Shadowing is the action of following around a Dentist in their practice to observe procedures and ask any questions you may be curious about. Shadowing a Dentist gives a student the opportunity to dive into their profession and get first-hand experience on the career they wish to pursue. Additionally, a student will be able to learn how a dental office is run correctly and understand the importance of developing strong patient relationships! Dental schools require a minimum number of hours, which varies, as it exemplifies a student understands the realm of Dentistry and is ready for a rewarding but rigorous career.
A student will learn while shadowing a Dentist the importance of maintaining strong, but confidential relationships with their patients. Dentistry is a rewarding career because it involves more than just being a great student, a successful Dentist needs to be able to build trust with their patients to allow them to feel as comfortable as possible while receiving treatment. Although Dentists are known for being friendly providers, an experienced Dentist understands the importance of professionalism. By shadowing a Dentist, a student can learn to become an efficient and confident professional.
Finding a Dentist to shadow can be difficult for some, but students should understand that Dentists are busy individuals who may not even be open to shadowing. Some tips on finding a great Dentist should be to always start with your Dentist and inform them about your dream to follow in their footsteps! If your Dentist is unavailable, asking the people around you for their Dentist may be a good place to start. A student may also search for local dentists in the area and either call or walk in. Prospective students should remember to be friendly and give a warm introduction on why they want to shadow this specific Dentist (do some research)! Many Dentists will be more than willing to allow a prospective student into their practice, but different circumstances can make some dentists unavailable at certain times.
Students who seek to shadow specialized Dentists should note that they are going to Dental school to become General Dentists. It is not frowned upon to shadow a specialized Dentist, but it is important a student spends time in the environment they will study. Shadowing a general Dentist allows a student to see an abundance of different procedures from teeth cleanings to root canals.
A student can receive the best experience from shadowing by being attentive and asking questions! There is no better place to find out all the things you wish to know than from a Dentist themself. Above all, shadowing is a learning experience and students should make the most out of this opportunity. It is not uncommon to bring a notepad and write down interesting facts you learned throughout the day.