Dental Shadowing or Predental Shadowing: A Student or International Dental Student who wishes to join a Dental School visiting a Dentist’s or Dental Clinic or office to observe from the sidelines and learn about the treatment procedures, dental terminology, techniques, how to deal with different scenarios, etc. This is called as Shadowing a dentist which lets you determine whether Dentistry as a profession is the right choice for you or not.
Many students are either prepared mentally to join Dentistry or are not, to help a student to come to a conclusion if Dentistry is suited for them Dental Shadowing shows the way. Volunteering at any Private or a Community Dental Clinic can give you a lot of Clinical exposure which helps you when you open your own practice.
What are the basic things which we can learn in Pre Dental Shadowing to prepare ourselves to start a career in Dentistry.
Front Office Management:
This can simply be put as learning Business Management which we do not learn in our Dental College. In the End running a successful Dental practice is a Business and the front office is the one which takes care of the financial and patient management. The front Office is what the patient first comes in contact with either through phone or in Person, so the Front Room gives the patient a First Impression and lays the foundation of their expectations. So learning how to manage the Front Office is quite important and also training the staff under you is equally important. Dental Shadowing gives you a first hand view of How to manage the Front Office.
Back Office Management:
Back Office is like the back bone of the Dental Practice which needs to be maintained properly, Back office comprises of Sterilization, Disinfection, Lab management and maintenance of Dental practice. With the advent of Coronavirus Pandemic Sterilization and Disinfection have now become even more important. Sterilization of Instruments, equipment sterilization and personal protection are part of the back office protocol. Some practices have In house Lab and other send out their work to outside Labs, both have to be dealt under back office management. So learning about how to manage Back Office lets you learn about protecting yourself, the patients and staff along with maintaining a healthy and sterilized environment.
Understanding Dental Specialties:
While working in a General Dental Office, we get a chance to observe all the specialties’ like Orthodontics, Pedodontics, Prosthodontics, Oral Surgery which offer are specialty treatment to certain conditions. With this exposure you can also get an idea which Specialty suites you best in your future. Specialties are expected to provide case-sensitive treatment and procedures depending on the treatment required.
Chairside Assistance and understanding Instruments materials:
This is one of the major and important experiences which can help you come to a conclusion regarding your future in dentistry. With Chair side assistance you get a hands on experience about patient management, treatment planning, etc. If you can convince the Dentist to let him/her help you assist them in any case you need to first observe how the experienced Assistant has been working, it is called as 4 hand dentistry. You need to be alert and be one step ahead of the Dentist, providing him with suction and also predicting his/her next move and be prepared with the instrument of material which is required in the said treatment.
Improving Network with Dentists and Clinics:
With Dental Shadowing you get a chance to network and get in touch with other Dental Students and Dentists to help you in your future. In a profession such as Dental
How to Approach a Dentist to Ask If you can Shadow them:
There are two options – To Go in Person to the Dental Clinic and the second one is To Call the front office or the Dentist. The first option is the best and will yield the best results as you can check the Dental Clinic first hand and also use your skills to impress the dentist to accept you.
Visit Dental Office to request Dental Shadowing:
It is important to remember that, ” It is difficult to say to someone in person than it is on Phone”. So visiting in person in the first option which you should be considering. You have to keep in mind certain things before you show up at a Dental Practice to request for dental shadowing – Dress well, carry your Resume (with your contact info along with an alternate number), make sure you show them your professional side.
Meeting the dentist is the best, but if you could not, do not get disheartened that you could not meet the Dentist. If you could leave a good impression on the Office staff the Dentist will get to know about it for sure. Make sure you mention to the Staff about which days work best for you and also mention that you can change your schedule according to the Dentist (showing that you are flexible).
Call the Front Office to Ask for Dental Shadowing:
If you are in a position where visiting the Dentist in person is not possible, calling up the front office is the second best thing to do. As you are calling, speaking to the Dentist is out of the question in most cases, so make sure that you are showing your best side to the Office staff to leave a impression.
Greet the Receptionist and give a short introduction about yourself and come to the point directly that you are a pre-dental student and is looking for a Dental Shadowing opportunity in their clinic. Make sure that you send in your resume and do not forget to mention that you would like to meet the Dentist in person if he/she is free and at what time it will be the best time to visit.
Going to a Dentist to request for Dental Shadowing can be stressful, but to get a spot you need to visit multiple practices and not just have trust in one clinic. Make sure that once you stand a Dental Shadowing gig, you clear all your doubts by learning from the staff and from the Dentist themselves.