2+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2017
  1. Dental Student
All I can give is my opinion, not facts, but I would say working in a dental lab is very different than in a dental office and they wouldn't consider that adequate shadowing experience. The OS office is nice but since you'll most likely be a GP you really need to get shadowing from there. Granted the lab experience is definitely a plus.
Jun 21, 2020
  1. Pre-Dental
They're gonna wonder, "How does she know she truly wants to be a dentist every day for the rest of her life, if she never even shadowed one", but with that said you have everything else going for you, so it'll depend on the mindset of each particular school how much leeway they're willing to give. If you can at least shadow a general dentist once for like 20 hours, your odds would go wayyyyyy up. But aim for 100+ GP hours. Make it quality and talk about how much you learned; i.e., all the patient management that goes into it, all the staff and teamwork necessary, etc. (the things the common person doesn't realize until they shadow). Also pro tip: walk into general dentists' offices and ask in-person if you can shadow. 10x better results. Or ask the oral surgeon you shadowed if he knows a GP you can shadow.


2+ Year Member
Aug 16, 2018
Here are my (first gen African-American female) stats: 3.98 sGPA, 3.95 cGPA, 4.0 major GPA (government), graduated from uva last spring and I am currently working in a dental lab doing mainly costumer support (i.e. working with mostly general dentists (occasional oral surgeon) on their crown/implant/nightguard cases, addressing issues with scans, etc).

I haven't taken my DAT yet, still studying for it now.

I wasn't really able to get many shadowing opportunities in undergrad. I only shadowed an oral surgeon for ~80 hours. Never shadowed a general dentists even though I tried to get opportunities like cold calling them one summer lol. And corona didn't really help me out either; I wanted to shadow the entire summer before I started my job, but couldn't because many clinics were shut down.

Do you think my current job at a dental lab (I'll be here for a total of 2 years before matriculating, if I get in) demonstrates adequate experience in dentistry?

Some other things I did in college:

-gen chem TA for 3 years
-medical anthropology research asst. for 2 years
-peer health educator
-tour guide
-interned for state senator
-political internship focused on increasing civic engagement
-chaired the student police advisory board
-co-president of a student lobbying group (focused on lobbying for health related bills)
-mentored young black female high school students

I didn't do any pre-dental related clubs. I wanted to do other things in college that related to my other passions and things I want to combine with a DMD or DDS. Like I'm very interested in healthcare reform (why I studied government). But sometimes I feel like that's where I messed up? I didn't do enough dental related things?

you should ask the offices that you are working with at the dental lab if you can shadow there
clear it with your boss at the lab first, so they don't think you are leveraging your job to get one at a dental office
(skip this part if the dental lab does not know your goal of going to dental school, some bosses don't like to hire people who may be leaving at some point)

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