ALL dental schools require observation hours. Therefore, it is very important that you check the requirements at the specific schools you are interested in, but a general guide is to aim for 100 hours of volunteering and job shadowing combined.
Make sure you include a general dentistry office in your volunteer or shadowing experiences. In addition, shadow several specialists. Also, vary the settings you work in. Try to visit solo practices, group practices and a low-cost community dental clinic, for example.
Ask any dentist you have contact with if you can spend a day (or more) observing in his or her office. If you belong to the pre-dental club, ask other members of the club where they have gained experience. You can also “cold call” dentist’s offices. Call or e-mail offices in your area, politely explain that you are a pre-dental student seeking to learn more about the profession and would like to know if the office has opportunities for shadowing or volunteering.