Experience in a Dental Environment
Experience in a dental environment is essential to preparing for dental school. If you apply to dental school but you have no experience in a dental environment you will not be convincing to an admissions committee. Students must get experience in a dental environment in order to make an informed decision to pursue a career in dentistry. You need this exposure to prepare for dental school and a career in dentistry.
Job shadowing is an excellent way to explore the daily life of a dentist and find out if a dental career is the right fit for you. Many students are able to arrange shadowing initially through a family dentist. If you do not know of any dentists you could ask to shadow you may wish to send a letter and resume to some local dentists asking for the opportunity to shadow.
We recommend that you check the guidelines of dental schools where you plan to apply on their shadowing requirements or expectations for admission. Indiana University School of Dentistry, for instance, expects that applicants will have a minimum of 40 hours of exposure to general practice dentistry in a private practice setting. Other dental schools may have requirements for a minimum number of hours of dental experience.
The Health Professions and Prelaw Center sponsors a student organization called Hoosier Dentist. Hoosier Dentist organizes volunteer activities in the community, pairs students up with local dentists and dental labs, and educates students on dental careers and dental school admissions. If you are interested in participating, you should watch for a notice from the HPPLC email list about the organization's meetings and how to apply for membership. To subscribe to the HPPLC email list please click here.