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5 Things to Know Before Starting Dentistry Work Experience

Is dentistry the right career path for you? Dentistry work experience is the best way to find out! Whichever form of dentistry you’ll be observing, this guide will fill you in with everything you need to know to make the most out of your work experience.

1. Keep a journal of your experience

Often a long time passes between your work experience and applying for dentistry, so keeping a diary of your work experience is essential. Include a breakdown of each day, what you saw and how you felt. Were you expecting to see the things you did? Which skills did you observe and which do you think you need to develop most to be a successful dentist?

2. Note examples of key skills

One of the aims of work experience is to see if the skills you have fit dentistry. Make a list of the different skills the dentist uses and the context. For example, teamwork in working with the dental nurse and reception staff.

3. Ask the dentist what they enjoy about their job

Your work experience will give you a first-hand opportunity to ask the dentist questions about their job. Ask them why they became a dentist in the first place and what they enjoy about their work. You can ask them if they prefer private or NHS work and whether they have specialised in a specific area.  

4. Note basic dental treatments seen

Keep a log of the different treatments you see during your work experience. Make a note of how long they take, the basics of what they involve and also the cost implications to the patient. Whilst you aren’t expected to have a thorough understanding of dentistry treatments, they might ask you at interview which treatments you enjoyed watching the most, so it’ll be useful to have this written down!

5. Make a note of the challenges you see

Whilst on your work experience you might enjoy all of the aspects that dentistry has to offer, but the admissions team will want to see that you’re realistic in your career aspirations. For example, many dentists have to work under tight time constraints. Be sure to make note of these things. During an interview, the admissions tutors will want to see that you have a realistic idea of what dentistry involves and so they may ask you about the negative aspects of being a dentist.

Remember to be proactive during your work experience. Although you will only be observing, make sure you really reflect on what you see to make the most of your experience!

Good luck!

Words: Joelle Booth

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