How many hours did you shadow by the time you were accepted?

  • 0-15 hours

    Votes: 22 28.9%
  • 16-30 hours

    Votes: 8 10.5%
  • 31-45 hours

    Votes: 3 3.9%
  • 46-60 hours

    Votes: 5 6.6%
  • 61-75 hours

    Votes: 6 7.9%
  • 76-90 hours

    Votes: 4 5.3%
  • 90+ hours

    Votes: 28 36.8%

  • Total voters
    76

David1991

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May 26, 2009
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Hey guys, I'd just like to get some input from people who have been accepted into Dental school already. How many hours did you shadow by the time you were accepted?

Also, if you know, about how many volunteer hours did you put in?

I'm currently a freshman in college, with 15 hours of shadowing done over my winter break so far and I plan on volunteering at Princeton hospital this summer.


Thanks
 

mike3kgt

Hopefully scuba diving
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Jul 14, 2004
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Dude, "shadowing" gets out of control these days. I think I had lunch with a dentist and hung out at his office for like 4 hours to watch what he did.

Seriously, you could lie to the ADCOMS and tell them you did 6.0 million hours of "shadowing" and what do you get for it? Nothing... NADA.

Do like 10 hours or do something even cooler (if you must have more "hours"), get a 1/day a week job as a DENTAL ASSISTANT and suck some spit, pour some alginates, trim casts, etc. Then you will have a MUCH better idea of what a dentist does rather than "LOOKING."

Scared to ask a dentist to do this? Don't be shy... you'd be surprised how many of us would like a lab gnome to hang out and learn this stuff.... especially paying minimum wage or free!

Good luck!
 

David1991

7+ Year Member
May 26, 2009
324
1
141
Status
Pre-Medical
Dude, "shadowing" gets out of control these days. I think I had lunch with a dentist and hung out at his office for like 4 hours to watch what he did.

Seriously, you could lie to the ADCOMS and tell them you did 6.0 million hours of "shadowing" and what do you get for it? Nothing... NADA.

Do like 10 hours or do something even cooler (if you must have more "hours"), get a 1/day a week job as a DENTAL ASSISTANT and suck some spit, pour some alginates, trim casts, etc. Then you will have a MUCH better idea of what a dentist does rather than "LOOKING."

Scared to ask a dentist to do this? Don't be shy... you'd be surprised how many of us would like a lab gnome to hang out and learn this stuff.... especially paying minimum wage or free!

Good luck!
My dentist told me he pretty much didn't have to do any shadowing, but now it does seem like people are doing more and more. I recently talked to someone here who got into HSDM who had something like 100+ hours of shadowing.

I'm looking for a job at a doctors office this summer, they said they'd call back but I haven't really heard anything.

Don't you need some certification or something to be a dental assistant? I don't think I would want some random kid working in my mouth if I was a patient lol
 

Flipper405

"Excessive" flosser
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May 5, 2005
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I did 25 hours over a holiday break. I agree that being an assistant would be far more valuable so you can actually do things rather than just watching.
 

David1991

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May 26, 2009
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I did 25 hours over a holiday break. I agree that being an assistant would be far more valuable so you can actually do things rather than just watching.
You don't need some type of training/certification for that?
 

Vol

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Mar 11, 2009
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I never did any shadowing, and a fair portion of the people in my class didn't shadow either. I think shadowing is just a little boost to your resume if the adcoms need something to differentiate you from a group of candidates. It doesn't make up for DAT, GPA, letters or rec, etc... I really thought shawdowing was a waste of time, unless you really aren't sure what dental professionals do, and you'd like a glimpse to see if dentistry really is for you. I'd never discourage anyone from doing it, but I just can't see the merit in shadowing for 100+ hours. Heck, even more than a few hours a day over the summer in your free time.
 

David1991

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May 26, 2009
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I never did any shadowing, and a fair portion of the people in my class didn't shadow either. I think shadowing is just a little boost to your resume if the adcoms need something to differentiate you from a group of candidates. It doesn't make up for DAT, GPA, letters or rec, etc... I really thought shawdowing was a waste of time, unless you really aren't sure what dental professionals do, and you'd like a glimpse to see if dentistry really is for you. I'd never discourage anyone from doing it, but I just can't see the merit in shadowing for 100+ hours. Heck, even more than a few hours a day over the summer in your free time.
Hm, there seems to be a discrepancy from what I'm hearing. Did you do any volunteering and if so how much?
 

Flipper405

"Excessive" flosser
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May 5, 2005
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I forgot to add that I did "100 hours" with my orthodontist at the end of high school, but that was pretty much a joke where I was in the back room cleaning impression trays the whole time.

As far as education required for being an assistant, it depends on your state. I'm pretty sure in Georgia at least you don't need training (although I'm sure it's the de facto standard if you expect to get paid).
 

Vol

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Mar 11, 2009
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Hm, there seems to be a discrepancy from what I'm hearing. Did you do any volunteering and if so how much?
Basically, yes, I did a bunch of volunteering. From H4H to some inter-city science tutoring/project-showcases. Impressive resumes do not necessitate experience with working in a dental office. Every summer I either did research or had some quality work with either H4H or with the Boy Scouts. Hence, I never had time to shadow, and it never came up at any of the dental schools I applied and interviewed with: VCU, Lousiville, and UNC, as well as UT, where I'm currently enrolled. As I said, there are plenty of things that make you a quality applicant. If I were an adcom, I'd get the people with the enthusiasm and the stories over someone who just had a bunch of shadowing hours. Just a story... at one of my interviews, I got the entire committee off on a tangent by talking about playing piano. I dominated the conversation and got to feel comfortable... Needless to say, I got a letter of acceptance. If you can get to the interview, that's your ability to shine...
 

David1991

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May 26, 2009
324
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141
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Pre-Medical
Basically, yes, I did a bunch of volunteering. From H4H to some inter-city science tutoring/project-showcases. Impressive resumes do not necessitate experience with working in a dental office. Every summer I either did research or had some quality work with either H4H or with the Boy Scouts. Hence, I never had time to shadow, and it never came up at any of the dental schools I applied and interviewed with: VCU, Lousiville, and UNC, as well as UT, where I'm currently enrolled. As I said, there are plenty of things that make you a quality applicant. If I were an adcom, I'd get the people with the enthusiasm and the stories over someone who just had a bunch of shadowing hours. Just a story... at one of my interviews, I got the entire committee off on a tangent by talking about playing piano. I dominated the conversation and got to feel comfortable... Needless to say, I got a letter of acceptance. If you can get to the interview, that's your ability to shine...
Out of curiosity is there a section on the application that specifically asks how much volunteering and how much shadowing someone has done? If not, where do you put it?
 

Dent44

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Jul 17, 2008
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The sections on the 2010 app were: "academic enrichment programs", "awards, honors, scholarships", "dentistry experience", "extracurricular/volunteer/community service", "work experience", and "research experience".

I threw any shadowing/assisting into the dentistry section and any extra courses (eg. UMDNJ's Gateway program) in the academic enrichment section.

Shadowing seemed to be a little boring (standing there doing nothing...) so I got a job assisting and worked there for almost two years which bumped up my hours of dental experience to over 1000 hours by the time I applied. I also volunteered on a service trip to Africa which was an additional 50 hours and a more meaningful experience. I definitely recommend trying both of those!

Good luck applying!
 

David1991

7+ Year Member
May 26, 2009
324
1
141
Status
Pre-Medical
The sections on the 2010 app were: "academic enrichment programs", "awards, honors, scholarships", "dentistry experience", "extracurricular/volunteer/community service", "work experience", and "research experience".

I threw any shadowing/assisting into the dentistry section and any extra courses (eg. UMDNJ's Gateway program) in the academic enrichment section.

Shadowing seemed to be a little boring (standing there doing nothing...) so I got a job assisting and worked there for almost two years which bumped up my hours of dental experience to over 1000 hours by the time I applied. I also volunteered on a service trip to Africa which was an additional 50 hours and a more meaningful experience. I definitely recommend trying both of those!

Good luck applying!
Thanks, how exactly did you go about getting the job of assisting in the office?
 

Dent44

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It wasn't easy, and the recession didn't help much, but with a little persistence it's entirely doable. I searched Craigslist and emailed my resume to anyone looking to hire (I'll add that I did not hear back from a single one... I think they were really looking for trained assistants). Then I began contacting local dentists, explaining my situation and asking if they were hiring. In the end it was the orthodontist doing my mom's invisalign that happened to need an assistant and was willing to train. It worked out to be one of the highlights of my application and a major talking point on interviews... worth the annoying search!
 

David1991

7+ Year Member
May 26, 2009
324
1
141
Status
Pre-Medical
It wasn't easy, and the recession didn't help much, but with a little persistence it's entirely doable. I searched Craigslist and emailed my resume to anyone looking to hire (I'll add that I did not hear back from a single one... I think they were really looking for trained assistants). Then I began contacting local dentists, explaining my situation and asking if they were hiring. In the end it was the orthodontist doing my mom's invisalign that happened to need an assistant and was willing to train. It worked out to be one of the highlights of my application and a major talking point on interviews... worth the annoying search!
Hm too bad my orthodontist recently moved away. I'll talk to my dentist about it but honestly they have a lot of workers there already, I can't see what I could really do, especially for money.