ASDF 686

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I have read that a huge part getting into dental school is experience. So how are you getting it, shadowing? volunteering? Or actually working in a dentistry?
 

cobalt31

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i only did 50 hrs of shadowing a few months before i applied and i've gotten lots of interviews at top schools. its just important that you have some meaningful exposure to the profession and a convincing argument for why you want to do it.
 

MissionDental

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i only did 50 hrs of shadowing a few months before i applied and i've gotten lots of interviews at top schools. its just important that you have some meaningful exposure to the profession and a convincing argument for why you want to do it.

I agree, started shadowing/working as a paid dental assistant a few months before submitting aadsas app.
 
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Ortho88

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It would be very beneficial to your dental apps. It shows that you've tested the waters and you'll be regarded as a serious student who will graduate instead a slack.

I'm currently a freshman in a CC. I work as a dental assistant, x-ray tech, and running an dent. office for about 1 yr now.

You probably don't have to run an office, but just work/volunteer at a clinic.

Advice: Cold call any dentist and tell them that you're an aspiring dentist and would like to work / do anything at their office. Most likely, they will allow you to observe and sometimes work for them. You'll be surprised what you are going to get. Just remember to keep networking with these dentist cuz you'll need a letter of rec for dent. school.
 

Contach

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Re: Dental assisting...
What qualifies you (as an undergraduate student with no professional training) to work or help in a healthcare setting? Do you think that your pursuit for experience in the dental field, in this hands-on manner, could in a way hinder the level of care the patient could receive if the patient is in the hands of a paid dental assistant whose objectives are to, primarily, help patients?

I think shadowing is much safer.
 

MissionDental

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Re: Dental assisting...
What qualifies you (as an undergraduate student with no professional training) to work or help in a healthcare setting? Do you think that your pursuit for experience in the dental field, in this hands-on manner, could in a way hinder the level of care the patient could receive if the patient is in the hands of a paid dental assistant whose objectives are to, primarily, help patients?

I think shadowing is much safer.

How much training does one need to learn to hold a suction or make an impression? If you're bright and a quick learner...it shouldn't take too much time/training.
 

Epictetus21

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Re: Dental assisting...
What qualifies you (as an undergraduate student with no professional training) to work or help in a healthcare setting? Do you think that your pursuit for experience in the dental field, in this hands-on manner, could in a way hinder the level of care the patient could receive if the patient is in the hands of a paid dental assistant whose objectives are to, primarily, help patients?

I think shadowing is much safer.

There is an extremely low risk that anything an assistant does is going to affect the level of care that a patient receives. They simply hand things to the dentist and hold the suction and water hoses. The thought that anyone could be under qualified to be a dental assistant is laughable, especially if you have spent even just a few days in a dental office. Patients are rarely, if ever, "in the hands" of an assistant. Hygienists and dentists do all of the invasive work. I know that some dentists will train their assistants to do a few things, but I highly doubt that they will allow a predent to do any of that.

To the OP: for what it's worth, I've worked as a dental lab technician for the past year, and it has come up in every interview that I have had so far (in a very positive way).
 

DiNoZeRo2o9

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I've been assisting for over a year now full-time. You guys are underestimating the value of assisting, especially full-time. You learn the ins and outs of dentistry and do a lot more than hold a suction and hand instruments. You basically run the office as an assistant. You manage your back-office supplies/budget, keep things up to par with safety regulations, take X-rays, you are the first and last person each patient sees so your bed-side manner must be top notch, do tedious work that will make dental school a breeze (impressions, study models, temporary crowns, etc.), you get the picture. So far at all my interviews my interviewers are very impressed with the amount of dental knowledge and terminology I possess, which I gained all from assisting.
 

Oracle DMD

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the best thing you could do for yourself his WORK at a dental office. shadowing is kinda useless. you stand out of the way watching and not learning. jump in! it's easy and you can aquire skills along the way. then you'll understand the process of the procedures which will really help you in d-school. another thing that will help you out a bunch is working at a lab. either way, you will find yourself far ahead of your peers in the clinical arena!
 

DRHOYA

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I've been assisting for over a year now full-time. You guys are underestimating the value of assisting, especially full-time. You learn the ins and outs of dentistry and do a lot more than hold a suction and hand instruments. You basically run the office as an assistant. You manage your back-office supplies/budget, keep things up to par with safety regulations, take X-rays, you are the first and last person each patient sees so your bed-side manner must be top notch, do tedious work that will make dental school a breeze (impressions, study models, temporary crowns, etc.), you get the picture. So far at all my interviews my interviewers are very impressed with the amount of dental knowledge and terminology I possess, which I gained all from assisting.

Exactly.:thumbup:
 

LWDavis

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I'm an ortho clinical asst. I do EVERYTHING except make the final call on bracket placement lol! And I must admit that I'm a beast with my placement, but I make 13 per hour and he makes over 800,000 per year.
 

DiNoZeRo2o9

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I'm an ortho clinical asst. I do EVERYTHING except make the final call on bracket placement lol! And I must admit that I'm a beast with my placement, but I make 13 per hour and he makes over 800,000 per year.


13 an hour is insanely low, especially for an ortho assistant who does most of the work.
 
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armorshell

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I've been assisting for over a year now full-time. You guys are underestimating the value of assisting, especially full-time. You learn the ins and outs of dentistry and do a lot more than hold a suction and hand instruments. You basically run the office as an assistant. You manage your back-office supplies/budget, keep things up to par with safety regulations, take X-rays, you are the first and last person each patient sees so your bed-side manner must be top notch, do tedious work that will make dental school a breeze (impressions, study models, temporary crowns, etc.), you get the picture. So far at all my interviews my interviewers are very impressed with the amount of dental knowledge and terminology I possess, which I gained all from assisting.

I was an assistant for a year, and it really helped me stay ahead of my class for the 3 days of dental school that everything I learned mattered.
 

vamosbears

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I've been a DA for about a year now at an endo office. Although we only do root canals I have learned a lot about how to run a dental practice, the teamwork that it takes, and especially, dealing with patients coming in with a lot of pain, anxiety, and just plain clueless about what a root canal is. I get a chance to educate the patient so I have a lot of bed side manner experience under my belt.

I definitely recommend it. In my case I was going to apply to med school when I switch over to dental and this job gave me a lot of experience.
 

Enso

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I was an assistant for a year, and it really helped me stay ahead of my class for the 3 days of dental school that everything I learned mattered.

I think you're missing the point.

I was in a personal meeting last week with a pre-health advisor who happens to be in a dental admissions committee.

From his words to my ears- "Assisting is an excellent way to stand out and showcase your interest for dentistry. We look at those things and regard them very highly. I recommend this for you."
 

Molar007

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Hi, I called a couple of dentists and they all said that they cannot allow me to observe them because of HIPAA regulations. The HIPAA regulations are for protecting the privacy of patient information.
I wanted to get your suggestions -
1. How you guys were able to observe dentists?
2. How to prepare for the bench [practical] exams in the interview process?
 

PreDent08

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just keep calling more dentists. there are a lot that will let u observe. i started observing, then volunteered as a dental assistant doing minor things such as suctioning and mixing IRM or fugi cement etc., then as i got more experienced i eventually got paid. that is usually the trend. hopefully u will get to eventually polish a patient's teeth. that is the most exciting thing to me cuz that's when i actually feel like a dentist.
 

dent2009

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No need to do dental assisting. I think there might be a stat in the ADEA book about how many people have advanced degrees, dental certification (maybe), etc. If i'm not mistaken, very few out of the 4500 or so that accepted each year have done any dental work outside of shadowing/volunteering. Do it if you're really driven or unless your GPA/DAT are subpar. It certainly can't hurt.
 

enfuego

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From his words to my ears- "Assisting is an excellent way to stand out and showcase your interest for dentistry. We look at those things and regard them very highly. I recommend this for you."

I guess it depends on the school. I also spoke with an admissions officer at a dental school, and he said research experience looks better than assisting. And this was not from a research school.




For those of you who started off shadowing and worked your way up to assisting, how many time per week did you shadow/observe? It seems like if you're only shadowing one day per week, you'd have to be with the same office for a while to work your way up.
 

dRdNs

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i had about 20 hours of shadowing and also was able to put down another 20 hours from my "intro to dent" class. definitely recommend taking that class if your school offers it. we had about 10 lecturers, at least one from every specialty, speak to us about their lives as dentists. also had the associate dean of admissions come in and talk to us about the whole application process. one hour a week for lecture and one hour a week we worked in lab, basically just waxing and festooning. gave me a great outlook on dentistry as a profession.
 

blondiegurlkg

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For those of you who started off shadowing and worked your way up to assisting, how many time per week did you shadow/observe? It seems like if you're only shadowing one day per week, you'd have to be with the same office for a while to work your way up.

I shadowed at one office once a week for a semester (all day b/c I didn't have classes that day). After my second or third day I started helping sterilize and breakdown/setup rooms (partly b/c shadowing all day gets BORING!!). I memorized the name of all the instruments and materials, and by about my 5th day the doctor let me assist very simple restorative with an assistant next to me to help. I ended up with a little more than 100 hours in that office, and about 4 hours of chairside assisting. That was enough to convince another dentist to hire me as an assistant and train me for all the rest. In Missouri I'm allowed to take x-rays, polish, make and cement temp crowns, and other pretty cool stuff :D

I think the first DDS let me assist b/c he saw that I was competent with setting up rooms and sterilizing. I asked the other assistants TONS of questions, but made sure to write stuff down so I could memorize it later. All around a very valuable experience for me--I make a lot more money assisting than I did in any other job, I love it, and I'm getting a little bit of a head start for dental school next semester!
 

ToothyMcGee

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I've been an assistant for 4 years, since I was 18 and its been amazing. The first dentist that I worked for taught me everything he could. During procedures he would tell me all the terms for things and tell why things were happening and what you can do about it. He was so helpful and now he is like family to me. He has given me a beaming LOR which I think really helped my application along with the assisting experience.:)
 
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