How would dental schools look at my pre-med experiences?

Your pre-med experience is great! There is nothing wrong with experience. If dentistry ends up being your thing, you can use this experience to show the dental schools that you were open minded about other careers and after investing a good amount of time, you realized dentistry was the best choice for you. With that said you need to show them that you have given dentistry the attention that it deserves from that point on. Personally, I think those who find dentistry after exploring other career options are in a better situation than those who picked dentistry and just stick to it without considering other career options.

Is it a bad idea to apply to medical schools and dental schools at the same time?

Dental schools have been recently looking for qualities that prove ones commitment to dentistry. This has sprung up and become fairly popular in the past few years. Those who apply to medical and dental school are at a disadvantage if the dental schools become aware.

That said, it is not mission impossible. People who apply to both will still get in; infact, one of my closest friends just did this and ended up at NYU College of Dentistry!

Before doing this, I urge that you make sure dentistry is something you can see yourself doing for the next 20+ years. In my opinion, dentistry is less flexible than medicine in general. It is important that our future of dentists are dentists because they are passionate about the career and not because they couldn’t get into medical school.