The Benefits of Finding a Dentistry Mentor

May 4, 2016

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

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If you’re planning on becoming a dentist, it’s awesome to have someone to show you the ropes, which is why having a dentistry mentor is invaluable. A good mentor can provide you a lot of helpful information about the field. Plus, it’s nice to have someone who is rooting for your success and understands the ins and outs of dentistry.

Why have a dentistry mentor?

You might think if you have a school counselor who can guide you, why have a dentistry mentor? School counselors are a great resource, but they cannot be an expert in all careers. A dentistry mentor can provide you with specific information about the field.

Having a dentistry mentor is about more than just shadowing someone. Although shadowing is a great experience, a mentor can also share their knowledge, experience and wisdom. They can help you assess your strengths and weaknesses as they relate to the dental profession. Plus, they can provide constructive feedback to motivate you to do your best.

Having someone who has been through the application process, dental school interviews and entrance exams can help you understand the process better. A mentor may explain pitfalls to avoid and provide you with info on how to stand out from other candidates.

How to find a dentistry mentor

You have different options when it comes to finding a dentistry mentor. But it’s essential to find someone who is enthusiastic about being a mentor. One place to start is your state dental association. Some state dental associations may have formal mentoring programs, or they might point you in the right direction.

If finding a dental mentor in the US is proving difficult, or if you want to expand your understanding of dentistry, you may want to consider doing a hospital shadowing internship overseas. During a shadowing internship, you will observe your dentistry mentor as they diagnose and treat patients. They’ll explain procedures to you, and you’ll be able to ask questions – so you’ll get a real glimpse into your future career. If your internship takes place in another country, you may be able to observe conditions that you would never see at home; truly expanding your knowledge of global health.

Get the most from your mentoring experience

Once you find a dentistry mentor, it’s important to keep several things in mind to get the most out of the experience. Consider some of the following tips:

Be professional
Whether you are shadowing your mentor or meeting to discuss dental school options, be on time and dress professionally. You want to maintain a professional attitude and respect your mentor’s time. Also, don’t forget to express your gratitude for their help.

Communicate openly
Don’t be afraid to ask questions regarding all aspects of the dental profession and dental school. For example, as long as you’re not asking your mentor what their income is, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask what new dentists can expect to earn.

Listen to advice
Your mentor knows a lot more about the field of dentistry than you do. If they make a suggestion about classes to take or internships to pursue, it’s a good idea to consider their advice. Keep in mind, you don’t have to agree with everything your mentor says, but you should hear them out.

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists and physician assistants – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.