What Are the Different Types of Dental Internships?

N. Kalu

Many people find dentistry to be a rewarding career path. Dentists serve to maintain their patients oral health, which includes providing medical advice, cleaning teeth, filling cavities, and performing oral surgery. Dental training consists of a four year undergraduate degree followed by a two to three year orthodontic degree. Some undergraduate students participate in dental internships to gain work experience and improve their dental school applications.

Most clinical psychology internships are hosted by hospitals and universities.
Most clinical psychology internships are hosted by hospitals and universities.

Undergraduate dental internships can be local or international. In order to apply for these programs, students should have very good grades in a pre-dental university track. Duties of a students participating in dental internships include preparing equipment and supplies, mixing materials, interacting with patients, doing basic medical procedures, and assisting doctors with more complex procedures. Local internships may be paid or unpaid, and paid positions generally go to students with more experience or who can commit more time. Local dental internships generally require participants to work at least eight hours per week.

Dentists serve to maintain a patient's oral health, and often drill and fill cavities.
Dentists serve to maintain a patient's oral health, and often drill and fill cavities.

Office jobs are also a common option for undergraduate interns. Although these positions offer less medical interaction with patients, they help interns understand the business side of running a dental office while providing exposure to various orthodontic procedures. Typical responsibilities for office-based dental internships include data entry, billing, customer service, scheduling appointments, and resolving patient insurance issues.

Residency programs are often required for those who have completed dental school but hope to specialize in oral surgery.
Residency programs are often required for those who have completed dental school but hope to specialize in oral surgery.

Another option for undergraduate pre-dental students is participating in international dental internships. These programs largely take place in rural areas of countries that lack advanced medical systems. International participants will have a much more involved role in patient care than students participating in local internships due to the limited number of dentists in the locations they serve. Students who plan to live abroad after graduation often find these types of internships to be particularly useful experiences.

Participants of international dental internships may have a more involved role in patient care than students participating in local internships.
Participants of international dental internships may have a more involved role in patient care than students participating in local internships.

International internships are generally unpaid, and participants may incur some or all of the travel costs. Most organizers and participants consider these programs as a combination of volunteer work and education. Programs can last one to three months. Some programs offer additional benefits, such as language training or cultural experiences.

A dental intern may insure that patients are comfortable after having dental work done.
A dental intern may insure that patients are comfortable after having dental work done.

Residency programs can be an option for those who have already completed dental school but want additional experience to improve their resumes. Residents are expected to work full time and generally rotate through several different specialized facilities or through a variety of practices. Residency programs are offered by hospitals and larger private practices, help dentists get the necessary hands on experience to practice themselves, and are required for professional licensing in some areas.

Local dental internships generally require participants to work at least eight hours per week.
Local dental internships generally require participants to work at least eight hours per week.
International dental internship programs may last from one to three months.
International dental internship programs may last from one to three months.
Dental interns are typically taught how to determine the health of a patient's teeth using X-rays.
Dental interns are typically taught how to determine the health of a patient's teeth using X-rays.

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Discussion Comments

Spotiche5

Many oral surgeons also offer dental internships. These positions are great for people who want to go into the type of dentistry that deals with oral surgeries instead of just basic dentistry.

Raynbow

If you plan to go into any position in dentistry, pursuing a dental internship is a great step to take that could lead to a full-time job.

My sister went to a vocation school to be a dental assistant, and started her career with an internship. Today, she has been with the same practice for more than 15 years.

To find a dental internship, the best way to begin your search is to talk to the instructors of your school. They are more than willing to help their students locate dentists that place students into internship positions. The best thing about this strategy is that the dentist often like to hire the people that they helped to train through these educational programs.

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