6 Ways to get dental work experience and stand out in your application to dental school.
Work experience is vital to help you gain insight into dentistry, confirm your interest and it shows your commitment to the career path.
It is advisable to aim for 10 days minimum and arrange for a range of experiences. Your quality of work experience is increased by observing different dental care professionals (DCP’s). This could be a dental specialist, general dental practitioner, nurse, laboratory technician or a dental therapist. This gives you a wholesome experience.
A range of dental work experiences
Once you get access to a DCP, they can expose you to other DCP’s so ensure that you build on the relationships you establish with DCP’s. Experience different dental environments such as general practice (NHS/MIXED/PRIVATE), community dentist, hospital dentist and dental school clinics. Spend the most time with dentists but a day or afternoon with the other DCP’s. Planning your work experience in this manner will make your application stand out when it is viewed amongst many others.
Plan your approach
Before you engage with DCP’s or dental practices you need to plan your approach. This will require you constructing a well presented email or document detailing your passion for dentistry and your desire for work experience. Thinking about how you will present yourself when you go to a dental practice. Will you wear casual wear or be smart? Your first impression counts when asking for work experience.
Your conduct at the placement
Once you are shadowing you need to conduct yourself like a professional, proving that you have what it takes to be a future dentist. If you show maturity it enhances your chances of securing more work experience and potentially lead to a wider range of experiences. The dentist may introduce you to the lab they use or a specialist they refer patients to. Be courteous to the staff and make sure to thank them afterwards. The dental community is small and your work experience placements may help you land a job as a dentist in the future.
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Summary of 6 ways to get dental work experience
1. Your dentist – ask the dentist you see at your next appointment. If your family member or friend has an upcoming appointment go with them. Tell the dentist about your passion for dentistry and enquire about work experience. Dentists like patients who take an interest in dentistry and are dentists are willing to help you
2. Email/call/visit your local practices. A google search will reveal their details
3. LinkedIn – DCP’s are easily found here and you can direct message them
4. Facebook – find local practices and message them directly
5. Instagram – local practices and some DCP’s have dental profiles
6. Contact a Local Dental Committee – each region has them and they have access to the dentists in your area
You can use social media to find dental students. Get advice from them. They have been successful at what you are trying to do. If you are struggling to get access to shadow, consider arranging a recorded zoom call with a dentist. You still get insight into the career and you can playback the video to refresh your memory on key information.
Use the internet to your advantage and impress dental schools with the breadth and depth of your dental work experience.