2+ Year Member
Oct 1, 2017
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Hello SDN fam,
I have a few questions about shadowing hours. I started shadowing a general dentist in the beginning of this month and am projected to earn 40-50 hours. Since I get along with my current dentist, should I ask her for an LOR now or wait until I apply in 2021 and ask? We get along well and she's my family's dentist but I'm only shadowing her for a month and idk if she'll remember me within the next year or if it would be appropriate to ask so early.

I am trying to earn as close to 100 hours as possible with everything going on. I plan to move back to my college in August and find another dentist to shadow, should I look for another general dentist or try and find a specialist to shadow? Should I get the majority of my hours from a general practice and if I shadowed and had a better relationship with a specialist, would it be looked lower upon to get a LOR from them over a general dentist?

Sorry for all the questions, wasn't sure if there was a thread about this.
Jan 26, 2020
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Dental
No it does not matter if ur letter comes from a specialist or a general dentist. If you can get the majority of your hours from a general dentist that is probably better, however, if you are passionate about a specialty you can show that AS LONG AS you have a decent amount of general hours as well. For context, I had double the hours in a specialty than general, with a letter from that specialty, and admissions committees told me that was fine because I had >70 hours of general too. In interviews though and anywhere else, I want to preface that you should be saying general dentistry comes first because often students change their mind, and dental school is training you to become a general dentist first.


5+ Year Member
Jun 24, 2015
Status (Visible)
  1. Dental Student
The majority of your hours should come from general dentists. Why not get a LOR from both? Many schools require two dentists letters. If you’re afraid they’ll forget, get interfolio and get their letter immediately after shadowing them, and then save it for later when you’re doing your app. Also, as a rule of thumb you should always ask before your shadowing begins that they would be okay with writing you a letter of rec. They should understand that you need them, and this will weed out any dentists who aren’t invested in you.
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