How to Prepare for Dental School: Tips and Tricks

how to prepare for dental school tips and tricks

Whether you have been accepted into dental school in Vancouver or you are still embarking on your pre-dental journey, there are a few different ways you can prepare for dental school. As a challenging and rewarding path in the healthcare field, when applying for a DDS program near you the requirements are not only academic excellence but also practical skills. In this blog post, we will explore several key strategies to help you prepare effectively for dental school, so that the transition into the field is not as overwhelming. This post will discuss dentist shadowing, learning basic dental terminology, practicing indirect vision, and relaxing. By following these recommendations, you can ensure a solid foundation and be better equipped to excel in your dental education, your pursuits in attending a DMD program near you and future career.

Dentist Shadowing

One of the most critical steps in preparing for dental school is to shadow a dental office. By observing dental professionals, you will gain a better understanding of patient care, chairside manner, and the overall dental environment. Participating in dentist shadowing in Vancouver is not limited to being a “shadow” as shown in the left image above. A good shadowing experience will be interactive. Not only will you be able to observe procedures, you will be able to ask questions and understand the steps and the justifications for different procedures. Getting involved in this kind of dental mentoring is also a great opportunity to get a sense of the daily challenges and rewards of working in a dental practice, and if there is anything the clinician would have done differently in their dental journey. Moreover, by participating in dentist shadowing, you can also learn about different specialties in dentistry, such as orthodontics, oral surgery, oral radiology or periodontics, which may spark your interests for further pursuits as you progress through your DMD program in Vancouver or wherever you choose to study.

Learn Basic Dental Terminology

Dentistry, like many other professions, has its own language. Before you start dental school, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with basic dental terminology. This will help you feel more comfortable and confident in class, and it will also help you communicate effectively with your instructors and classmates. Some essential terms to learn include enamel, dentin, pulp, gingiva, plaque, and calculus.

You can also go a step further and learn about the anatomy of the mouth and teeth, and different methods of numbering teeth. In Canada, and many other countries, dentists typically use the FDI notation, while in the United States, dentists typically use the Universal notation.

It is also helpful to identify different types of dental instruments such as handpieces, probes, explorers, burs, and rubber dam tools. Having a general understanding of basic dental terminology will give you a better understanding of the procedures you will be performing and help you stand out among your peers.

Practice Indirect Vision

Indirect vision is using a dental mirror to visualize and access hard-to-reach areas of the oral cavity. It’s a crucial skill for any dentist and one that takes practice to master. To prepare for dental school, try practicing indirect vision using a coloring book or the FutureDMD template while looking in a mirror. This will help you develop your hand-eye coordination and get comfortable using a mirror to see inside a patient’s mouth. Click on the template link for instructions on how to set up this technique.

Template Link


Another important tip to prepare for dental school is to relax mentally. Finding ways to relax and manage stress is vital during this demanding period of your educational journey. Consider practicing mindfulness meditation, yoga, or just generally staying active. These techniques can help you stay calm and focused, which will be essential during your time in dental school.

Developing an organizational system to help you manage the coursework in dental school is another tool to feel less overwhelmed when the semester gets busy. See our previous blog post for more tips on how to manage your time in dental school.

How FutureDMD can help

Preparing for dental school requires dedication and hard work. By shadowing a dental office, learning basic dental terminology, practicing indirect vision, and relaxing, you can set yourself up for success and be well on your way to becoming a skilled and successful dentist.

Experience what it truly feels like to be a dentist with FutureDMD. We offer dental mentoring programs for aspiring students, challenging them to “Think Like a Dentist” while avoiding the typical and uninspiring dentist shadowing experience. Our Dental Externship series will provide strong dental mentoring by widening your perspective, encouraging discussion and facilitating critical thinking while giving a true understanding of what it is like being and working as a dentist. We also help with dental school applications and offer dental school admissions consulting. Experience dental mentoring in Vancouver as it should be by contacting FutureDMD today.