fhqls

10+ Year Member
Apr 19, 2008
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Pre-Dental
Hello, I'm a junior undergrad student and I was just wondering what the shadowing is needed for.
By shadowing, are we supposed to gain some dental knowledge? like specific terms or tools used for dental work? Or is it just simply seeing what being a dentist is like?

Also, during shadowing hours, are we supposed to build some kind of relationship with the dentist we are shadowing? Does one of LOR come from the dentist you guys shadow usually?

By shadowing, do you guys get paid at all? I mean, if you are working as receptionist or something like that sort, is it also counted as "shadowing"?

If you want to get some shadowing hours, do you guys just randomly go to a dental clinic and ask if you can shadow him/her?

Thank you.
 

dreaming2k5

Where's the beef?
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Jul 20, 2005
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are we supposed to gain some dental knowledge?
Yes, the more you know, the better you look during interview.

Also, during shadowing hours, are we supposed to build some kind of relationship with the dentist we are shadowing?
Yes, the better you know the guy, the better the LOR.

By shadowing, do you guys get paid at all?
Yes, if you're working as dental assistant. Don't be a receptionist, be an assistant. Receptionist don't know crap.

If you want to get some shadowing hour[s, do you guys just randomly go to a dental clinic and ask if you can shadow him/her?
No, go to the closest and most convenient dental clinic ~ not random.

Thank you.
You're welcome.
 

CMistry

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Jun 29, 2007
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I wouldn't say receptionists know crap... they may not be learning the clinical side, but there's also a sh!tload to load about the business of dentistry. Of course that's only important if you want to open your own practice someday...

-Cyrus
 

dreaming2k5

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I wouldn't say receptionists know crap... they may not be learning the clinical side, but there's also a sh!tload to load about the business of dentistry. Of course that's only important if you want to open your own practice someday...
No, you're wrong. A receptionist don't know first thing about the hardship of running a dental clinic. They don't order supplies, they don't have to manage staff, they don't have to think about overhead, they don't have to much of anything except how to do insurance, make appointments, play with the python, and file charts. Working as a receptionist is meaningless in your CV. Even if you had some extended duty as a receptionist, it's nothing compared to the knowledge and skill you'd gain as a dental assistant.
 

ummjoey

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Jun 11, 2007
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i think what dreaming2k5 did was pretty cool. im going to copy him........

By shadowing, are we supposed to gain some dental knowledge?
my view is that the more i learn now the easier time i will have in dental school? and dreaming2k5 is also correct on the interviews.

like specific terms or tools used for dental work?
i think dentistry is really cool.........

is it just simply seeing what being a dentist is like?
i think a lot of schools require you to do a certain amount of shadowing. they dont want to accept a student that has never seen what being a dentist is like? what if the school accepts the student and he/she decides dentistry is not for them? wouldnt it be better for the school and the student for the student to have figured this out earlier?

are we supposed to build some kind of relationship with the dentist we are shadowing?
if you are going to ask for a lor. i know a lot of people who shadowed different dentists and different specialists. i wouldnt expect you to maintain a close relationship with all of them? but, it would be nice if you could.

Does one of LOR come from the dentist you guys shadow usually?
i didnt really shadow? my dad is a dentist and according to my parents i have been going to their practice since i was a baby. i have been assisting my dad since high school.......i did ask my dad for a lor, but i only sent this lor to one school that required a lor from a dentist. i knew my dad would write me a strong letter, but i also knew the schools would not put too much weight on the letter because it was from my dad. that is why i only sent this letter to one school that required it.

do you guys get paid at all?
i pretty much work as a full time assistant at my dads office right now. i dont get paid.........i sort of get paid? my parents are provide me shelter, food, car, and money to buy stuff?

I mean, if you are working as receptionist or something like that sort, is it also counted as "shadowing"?
i think you will be able to do some shadowing while working as a receptionist, but like the others said, if you are going to be a receptionist, might as well be an assistant.

If you want to get some shadowing hours, do you guys just randomly go to a dental clinic and ask if you can shadow him/her?
i knew some pre-dents that started calling up all the dentists in the phone book and just asking them straight.
 
OP
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fhqls

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Apr 19, 2008
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So if you assist the dentist as a volunteer, is that a whole alot of different than "assistant" who get paid?

Are the dentists open to hire random undergrad student to assist them? Wouldn't they prefer to hire some dental students rather than undergrad who's got no experience and knowledge?

If they are interested in you, do you ask to be paid then?
 

blankguy

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So if you assist the dentist as a volunteer, is that a whole alot of different than "assistant" who get paid?

Are the dentists open to hire random undergrad student to assist them? Wouldn't they prefer to hire some dental students rather than undergrad who's got no experience and knowledge?

If they are interested in you, do you ask to be paid then?
Volunteering can take many forms. You could be volunteering in helping out the office staff at the practice. This is probably the likelier scenario unless the dentist really trusts you do assist him/her or is willing to train you. Experienced assistants are generally preferred but there could be exceptions.

I would stay away from asking about compensation. Chances are if the dentist lets you assist him/her, he or she is going to have to pay you. What do you think their other staff (assistants, hygienist) would feel like if you got used as free labor doing the same stuff.
 

Chuda2008

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Jan 18, 2008
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Shadowing is for the purpose to see what dentistry really is and to make sure it is the field that you want to go into. With shadowing you are able to ask questions, usually see what is going on, and follow the dentist around. With a shadowing relationship it is implied that you are not really there to work or help out in the office but more to observe and learn what a dentist does. Some schools require 50+ hours of dental experience.

Most dental offices looking for an assistant will request someone with experience, but some will be willing to train and hire someone if they show enough interest. Dentists generally will be reluctant to hire someone who is only looking for short term experience for dental school because of the time and effort it takes to train someone. Try offering to come in on your own to time for x amount of weeks to train with the assistants and dentist so that when you do start working you are useful to the office.
 

CMistry

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Jun 29, 2007
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No, you're wrong. A receptionist don't know first thing about the hardship of running a dental clinic. They don't order supplies, they don't have to manage staff, they don't have to think about overhead, they don't have to much of anything except how to do insurance, make appointments, play with the python, and file charts. Working as a receptionist is meaningless in your CV. Even if you had some extended duty as a receptionist, it's nothing compared to the knowledge and skill you'd gain as a dental assistant.
No, you're wrong. I've worked both for months. Have you? Dealing with insurance is a pain, and knowing the ins and outs is not something most starting dentists are proficient with. My first day on the job (as an assistant, mind you) my dentist said "I'm going to put you at the front desk for two weeks. You're going to hate it, but it's going to help you run a practice like nothing else you learn in dental school." Well, I'm not in dental school yet, but I see what my dentist does everyday and I know what I've learned and I can put two parts of a puzzle together. True, you have to learn other business aspects by being a dentist. But from what I've seen, a dentist is responsible in knowing what is going out with patients' insurance as well.

To the OP, I wouldn't disagree that shadowing is better than working the desk, especially if your time is limited. But if you get the chance, do both.

-Cyrus
 

samdds

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For your CV or dental experience, you might want to be a dental assistant because you get to expose to dentistry closely. But for your own good (if you want open your office) you should definitely consider working as a receptionist. It is true that a receptionist might not know everything about this business, but they know the basics on how to run a dental office. Remember, dentistry is both science AND business.
 

ummjoey

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Jun 11, 2007
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So if you assist the dentist as a volunteer, is that a whole alot of different than "assistant" who get paid?

Are the dentists open to hire random undergrad student to assist them? Wouldn't they prefer to hire some dental students rather than undergrad who's got no experience and knowledge?

If they are interested in you, do you ask to be paid then?
i think there is a difference? here was the situation i was thinking about. i was thinking of a predent that didnt have experience being an assistant. he/she can work for free at a dental office until he/she learns how to be an assistant. then, he/she might be able to ask for pay.

in my case, the predent and the assistant is totally different. the predent isn't paid and the assistant is paid. that is one difference. the predent didn't have assisting experience and the assistant did. that is another difference.

i dont think most dentists are willing to hire random undergrad students to assist them. that is why in my situation, the predent asked if he can help out for free.

i dont think most dentists hire dental students to be assistants. the dental students are probably too busy with school to work as an assistant for a private practice. i think most dentists just hire dental assistant with previous experience.

dentists can also hire someone without assisting experience. but, they would have to train them. i think the dentist would probably go through some application and interview process with this person.
 

Moni Ahmadian

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Jul 31, 2006
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I believe the main purpose of shadowing is that you would be able to experience the difficulties in the field of dentistry. This way you make sure whether dentistry would be a good and suitable field for you based on your personality and interests. To be straight to the point many people around the world think that dentistry is a good way to make money, but they just ignore how hard it is to be a dentist. For example when I tell people that I want to be a dentist they say: "Wow! You have chosen a good field! You'll be rich". Nobody cares how hard it is to pass all these 4 years and how hard are the responsibilities of the dentists. that's the main purpose of shadowing. Being able to experience the field with your hands will ensure the fact that should you get in the dental school, you will by all means complete it because you have the passion and you love being dentist. I liked to do the shadowing as a volunteer so that it also counted as a volunteer work for me to put in my application. But, many dentists won't agree with that as it would create them some problems with government, paying policies, and tax policies.

Hello, I'm a junior undergrad student and I was just wondering what the shadowing is needed for.
By shadowing, are we supposed to gain some dental knowledge? like specific terms or tools used for dental work? Or is it just simply seeing what being a dentist is like?

Also, during shadowing hours, are we supposed to build some kind of relationship with the dentist we are shadowing? Does one of LOR come from the dentist you guys shadow usually?

By shadowing, do you guys get paid at all? I mean, if you are working as receptionist or something like that sort, is it also counted as "shadowing"?

If you want to get some shadowing hours, do you guys just randomly go to a dental clinic and ask if you can shadow him/her?

Thank you.
 

gijohn529

USC Dental 2012
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Sep 15, 2006
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You should shadow to see what goes on in a dental office. My first impression with some of the procedures was that it is so barbaric... but that's how it goes and I got used to it. Your dentist will let you do some suction and give you some tips or try to explain things.

During your interview, if the interviewer asks you if you have shadowed and how much do you know, tell him/her you have and the more you shadow, the more you realize you know nothing. That way the interviewer won't get into specifics and you don't have to b.s.
 

LeoDDS

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Apr 23, 2008
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Hello, I'm a junior undergrad student and I was just wondering what the shadowing is needed for.
By shadowing, are we supposed to gain some dental knowledge? like specific terms or tools used for dental work? Or is it just simply seeing what being a dentist is like?
The last. Shadowing is just for you, as a predent, to see if this is indeed what you want to do with your life. It's a way for you to see how the career is run, and whether or not you think you'll be able to handle the business and blood of dentistry. I've known someone who went through the first two years of dental school, but ultimately dropped out and did hygiene instead because she could NOT get past extractions (would pass out each time). So make sure you can stomach all the aspects of denstistry!

Also, during shadowing hours, are we supposed to build some kind of relationship with the dentist we are shadowing? Does one of LOR come from the dentist you guys shadow usually?
yes

By shadowing, do you guys get paid at all? I mean, if you are working as receptionist or something like that sort, is it also counted as "shadowing"?
no pay, if you're paid you're working, not shadowing. Which may not be a bad thing either.

If you want to get some shadowing hours, do you guys just randomly go to a dental clinic and ask if you can shadow him/her?
most dental offices would be flattered. Don't be shy, go ask!