Most, if not all, would be happy to let you shadow. I wouldn't shadow more than 5-8 hours a week because shadowing, in the whole scheme of things, isn't all that imortant. But to be safe, I'd ask the dentist what he/she is comfortable with, in terms of times per week and hours. You do that for a month or two and bam, there's 40+ hrs. As far as asking goes, I would call ahead of time so that you can meet with the dentist when he/she is between patients. Then, meet him/her in person and ask formally(wear something nice). If they try to give you any crap about hipaa regs, tell them that all they have to do is ask the patient if it's ok that you observe and then their office becomes a temporary classroom. I hope this helps, good luck!
BTW, where are you at in AR? I'm from Jonesboro, but I'm currently in MA with the military. I'm hoping to get into UT memphis when I apply this june (only about 45 minutes from my home town)..spent today finding out about their regional program. I would have to pay in state tuition plus 6500 extra under the plan, I guess it's better than the full out of state tuition... What school are you attending/planning to attend?
Yep, I go to the U of A in Fayetteville, but I'm a Texas resident(my parents both went to school here at U of A). I am getting ready to go to Baylor COD in Dallas. I have a lot of friends that applied this year as AR residents, so if you have any questions, I'll try and get them answered for you. BTW, I'm signed up for the Army HPSP, by now you're probably tired of the whole military thing, but if not, it's a great way to pay for school. Email me if you want.