human instinct

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 27, 2008
72
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Pre-Dental
hey...so it has been quite disappointing for me till now ( and I am getting frustrated ) in terms of securing a shadowing experience at a dental clinic. What I have done as of yet is calling various local dentists and even asking family friends who know or are dentists themselves. However the most frequent response I get from those tht are themselves dentists is that the clinic's owner in which they work does not allow them to take in shadowing students.

So I have now decided to go directly to clinics and first ask for the possibility of shadowing and if refused ask about volunteering around the clinic. However I need advice as to how to approach the receptionist when I enter the clinic (I am sorry for asking what maybe very trivial but I only ask because of so many refusals):

Should I simply ask the receptionist to talk to the dentist regarding shadowing? or should I first tell the receptionist who I am and leave my message for the dentist with her?

Also, if the needs becomes that I need to book a cleaning appointment with a dentist so that I can talk to the dentist then, I will do so but I was wondering if it would look bad that on the very first appointment, I go to the dentist and say i am interested in shadowing him/her? If so, when would be appropriate to ask?

Thanks
 
Last edited:

DROCKINDAHOUSE

UTHSCSA c/o 2013
10+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2008
486
0
Texas
Status
Dental Student
That's unusual that no one will let you shadow them. I've shadowed several dentists and all of them were more than willing to help me out once I told them I was interested in dentistry. Several opportunities came through connections but others I generated myself by calling dental offices and speaking with their office managers. I would suggest you do the same.
 

beastmode

10+ Year Member
Sep 24, 2008
67
0
New York
Status
Dental Student
make a resume and bring it with you...drop it off with the receptionist, be friendly and tell them your situation. Hit a bunch offices to increase your odds, surely some will call you back. I have heard of people having difficulty finding assisting gigs, but never shadowing. Good luck.
 
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nydds25

10+ Year Member
Dec 2, 2008
225
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Many people have seen 3 types of dentists.
1. primary dentist
2. orthodontist
3. Oral Surgeon who pulled their 3rds

Ask each of them. They will accept. They owe it to you for paying them.
 

GoBlueJays

10+ Year Member
Jul 18, 2008
109
0
Status
Pre-Dental
I contacted my state's dental association. If you happen to be in Maryland, I would be happy to put you in touch with my contact there.

Kindest Regards,

GoBlueJays
 

bennijai

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
May 23, 2006
644
1
New York
Status
Dental Student
Don't give up it took me quite a while to find shadowing work as well. I took my local phone book and called every single one of them. I believe I called over 50+ names before a kind dentist called me back and accepted me.
 

cherr1pop

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
May 24, 2007
297
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Pre-Dental
i also recommend dropping off your resume. hopefully you've done other activities that show your interest in dentistry and dentists will be more willing to let you shadow them.
 

Stephie3

10+ Year Member
Nov 1, 2008
387
1
Status
Pre-Dental
whoa that's weird. sometimes i would call dentists and they would never call me back.

but i was able to shadow five one of them. one of them was kind of like "just stand back and try not to bump into anything or break anything" lol i only shadowed him for like two days or so i can't even remember now
 

Lurchdubious

the Homeless Ninja
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 25, 2007
759
0
VA
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Dental Student
Does your school have a pre-health professions club? They are usually able to get a list of dentists together that will allow you to shadow in their office. My school offered this, but I actually never took advantage because every dentist I had previously called allowed me to shadow them. When you do get an "in", show up well dressed and bring a notepad. I did this and I think I left a pretty good impression.
 

zazu537

10+ Year Member
Dec 16, 2008
14
0
Status
Dental Student
Do you have a good relationship with your own dentist? Next time you go in for a cleaning express your interest in dentistry and ask if you could shadow at the office. I don't think it would be strange at all to ask them about it. Stir up a conversation, perhaps ask if they have any advice... it would be awesome if they said something along the lines of get shadowing experience. If not, I don't see anything rude about asking if you could come in to observe. Oh, from my experience hygienists get really excited when you tell them you're interested in dentistry so if you bring it up early they may say something to the doctor for you. In terms of other offices, since calling hasn't worked out - I would dress nicely (no jeans), bring your resume, and first speak to the receptionist - introduce yourself (name, current school you attend) and that you're interested in pursuing dentistry in the future but are looking to get some shadowing experience to further define your interests. They'll then put you in contact with the dentist. I ended up calling around to at least 15 local offices and got an assisting position at an ortho office for 3 summers. Don't give up! There are dentists that warmly welcome students.
 

dent2009

YEEE BOI
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 19, 2008
633
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Pre-Dental
Wow, I feel extremely fortunate not to have had problems obtaining shadowing hours. My family dentist was enthusiastic about me coming in...so were the other 4 or so that I shadowed.
 

human instinct

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 27, 2008
72
0
Status
Pre-Dental
wow guys...i really appreciate all the comments and the useful advice. However the prob is that I live in Canada and here its not much the same as US in terms of willingness of dentists to allow shadowing. Perhaps its because Canadian schools dont ask for shadowing experience so these dentists arent accustomed to dealing with such requests.

Anyway, I have decided that going into the office with resume maybe the best option and hopefully it should work out...

Thanks again for the help...
 

cookand

10+ Year Member
Aug 20, 2008
110
0
Birmingham, AL
Status
Dental Student
It sounds like the places you're contacting are clinics with multiple dentists owned by someone other than a practicing dentist. Is this correct? If so, contact a private practice with a single dentist. I assume these are available in Canada. If not, I don't know what to tell you except keep trying and best wishes.

Every dentist I contacted was excited at the thought of having a prospective dental student shadow.
 

JamesOSU

Ohio State 2013
10+ Year Member
Nov 15, 2008
551
4
Columbus, OH
Status
Dental Student
Yeah i just asked my own dentist and they were thrilled to have me in there
 

montag925

10+ Year Member
Dec 29, 2006
91
1
New Jersey
Status
Dental Student
i know that there are already a lot of responses.. but whats the deal? you need to explain and stress the point that you want to shadow and observe, and are not actually looking for a paying job. beyound that dont seem creepy. you don't want the dentists to think that you will be a liability and scare away patients. explain in detail what you are looking to get out of your experience at their practice. be humble, and don't mention that it looks good on a resume, because thats insulting. overall, don't be socially ackward.. no resume needed.
 

nchrist

10+ Year Member
Oct 17, 2008
46
0
Status
Dental Student
I had good luck cold calling. Usually I would just speak to the receptionist and they would take down my info and have the doc call me back with little details. It was not uncommon for them to never get back to you. If they did call you back, they would usually accept, but ask you to explain what you wanted before they said that. I'd stress that you only want to come in a day or so, and it can be whenever they pick, usually they'll try to give you a day with a diverse patient load.

There were some docs who were all business, and some were really fun. I would try to shadow with many different people rather than all with one, I think you learn more that way. About 50% buy lunch for you, which is great because I love lunch.
 

buckleman

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Dec 29, 2008
18
0
Status
Pre-Dental
hey...so it has been quite disappointing for me till now ( and I am getting frustrated ) in terms of securing a shadowing experience at a dental clinic. What I have done as of yet is calling various local dentists and even asking family friends who know or are dentists themselves. However the most frequent response I get from those tht are themselves dentists is that the clinic's owner in which they work does not allow them to take in shadowing students.

So I have now decided to go directly to clinics and first ask for the possibility of shadowing and if refused ask about volunteering around the clinic. However I need advice as to how to approach the receptionist when I enter the clinic (I am sorry for asking what maybe very trivial but I only ask because of so many refusals):

Should I simply ask the receptionist to talk to the dentist regarding shadowing? or should I first tell the receptionist who I am and leave my message for the dentist with her?

Also, if the needs becomes that I need to book a cleaning appointment with a dentist so that I can talk to the dentist then, I will do so but I was wondering if it would look bad that on the very first appointment, I go to the dentist and say i am interested in shadowing him/her? If so, when would be appropriate to ask?

Thanks
What I have done is usually cut out the middle man, the receptionist, and ask directly. Most of time, the dentist is going to be a kind person and will find it hard to say no in front of your face. Give a good impression and you'll go far. Best of luck.

One thing my professor told me, which happens to be the dean as well," the receptionist is there to stop people from walking through on people, if you really think its important then you'll find a different route in seeing me."
I just walked through, luckily I worked in his lab and said it was urgent (which it was at the moment). :laugh:
 
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