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Dental Shadowing 101: How to Find the Perfect Dentist to Shadow

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

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Are you a predental student looking to gain valuable experience and insights into the world of dentistry? Dental shadowing is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the field, learn from seasoned professionals, and gain a better understanding of the day-to-day operations of a dental practice.

But finding a dentist to shadow can be a difficult task.

In this guide, we will walk you through the essential steps to help you find the perfect dentist for your shadowing experience.

From researching local dental practices to reaching out and establishing connections in other manners, we will provide you with the tools and strategies to make the most out of your dental shadowing journey.

So, no matter where you are on your journey to dental school, read on to discover how to find the perfect dentist to shadow and kickstart your career in dentistry.

What is Dental Shadowing?

Dental shadowing is a process where aspiring dentists observe and learn from experienced dentists in a clinical setting.

Shadowing allows you to gain firsthand knowledge from a dentist, including the day-to-day operations of a dental practice, patient interactions, and various dental procedures. It is an invaluable opportunity to witness the practical application of dental knowledge and skills.

Benefits of Dental Shadowing

There are numerous benefits to dental shadowing.

Firstly, it provides you with a realistic understanding of what it's like to work in the dental field. Shadowing allows you to observe the challenges, rewards, and intricacies of dentistry, helping you make an informed decision about if dentistry is the right career path for you.

Additionally, dental shadowing provides an opportunity to build relationships with experienced dentists. These connections can be invaluable when it comes to seeking mentorship, obtaining letters of recommendation, or even securing future job opportunities. Overall, shadowing also allows you to network with other dental professionals, expanding your professional circle and increasing your chances of success in the field.

What to Expect During Dental Shadowing

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During your shadowing experience, it's important to approach each day with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. Remember that as a shadowing student, your primary role is to observe, learn, and decide if dentistry is right for you.

You can expect to observe various dental procedures, interact with patients, and gain insights into the daily responsibilities of a dentist. Use this opportunity to ask questions, seek clarification, and learn from the dentist's expertise. Take mental notes, observe their techniques, and make the most out of every shadowing experience.

Ask your dentist to shadow

If you already have a dentist whom you trust and feel comfortable with, consider asking them if you can shadow them. This can be a great opportunity to see firsthand how the dental practice operates, as well as learn from a professional who you already have a rapport with.

Your dentist is very likely to allow you to shadow them. Plus, when it comes to getting a letter of recommendation from a dentist, it helps to have someone who has known you for quite a while!

On the downside, you are most likely away at college and don't have access to seeing your dentist often. In this case, your dentist is still a great option to shadow when you're home for school breaks, but you'll need to find other dentists to shadow to get more hours.

Using your network to find a dentist to shadow

Another effective strategy for finding a dentist to shadow is by leveraging your personal and professional network.

Reach out to friends, family members, classmates, and anyone else you know. Ask around! Most people like their dentists and think they are very friendly. It's very likely they can give you a recommendation and even ask the dentist the next time they see them if they allow students to shadow.

Meet dentists to shadow at predental club meetings


One of the best ways to find a dentist to shadow is by attending predental club meetings.

While practicing dentists aren't always at predental club meetings, they do occasionally attend to give a lecture, answer questions, or help teach skills.

Attending these meetings not only gives you the opportunity to network with experienced dentists but also allows you to learn from other students who are also interested in dentistry. You can exchange tips, experiences, and advice on finding shadowing opportunities.

To make the most out of these meetings, come prepared with questions and a genuine interest in the field. Dentists are more likely to take you on as a shadowing student if they see your enthusiasm and dedication.

Meet dentists to shadow via social media

In today's digital age, social media platforms offer a unique opportunity to connect with professionals, including dentists. Utilize platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram to search for dentists in your area and reach out to them.

Start by building a professional profile that showcases your interest in dentistry. Connect with dental professionals, join relevant groups, and engage with their content. By actively participating in these online communities, you increase your visibility and chances of finding a dentist to shadow.

When reaching out to dentists on social media, be polite, concise, and professional. Introduce yourself, express your interest in shadowing, and explain why you believe their practice would be a great fit for your shadowing experience. Personalize your message when you reach out to ask if you may shadow.

Using Google to Find Dentists to Shadow

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When it comes to finding dentists to shadow, Google can be your best friend. With a few simple search techniques, you can uncover a wealth of information about local dental practices and the dentists who work there.

  1. Start by conducting a general search for dentists in your area. Use keywords like "dentist," "dental practice," or "dentist near me" to generate a list of options. Take note of the names and locations of the practices that catch your attention.

  2. Once you have a list of potential dental practices, dig deeper by visiting their websites. Look for information about the dentists who work there, their specialties, and any other relevant details. This will help you narrow down your options and find dentists who align with your interests and goals.

By using Google, you can gather a comprehensive list of dentists to consider for your shadowing experience. Remember to keep track of the dentists' contact information and any other relevant details to make your next step of asking the dentist if you can shadow much easier.

Use Pre-Dental Advice to find a dentist to shadow

Of course, we saved the best for last! Check out our list of dentists that allow predental students to shadow to see if there is a dentist near you. We are constantly updating our list of dentists and dental offices. Our list includes the dentist's name, the dental office they work in, their location, and the best way to contact them to set up a dental shadowing session.


Finding dentists to shadow may seem like a difficult task, but with the right approach, you can unlock a world of opportunities.

Good luck on your journey to becoming a successful dentist!

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