Tips From Current D.D.S. and Dental Hygiene Students

Shadowing in a Dental Office

Posted by Lindsey Atiyeh on June 01, 2014

Curious about whether dentistry is right for you? Are you looking for a way to rev up your resume? Whether you want to observe specific dental techniques or you’re simply wondering what it’s like to be a dentist, shadowing is the perfect way to open your eyes to all that this profession has to offer.

Where do I begin? How do I find a dentist to shadow?

A quick internet search will turn up dentists and dental specialists in your area. Make a call or write an e-mail to inform them that you are considering a career in dentistry and would like to learn more by shadowing a professional. This may seem like a daunting task, but don’t be afraid! Remember, they were once in your shoes. Many dentists are receptive to having students come in, so do not get discouraged if you are declined by one office.

Want to try a different approach?

You may wish to begin your search by reaching out to your own dentist. During your next appointment, mention that you are considering a career in dentistry. If you are having a procedure done, ask your dentist if he or she would be willing to narrate each step. In this face-to-face setting, you can ask about the possibility of returning to their office to shadow.

What do I ask?

As you talk to the dentist, be professional, confident, and assertive. Arrange the date or dates you would like to shadow. If there is a specific procedure you are interested in observing, you may be able to schedule your shadowing around your interests.Certain procedures may already be scheduled. The dentist can tell you the best time to come in based on what you want to see. Agree upon a time you should arrive, and make sure you keep a written record of your plans for future reference.

Finally, keep an open mind when it comes to shadowing various specialties. This will give you a broader perspective of different dental environments and procedures. You will be able to hone in on your own interests, and dental schools will appreciate your curiosity!

*Original post published 7/11/2013


About Lindsey Atiyeh:

Lindsay Atiyeh

New York University College of Dentistry, Class of 2017


Lindsey studied Biopsychology and Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. As President of her university's Pre-Dental Society, she promoted oral health awareness on campus and led outreach programs to teach proper dental hygiene to elementary school children. Lindsey will be attending New York University College of Dentistry this fall.