

                  bisconito

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                    I have both assisted and shadowed in dentistry, and I find that assisting is much more beneficial for two reasons:
                    1) By being part of a patient's care, I learned much more about diagnosis and treatment. The doctors were also more inclined to enlighten me about the issues.
                    2) Not only do you learn a lot of clinical skills (from preparing media to learning differences between equipment), you get to see much more from the assistant's chair than over a doctor's shoulder.
                    The only problem is that finding positions to assist are pretty tough, but some free clinics are always in need of help.

                    P.S. Some dental schools like to see that you are not squeamish about the oral cavity because you have already dived in!
                     

                    kd87

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                    Jan 18, 2008
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                    1. Pre-Veterinary
                      don't you need schooling to work as an assistant?

                      I thought there were colleges that offered diplomas for dental assisting.. perhaps i am mistaken? :confused:

                      thanks,

                      -- vert
                      Schools offer those programs to make money, pretty much. It's the same with Pharmacy Technicians. The schools offer months of "hands on training" which will assist you in getting certifications. However, you can work as an assistant (or a pharm tech, as above) without the schooling and without the certs. You can get the knowledge you need just by working there.
                       
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