DENTISTRY WORK EXPERIENCE - please read before posting

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orange.bananna
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Recently a lot of threads have been started about work experience for Dentistry. In order to avoid repetitive threads being created, I’m going to attempt to answer some of the common questions below.

Also have a look at the Dentistry Work Experience wiki page which has some information which you might find useful!

If your question still hasn’t been answered, please post in THIS thread and someone will try and answer you.

1. How do I get work experience?
This is one of the most common questions. The first place I suggest you start is by speaking to your own dentist, see if you can observe them. If they say you can’t, ask them if they know of any dental practices in the area that allow work experience.
Still not got anything? Print off your CV and take it to the dental practices in your area (be prepared, you may have to travel quite away to secure work experience), go in and ask to speak to the practice manager. By going into the practices you’re more likely to be successful than just sending e-mails/letters.
Still struggling to get work experience? Speak to teachers/career advisors in school and see if your school can put you in contact with any dentists.

If you live near a dental hospital, see if you can get work experience there. Generally you apply for a set placement time. Have a look at the university websites for the specific dental schools as they will give you more information.
Don’t forget you can also do work experience in other settings not just GDP, there are orthodontists, hospitals, dental labs etc....

2. How much is enough work experience?
There is no such thing as enough really. Do as much as you can. Most dental schools want a minimum of 2 weeks in an NHS GDP. Remember quality is more important than quantity, it’s much better if you can reflect and say what you’ve learnt during a 1 week placement at one practice than if you’ve sat for months and not learnt anything! However if you do have a long term work experience placement be sure to mention how long you've done it for as it shows commitment.

3. Questions to ask during work experience?
This really is up to you, it depends what you’re interested in and what you want to find out about. You could ask about some of the treatments the dentist is carrying out.
If the patient has been given different options to choose from, after the patient has gone you could ask more information about some of the alternatives. Remember though dental schools don’t expect you to know everything – otherwise they wouldn’t need to teach you, so don’t worry about all the technical details!

Other types of questions could relate to the patient/dentist relationship. You may also want to find out more about the dentist you’re observing experiences at university, applying, the course etc.

If you can’t think of a question to ask don’t worry. Try to work out what you want to gain from the work experience and see what questions you can come up with! Before you start work experience try and write a list of questions you'd like to ask!

4. When’s the best time to ask questions?
Most dentists will tell you when you start work experience what their preference is to you asking questions, whether that’s during the treatment, or after the patient has left. If you’re unsure whether it’s suitable to ask your question during a patient’s treatment, wait until the patients left.

Don’t forget the dental nurses are also happy to answer any questions you have. You could ask them what they like about the job, how important teamwork is etc...

5. Should I take notes during work experience?
It's completely up to you whether you take notes while observing. You could just have a notepad at home that you jot down a few ideas each night about what you've seen etc. That way when it comes to writing your personal statement/preparing for interview you've got something to look over to help you prepare.


This is not an exhaustive list of questions and if any other common questions come up below, I'll add them to this list. Hope this helps a bit and avoids repetitive threads
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Taci
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Would would the ideal amount of work experience/volunteering be for applying to dentistry?

I have just finished my gcse's and so far have yet to gain any experience placements.
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Neostigmine
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(Original post by Taci)
Would would the ideal amount of work experience/volunteering be for applying to dentistry?

I have just finished my gcse's and so far have yet to gain any experience placements.
There is no ideal amount. You need enough to show that you have had the chance to understand what it entails and to learn from it. But then there is no harm in having "too much" as long as it doesn't impact your studies.
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orange.bananna
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(Original post by Taci)
Would would the ideal amount of work experience/volunteering be for applying to dentistry?

I have just finished my gcse's and so far have yet to gain any experience placements.
For most universities they ask for 2 weeks of work experience if you can arrange more than that and have the time to do it then do more
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Taci
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Exactly, if I get 3 weeks in this holiday before starting A levels it should be fine!
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qwertyuiop9
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Hello people,

I was wondering where people have managed to find work experience for dentistry as everywhere I have asked do not seem to offer it.

Thanks
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ImAz
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Start by google searching and general dental practices in your area. Print of lots of CVs and get a lil pitch together. Go to the dentist (look presentable) and ask them if you could possibly have some observatory work experience/observe them.
If they say no then ask them if they know of anywhere/anyone who will.
It's very important to actually go in and ask.

If you can't find any GDP then try oral surgeries, orthodontic practices etc.


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ImAz
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(Original post by Taci)
Exactly, if I get 3 weeks in this holiday before starting A levels it should be fine!
I would get an ongoing place, it shows commitment to the universities


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orange.bananna
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(Original post by qwertyuiop9)
Hello people,

I was wondering where people have managed to find work experience for dentistry as everywhere I have asked do not seem to offer it.

Thanks
As the poster above said go in and ask, don't just ring/e-mail! Also try asking your own dentist if you can shadow/observe them and if they can't help ask if they know anyone who can
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chrishy2012
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Im going to do w/e at a dental practise and was wondering if u could help me figure out some questions to ask during work experience! im doing it for 5 days.
here are some questions are already thought of:
- what are the main differences between private and NHS treatment
-How is a dental hygiene different to dentist

need some more! your help will be greatly appreciated
if you have trouble gaining w/e just inbox and ill try to help u as well
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orange.bananna
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(Original post by chrishy2012)
Im going to do w/e at a dental practise and was wondering if u could help me figure out some questions to ask during work experience! im doing it for 5 days.
here are some questions are already thought of:
- what are the main differences between private and NHS treatment
-How is a dental hygiene different to dentist

need some more! your help will be greatly appreciated
if you have trouble gaining w/e just inbox and ill try to help u as well
Kartace made a great post about questions to ask during work experience here post 4. Have a look at that.

If the dentist you're shadowing is relatively newly qualified you could also ask them about university/course etc.
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qwertyuiop9
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(Original post by ImAz)
Start by google searching and general dental practices in your area. Print of lots of CVs and get a lil pitch together. Go to the dentist (look presentable) and ask them if you could possibly have some observatory work experience/observe them.
If they say no then ask them if they know of anywhere/anyone who will.
It's very important to actually go in and ask.

If you can't find any GDP then try oral surgeries, orthodontic practices etc.


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What do you mean pitch? Like what would you say?
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Taci
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Sort of a promotion of yourself I suppose. I wrote a sort of CV with all of the past work experience I have done (not dentistry related), the qualities that I have that would be beneficial when studying dentistry, etc...

I have managed to get 1 week in a dental lab so far, should get a couple of weeks in a general practice before the end of the summer holidays!
I called up the practices and then posted letters to them- a lot easier then sending emails in the end! I also went into practices, but this was really time consuming because around 70% of practices turn you down straight away for insurance issues, CRB checks, etc...!
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ImAz
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(Original post by qwertyuiop9)
What do you mean pitch? Like what would you say?
Well I just basically went in, introduced myself, and explained that I'm doing my a levels and want to pursue a career in dentistry, and am looking for the opportunity to shadow a dentist so as to learn more about the profession.

Anything will do though, you just have to make a good first impression.


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ekim2468
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Do universities check with practices where you did work experience to see how long you went to see if you are telling the truth. I have been going to an NHS GDP every friday afternoon for 7 weeks and would i get away with putting on my personal statement that i have gone for 10 or 11 weeks??! i doubt the practice has wrote down when i was there and doubt they would ring up every placement i have done asking lots of questions - it would take ages to do that for everyone.
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orange.bananna
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(Original post by ekim2468)
Do universities check with practices where you did work experience to see how long you went to see if you are telling the truth. I have been going to an NHS GDP every friday afternoon for 7 weeks and would i get away with putting on my personal statement that i have gone for 10 or 11 weeks??! i doubt the practice has wrote down when i was there and doubt they would ring up every placement i have done asking lots of questions - it would take ages to do that for everyone.
Why lie and say you've done an extra few weeks? If you've been going every Friday for seven weeks that shows commitment. What you've learnt from the experience is more important than the duration.

Try and make sure that you have your 2 weeks of work experience though! Just go for the extra few weeks!
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ImAz
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(Original post by ekim2468)
Do universities check with practices where you did work experience to see how long you went to see if you are telling the truth. I have been going to an NHS GDP every friday afternoon for 7 weeks and would i get away with putting on my personal statement that i have gone for 10 or 11 weeks??! i doubt the practice has wrote down when i was there and doubt they would ring up every placement i have done asking lots of questions - it would take ages to do that for everyone.
I personally wouldn't lie, they can usually tell during interviews I've heard.


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kt-nguyen
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(Original post by ekim2468)
Do universities check with practices where you did work experience to see how long you went to see if you are telling the truth. I have been going to an NHS GDP every friday afternoon for 7 weeks and would i get away with putting on my personal statement that i have gone for 10 or 11 weeks??! i doubt the practice has wrote down when i was there and doubt they would ring up every placement i have done asking lots of questions - it would take ages to do that for everyone.
Professionalism, ethical and integrity are key things required of a dentist. Is it worth risking a potential place or interview by lying on the application?


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saeidj
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Hey guys,
Just a question about work experience. Does it have to be done in the UK? because I have work experience as part of the practice in Iran and Hungary and I can get recommendation or whatever letter from the clinics.

Is that enough?

Thanks in advance
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orange.bananna
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(Original post by saeidj)
Hey guys,
Just a question about work experience. Does it have to be done in the UK? because I have work experience as part of the practice in Iran and Hungary and I can get recommendation or whatever letter from the clinics.

Is that enough?

Thanks in advance
I don't think work experience has to be done in the UK, I'm not 100% sure though.You can definitely write about work experience you've done in Iran and Hungary on your personal statement though. Are you an international or EU student?
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