Dental Experiences for Pre-Dental Students

According to the ADEA AADSAS Application, dental experiences are 'either paid or unpaid work in a dental field where the applicant can observe patient care, interact with practitioners, or take responsibility for patient care.'  Examples of experiences that may fit into this category include: 

  • Paid dental assistant at a private practice 
  • Volunteering at a free or low-cost clinic 
  • Paid dental hygienist  

While these types of experiences are valuable, they are not required to be a competitive applicant.  Training to become a dental assistant or hygienist often requires additional schooling outside of the classes needed to earn an undergraduate degree.  Some students choose not to pursue these types of training so they can focus on their academic courses.  There are other ways for pre-dental students to practice interacting with patients in a healthcare setting that parallels the interactions a dentist has with patients.  Visit the Volunteer Work, Extracurriculars, Research & Employment page to read more.

If a student does have the opportunity to work as a paid dental assistant, it is their responsibility to investigate whether the hours worked as an assistant will 'count' towards the total number of hours a dental school requires of applicants. Working in a dental office, performing administrative duties, will not be counted toward the total number of hours required.