Prospective Students

Virtual Advising: Dental Experience

We require a minimum of 40 hours of dental experience.

 Dental experience is either paid or unpaid work in a dental field where you observed patient care (i.e., shadowing), interacted with practitioners, or had responsibility for patient care.

Our students who matriculate average 120-130 hours of observation. While only 40 hours are required, we strongly encourage you to complete more than 40 hours. This will give you more exposure to the field which will only help you in the long run. It can reaffirm your decision to go into dentistry and can help you decide if you want to specialize after dental school. It may also help you decide which type of patient population you want to work with when you graduate. This is why we recommend varying the practices you observe. The more you can see, the better! Extensive observation hours demonstrate your commitment and passion for the field of dentistry.


Can I count observation hours from high school?

While it is a great experience to start observing dentistry in high school, we really only consider hours during your undergraduate college years and beyond. You are welcome to list these hours on the application, however we will not count them towards the 40 hour minimum requirement.

Can I shadow a family member who is a dentist?

Sure! These hours are great exposure to the field of dentistry. That being said, it will be helpful for you to diversify your dental experience. Try observing at a couple of different practices!

Can you help me schedule observation hours?

No, our office does not do any sort of observation scheduling or coordination. This is your responsibility.

Can I observe in the OSU Student Dental Clinic?

We cannot set up observation hours in our student clinic. The 40 observation hours cannot be in an educational environment.

I work as a dental hygienist/assistant, etc. Can I use observation hours from when I was working?

Yes! That is valuable experience in the dental field that helpd to familiarize you with the profession. We would also encourage you to diversify your experience with a few other practices as well!

 I went on a mission trip and saw a variety of dental procedures. Can I use these hours?

While that is a great experience, you should only list hours completed in the United States. Please keep in mind that as a pre-dental student, you should only be observing and not performing any dental procedures. Dental procedures should only be performed by licensed professionals.