Buttressing a Dental School Candidacy

The US dental school admission process is not straightforward as it looks; instead, it has switchbacks throughout the ride. The reality check strikes when the candidate clears the standardized tests and travels to the destination of CAAPID documentation. While filling out this paperwork, the one round-the-clock question crossing each applicant’s mind is, 

How do I sculpt my candidacy to enhance my chances of getting into a US dental school? 

This blog will develop your reflexes to unbend all the switchbacks from your journey.

Here is how you can branch like a tree in the US

1. Most foreign-trained dentists earn experience as dental assistants (DA). A few States directly allow you to work as DA, while the others require adventitious schooling and certifications. Search the licensure requirements of the states that work for you the best.

2. Others get into volunteering and shadowing: Reach out to dental schools, hospitals, and private practices to have valuable facetime with the dentists/faculty, and observe their day-to-day operations. Due to pandemics, virtual shadowing is also an option. Visit for further information: Managing Delayed Applications due to COVID-19 in 2020-21!

3. Community services (non-dental): Community services are indispensable amongst the multi-cultural population of the US for building selfless giving and compassion. You can volunteer in associations like the Red Cross, World Health Organization, Mission of Mercy, Salvation Army, Soup Kitchens, libraries, high schools, and educational drives.

4. Participate in Organized Dentistry (like ISDS, CDS, ADA, and IAGD): Join these dental societies to access their services and build your network with colleagues.

5. Gain exposure to Research: Work as a research assistant or volunteer for research projects in dental schools or have your research. You can participate in both laboratory and clinical research projects.

6. Additional Programs/Opportunities to boost your profile: 

a. Masters’ degree in the USA:

There are master’s programs like Oral Biology, Dental Materials, Hospital Administration, and Public Health. Visit, How to Network? | Masters in Healthcare Administration MHA – Dr. Govind Dhawan | TWU

b. Continuing dental education courses (CDE):

Focus on hands-on classes more than online CDE hours. Access free websites like Colgate oral health, dental care, viva learning, and Act Dental. Surf for further information, Useful Resources for DDS Applications as an International Dentist applying to US Dental Schools

c. Externship/ Observership / Preceptorship offered by Dental Schools:

It is a full-time program that exposes students to the specialty of dentistry by attending classes with postgraduate, and undergraduate dental students, and Residents. Some externship programs to consider are Micro-Endodontics, Implants, Digital Dentistry, and Periodontics.

  1. Additional certifications in the Dental field:
  • Expanded function Dental Assistant (EFDA) is the most widespread certification amongst internationally trained dentists. The EFDA practices under the supervision of a licensed dentist and performs tasks like restorations in the dental office. 
  • Basic Life Support online certification course: Several organizations like the Red Cross, and AHA offer online Basic Life Support courses for healthcare workers with credit for two years.
  • Bench Test Preparatory Course: Usually, one course with didactic training is sufficient, followed by robust self-practice. Generally, a 5-day course gives a clinical certificate of distinction.
  • Publications: Dentists are known for their game-changing excellence. Whether it is Smile Restoration or Implant Surgeries, share the well-documented cases in dental magazines and journals. Participate in paper and poster presentations at worldwide conferences.
  • Teaching: Guiding fellow applicants throughout the admission process is a viable option. If you’re theoretically sound, prepare them for TOEFL, NBDE preparation, and ADAT. Mentoring does not need to be only dentistry-related. Teach extra-curricular skills like sketching, stage talks, singing, and physical fitness.

Profile reflection:

It is challenging to checkmark each experience mentioned above, but choose the experience that aligns well with your long-term goals and chase it. Avail of 15 min free session for your application review at Caapid Simplified – Services

Reflect well on the switchbacks you faced during this profile-building exercise through the utmost competitive paperwork. Access our previous blog: Impressive Candidacy Reflection for DDS Admission for guidance.


Dr. Leena Garg, SME Caapid Simplified