dragonj

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i'm curious to find out how much shadowing each person has done so could we start a thread of all the people who've done shadowing hours?
i haven't done any yet and would like to know how much i should do.
also, how do the admissions know for sure how many hours you've done?
 

GTchick

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I didn't do that many - 21 which seems really low from talking to other people. The only school that I applied to that has checked is Kentucky. They make you get forms signed by the dentists that you shadow. They are also the only school that I applied to that has a requirement. They require 20 hours. I think Ohio has a requirement too but I am not sure.
 
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dragonj

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hasn't anybody other than gtchick done any shadowing hours?
 

UBTom

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During the summer of 1997, in the span of two months I observed 20 days at the Oral Surgery Unit at Bellevue Hospital in NYC. Got the documentation for it in the form of a letter from the chief resident, though the dental schools I applied to never did ask for it..

Got the paycheck stubs too from previous summers during which I worked as an uncertified dental assistant, but didn't have to show those either. :p

Anyway, since teaching hospitals and dental schools are primarily concerned with teaching, they are usually far less reserved when it comes to allowing outsiders to observe than private dentists. Definitely a good way to get your foot in the door so to speak.
 

Hysteria24

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UOP recommends 40 hours, as said by the admissions director.

I have 5 so far, but just started.
 

vahedi

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I'm currently interning/assisting at a periodontist's office here in los angeles.

Does that count as shadowing? I'm thinking of doing it for more than a year.

I basically assist him while he is doing surgeries and the like.
 

DesiDentist

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I have over 500 hours dental shadowing. 500 hours research experience and over 2,000 hours clinical experience.

Do as much as you can. You don't want your interviewers guessing if you had enough exposure they should know that you have done all that you could to know what this profession is about. Dr. Emling at UPENN asked me in a joking manner, "So when do you sleep?" When he saw my list of experiences above my 260 credit hours in the last four years.

DesiDentist
 

gryffindor

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DesiDentist - could you explain what "clinical experience" is? How did you fit 2000 hours into a 4 year undergrad schedule? My guess when I read that is you were a dental assistant actually doing things like taking x-rays and impressions, and not just standing in the corner "shadowing" and asking questions.
 

DesiDentist

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By clinical experience I mean any experience that exposed oneself to the clinical side of healthcare (e.g. working in an environment where you have contact with patients, specimens, lab, or human tissue). During my freshman year I used to work in the blood lab for about 20-25 hours a week all the way through my sophomore year and almost full time during summer's and winter vacations.Other experience I have was working as a lab assistant in vascular surgery, neurological surgery etc. if you multiply 20 hours/week x 40+ weeks that is 800 hours times two. I had around 1,600 hours working with bodily fluids and human tissue. I hope this clarifies your question. Also, I was working graveyard (3:00 am - 7:30 am) then went to class.

DesiDentist

Also, I wasn't observing but assisting most of the time. I didn't get paid for any of my dental experience though. I observed when I just started out. I would highly recommend working one on one with a dentist and get the experience. There is nothing interesting about sitting in a corner and just randomly looking around in the room. You should push yourself to get a "feel" for the career you are about to embark on.
 

gryffindor

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I was just curious what you meant by clinical experience. Thanks for your explanation.

I agree that it is good to go one on one with a dentist and get in there and assist rather than stand in the corner. However, don't be frustrated if all you do is stand in the corner and observe and ask questions. I did 60+ hrs with a general dentist my senior yr in high school and 50+ with an orthodontist in college, and I pretty much stood in the corner at both places. The production at both places were fast, so they didn't have time to stick a slow person like me into the mix and watch me struggle trying to take off ties or take impressions. Actually, while in dental school, I have observed 50 hours in private practices and in every practice I went to, my spot was the corner. Even as a dental student! However, I can see it from their point of view - I am an outsider and there is a flow to the office that I just can't be a part of since I can't be there every day or even every week.

Don't give up if some dentists you call don't want observers in their offices. Some places have an issue with patient privacy so they don't want students there. I have also met dentists who don't like to work while being observed. Just keep trying other offices - eventually someone will see your enthusiasm and let you into their office.