mr2guysingh

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How many hours are some of you going to shadow? I'm thinking about over 300 hours for general, and 300 for orthro. Talked to one local orthro today, said I should do 50 hours at one location at a time. I think I can get 600 or so hours done by two years.
 

Ranelar

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In my opinion, so many shadowing hours = worthless fluff. I did 50 hours of shadowing a general dentist over 5 weeks and I basically saw all there was to see. I can't imagine doing 600 hours, unless you were actually allowed to help. Even then, I'm not sure 600 hours of sucking spit is really going to give you a lot of experience. Maybe I'm totally off, but if I were on the adcom, I wouldn't care how many shadowing hours you had, as long as you had whatever minimum I set in order to make sure you know what you're getting into.

Edit: as an interviewer, I might even ask why you didn't do something more productive with your time (like 600 hours of community service). Of course maybe you have a ton of extracurriculars and c.service, in which case go ahead and shadow as long as you like :p
 
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Stephie3

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i think 600 hours is extreme.

shadow 200 hours and do something else with the remaining 400 (like volunteer service or something)
 

Contach

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How many hours are some of you going to shadow? I'm thinking about over 300 hours for general, and 300 for orthro. Talked to one local orthro today, said I should do 50 hours at one location at a time. I think I can get 600 or so hours done by two years.
i did 50 something hours, over two practices.
 

somethinpositiv

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what the hell?? lol. do 100 hours general, then do 50-100 of one or two specialties such as ortho. any more is absolutely worthless (as Ranelar said). No bonus points after your first 100 hours.

might as well use the hours after your first 100 to get paid as a dental assistant, get a job, do research, do voluteering (as Stephie said), or use that time to study for the DAT or your classes lol.
 

amalgamgrillz

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what the hell?? lol. do 100 hours general, then do 50-100 of one or two specialties such as ortho. any more is absolutely worthless (as Ranelar said). No bonus points after your first 100 hours.

might as well use the hours after your first 100 to get paid as a dental assistant, get a job, do research, do voluteering (as Stephie said), or use that time to study for the DAT or your classes lol.
i wouldn't say its "worthless." I'd say logging a lot of hours in a clinic shows initiative and passion for dentistry. And to be honest, depending on what you get to do, it's very beneficial and will prepare you for dental school. The more dental experience you can get, the better..and plus, who says you can't do all of that stuff? It's not that hard to log 200+ hours of volunteer work during the school year, and then 500+ hours in a dental clinic over one summer.
 

somethinpositiv

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i wouldn't say its "worthless." I'd say logging a lot of hours in a clinic shows initiative and passion for dentistry. And to be honest, depending on what you get to do, it's very beneficial and will prepare you for dental school. The more dental experience you can get, the better..and plus, who says you can't do all of that stuff? It's not that hard to log 200+ hours of volunteer work during the school year, and then 500+ hours in a dental clinic over one summer.
I tend to use harsh words, and I don't apologize for it. By 'worthless', I mean 'that time could be be better spent', which to me is the same thing.
 

dent2009

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i wouldn't say its "worthless." I'd say logging a lot of hours in a clinic shows initiative and passion for dentistry. And to be honest, depending on what you get to do, it's very beneficial and will prepare you for dental school. The more dental experience you can get, the better..and plus, who says you can't do all of that stuff? It's not that hard to log 200+ hours of volunteer work during the school year, and then 500+ hours in a dental clinic over one summer.
Sure doing excessive amounts of hours could display initiative and interest, but maybe it's better spent doing other volunteer work (could be non-dental related) or better yet, put it towards your school work and DAT studying. Besides 10,000 hours of shadowing will never overcome a 3.0 or a DAT 17. My take is you can get away with doing less hours the higher your GPA and DAT. But typically schools like to see about 100 hours.
 

klutzy1987

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Also, once you try shadowing, you will see how boring it gets having to stand there and not be able to do anything. Yeah the procedures can be intersting but after a while they are repetitive and unless you actually get to o something like assist it will gevery boring.
 

amalgamgrillz

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Sure doing excessive amounts of hours could display initiative and interest, but maybe it's better spent doing other volunteer work (could be non-dental related) or better yet, put it towards your school work and DAT studying. Besides 10,000 hours of shadowing will never overcome a 3.0 or a DAT 17. My take is you can get away with doing less hours the higher your GPA and DAT. But typically schools like to see about 100 hours.
I agree with you in the fact that being well rounded is important (high GPA, great DAT, a lot of extra curriculars)..but I also think having dental experience is what other applicants are lacking most, and therefore is the easiest way to stand out against the rest.

No matter how hard someone studies, there is a cap to how well they'll do academically - dumb people will likely never achieve a high GPA, but they CAN log a lot of hours in a clinic and learn more useful, dental-related things.

If i was an adcom, i wouldn't care if you can recite the full oxidation of para, para' 2, 3, 7, 8 dichlorodibenzotrichloroethane..but if you could show me the proper technique of putting on a dental dam; how to trace a cephalogramic x-ray; or tell me what to look for in a panorex..that's impressive.
 

somethinpositiv

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I agree with you in the fact that being well rounded is important (high GPA, great DAT, a lot of extra curriculars)..but I also think having dental experience is what other applicants are lacking most, and therefore is the easiest way to stand out against the rest.
Dental experience is not what other applicants lack lol, everyone is required to have it in order to even apply. It's as little as 30 hours and never more than 100 hours required shadowing. Plus, true "dental experience" is assisting, not shadowing aka watching and doing nothing.

If i was an adcom, i wouldn't care if you can recite the full oxidation of para, para' 2, 3, 7, 8 dichlorodibenzotrichloroethane..but if you could show me the proper technique of putting on a dental dam; how to trace a cephalogramic x-ray; or tell me what to look for in a panorex..that's impressive.
No adcom would ever ask you any of those things.. :laugh:
 

doc toothache

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No matter how hard someone studies, there is a cap to how well they'll do academically - dumb people will likely never achieve a high GPA, but they CAN log a lot of hours in a clinic and learn more useful, dental-related things.

If i was an adcom, i wouldn't care if you can recite the full oxidation of para, para' 2, 3, 7, 8 dichlorodibenzotrichloroethane..but if you could show me the proper technique of putting on a dental dam; how to trace a cephalogramic x-ray; or tell me what to look for in a panorex..that's impressive.
On the other hand, adcoms might think there are too many things that need to be re learned since they may not be too particularly impressed with whatever "proper technique of putting on a dental dam" one has already learned.
 

Hysteria24

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...might as well use the hours after your first 100 to get paid as a dental assistant...
Forget the shadowing gig. As soon as you can, get your hands dirty as an assistant. You'll learn much much more, especially when you have to be one step ahead of the dentist during each procedure.

I'd say talk to one of these dentist who is letting you stand in the corner for 600 hours and see if he/she will slowly pass some responsibility your way.
 

blissy07

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it's awesome you're getting started early...that was my mistake. I didn't even fully decide on dentistry until later in college. As for what to do...

i wouldn't say over 50 is absolutely worthless...i spoke to several people on admissions at a few dental schools and at least one of them said they look for 200+ hrs of dental experience.

in addition, think about your competition. Why settle for a measly 50 when many many many of your other applicants are racking it up? If shadowing is the ONLY opportunity you can find, you should probably do it.

on the other hand, i do agree that there is a "quality" gradient when it comes to getting dental experience. Shadowing is at the bottom of the experience ladder because how much can you really learn (other than it hurts to crane your neck for hours while stuck in a corner)? If that's where you need to start, okay. At least you're getting your foot in the door. Getting some shadowing hours is not a bad idea. But really try to strive for some better experience.

Start looking for more responsibilities. Sterilizing, suctioning, developing x-rays etc. In the end, things like that are all most pre-dents really get to do. But at least you will have specific tasks to put down in your application and talk about during your interview.

other posters do have a point in suggesting other non-dental things to do. It is super-important to be a well-rounded applicant, in my opinion. Do as much as you humanly can without sacrificing your GPA/ too much of your social life :)

good luck
 

mr2guysingh

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How about 50 hours at four different ortho practices, then 100 hours at my personal dentist, and 100 hours somewhere else. I can do the 200 hours for ortho by next Summer, then start with my personal dentist.

Dont you have to have a certificate to be a dental assistant?
 

GNF8300

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How about 50 hours at four different ortho practices, then 100 hours at my personal dentist, and 100 hours somewhere else. I can do the 200 hours for ortho by next Summer, then start with my personal dentist.

Dont you have to have a certificate to be a dental assistant?
It's the dentist's choice whether or not he/she allows you to assist. I don't think specialty shadowing in excess of 10 hrs (if that) would be worth much beyond satisfying curiosity. The more hours you have assisting a general dentist the better, but I wouldn't try to get more than about 200 at the absolute most (unless you get a job there).

One thing I did that I felt helped me was to shadow for whole days. I know sometimes people do blocks of a couple hours here and there, but if you have time over the summer, I would try to shadow full-time for a week or two. It gives you a better idea of what you'll be doing.

Also, just my opinion, but shadowing an orthodontist is about the most useless shadowing you can do. I spent three days shadowing a local orthodontist, and all I did was walk around and watch him tell his assistants what to do - not wildly helpful in my opinion for a pre-dental student.
 

Ranelar

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It basically comes down to "do whatever you want". The consensus is that you'd be wasting your time with more than 200 hours. Maybe you'll see that after your first 100. When schools ask for 30-50 hours, I don't think they're saying, "But really, we'd like to see 600."

50 = minimum
100 = healthy
200 = gunner
> 200 = should have been helping sick kids from broken homes instead.
 

LuckiLeigh

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Honestly, shadowing is a very very small part of your application. I shadowed general dentistry by shadowing dental students for 10 hours. I spent about 30 hours with an orthodontist and 10 hours with an oral surgeon. I am interested in ortho (i know everyone on SDN will rip me apart for saying that before I am in dental school) so my essay had that in it a bit and the orthodontist wrote me a letter of recommendation.

If you want a lot of exposure to the field, assist or do some dental related research. I took the research route.

My mere 50 hours suited me well. I got everything I wanted out of this application cycle so I think good stats and being able to interview well will take you much much further while applying.
 

mflinchb

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OP,
I started out shadowing my general dentist on days where I didn't have to go to school (in IN we have the state-wide tests called ISTEP and if you already passed them then they let you go shadow/work during the week of testing). I honestly probably did about 5 hours at MY dentist and saw that I was bored with just sitting there (like everyone says- in a corner) and just watching what the dentist is doing and since they normally have an assistant with them its hard to see exactly what they're doing unless you're like breathing down their necks. I started volunteering at a free clinic and actually was able to get paid by another organization (a place in IN that helps people find jobs would pay HS Seniors to do internships- it's weird and hard to explain) Anyway, I ended up getting really close with everyone in the clinic I worked with and was able to start assisting there (still being paid by the other organization) and did that over the summer and logged about 330 hours with them and then came pack this previous summer and did about 10 more and will do some over break which will all be unpaid.
I don't do it to be in competition with the most hours humanly possible, b/c as others have said it is a small part of the application, which is why schools ask for less than 100. I really like going to the clinic and the other assistants and dentists I work with there. It can generally open up some ties as well as, at least the clinic where I worked, there were some 'regular' dentists who came in every monday and friday or so, and then some other ones that come from across the state every month. I actually met one who's on the adcom for a school I am interested in. So I would say in addition to just your dentist maybe go to a clinic.
Hope this helps!
 

ramforte

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600 is too much, 150-300 is enough.
 
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