Dental Interview Questions and Answers to Help You Prepare

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 20, 2022 | Published November 5, 2021

Updated August 20, 2022

Published November 5, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Dentistry is a medical field that focuses on oral care and offers a diverse range of job opportunities depending on your education and professional experience. When preparing for an interview in the dental field, you can build your confidence by practising answers to possible questions. Learning about common dental interview questions and answers can help you prepare for an interview and secure a job in the health care industry.

In this article, we explain why it's important to review dental interview questions and answers when preparing for a meeting, share some examples of various types of interview questions, and provide several examples with effective answers you can use as a reference when preparing your own.

Related: 6 Common Dental Hygiene Interview Questions (With Answers)

Why is it important to practice dental interview questions and answers?

Practising dental interview questions and answers can give you confidence when going into a meeting with a hiring manager. By preparing for several likely questions, you can focus on other aspects of your interview and present yourself more professionally. You can also plan which of your skills and experience you want to highlight in different types of questions, like using general questions to discuss your character traits.

Related: 10 Dental Careers (With Salaries and Primary Duties)

General dental interview questions and answers

Here are some examples of common interview questions and answers to consider. By developing thoughtful responses to these questions, you can share interesting information about yourself that relates to the role you want:

  • Can you tell me about yourself?

  • What interests you about this job opportunity?

  • What interests you about working at this company?

  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

  • What's your management style?

  • Can you share an example of a difficult situation you faced and how you overcame it?

  • How would your previous coworkers describe you?

  • How would you handle a disagreement with a coworker?

  • What's your greatest achievement?

Related: What Does a Dental Hygienist Do? (With FAQs and Tips)

Questions about experience and background

Here are some interview questions that focus on your experience and background you can use to prepare for your meeting:

  • Where did you attend dental school?

  • How did you decide you wanted to work in dentistry?

  • What's one thing you learned during your placement program?

  • How would you describe your bedside manner?

  • How do you identify a root canal?

  • How would you calm a young patient who was nervous?

  • Have you ever considered opening your own dental practice?

  • How would you explain a complicated procedure to a patient?

  • How would you approach a patient that hasn't visited the dentist in over a year?

  • Do you have experience working with elderly patients?

Dental interview questions with sample answers

Here are some common questions you may hear in an interview that you can prepare for in advance to develop impressive answers that demonstrate your skills. Consider these sample answers as guidance when preparing your own:

1. Can you describe how you would approach a typical exam with a patient?

Your answer gives the interviewer an understanding of your skills, strengths, weaknesses, and your knowledge about practices, procedures, and standards. For example, the interviewer might describe a hypothetical patient and ask how you would perform routine cleaning. Discuss your process step by step and explain the basics of a dental exam to showcase your knowledge and experience. Describe the procedure in easy-to-understand terms and mention specific tools and equipment as you explain how you would provide quality service to the customer.

Example: "I always try to make my patients feel comfortable by starting with a casual conversation to build trust and make them feel more relaxed. I then ask them about how their teeth have been since their last visit and see if they have any specific concerns. I then use my tools to check for signs of overall oral hygiene and perform standard screenings for cancer. If there are any health issues that require a procedure, like a filling or wisdom tooth removal, I address them right away and explain them carefully to the patient to ensure they know what to expect."

Related: Interview Question: "Do You Have Any Questions?"

2. How would you handle a patient that is worried about the complications of a wisdom teeth removal?

Dentists encounter patients across a variety of different age groups who are reluctant or nervous to have a procedure done. An interviewer may ask you about how you would handle a patient with concerns about a wisdom tooth extraction, especially when there are potential complications. In your answer, you can reference a specific experience you had with a reluctant patient, or explain what you would do in that situation. Your explanation can show the interviewer that you have the necessary manners and politeness to provide a positive experience for everyone.

Example: "When caring for a patient who's scheduled for a wisdom tooth extraction, I'd try to establish trust and reassurance by outlining the procedure from start to finish and answer questions that the patient or their guardian has. During the procedure, I would periodically ask the patient how they are doing and if they have any concerns. Establishing trust with the patient and being transparent about the purpose of a procedure is an important part of providing quality care and minimizing doubts."

Related: How to Deal With a Difficult Customer

3. Have you ever had a patient disagree with your medical opinion?

An employer wants to know how you handle conflicts or disagreements with patients. This question can prove that you have the practical knowledge to handle confrontation effectively and transition tension into assurance. Explain how you prioritize the patient's needs and that you are taking care of their concerns. Talk about what it means to you to be professional and considerate to maintain patient satisfaction.

Example: "I had a patient disagree with my opinion on their oral health during my placement program. They believed they needed a general anesthetic rather than a local anesthetic for a tooth extraction. I calmly explained to them the benefits and potential side effects of each. I also mentioned that general anesthesia can help with relaxation because of the sedating effects of the medication, while local anesthetic can reduce recovery time but might cause discomfort during the procedure."

4. Do you have any specialties or areas you prefer to work in?

An interviewer might ask you if you have any specialties or if you prefer to work in one of the specific areas of their practice. Examples of areas that their service might specialize in are oral medicine, orthodontics, dental anesthesiology, and pediatric dentistry. If you have any special certifications or training, mention them in your answer and explain the areas that you would be comfortable working in, if possible. You can also share your history of administering oral health and educational background.

Example: "In my previous profession, I provided regular care for pediatric patients and learned to administer anesthetics for tooth extraction. I received extensive training in this area. Because of this, I'm capable of using all diagnostic tools, including x-rays, plaque detection kits, salivary tests, and bite sticks."

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5. What steps would you take to integrate and uphold our standards?

Employers are interested in the energy and enthusiasm you bring to the team, and how you plan to cooperate independently under company procedures and guidelines. The culture of every clinic is unique and requires new employees to learn how each practice operates and how to navigate the system in place. You can also ask an employer about their practice, the size of the team, and how long their onboarding process usually takes.

Example: "It's an honour to be given the opportunity to join a partnership with this practice. If hired, I would meet with management to ask questions and get familiar with the routine and procedures. During the training period, I plan to introduce myself to the team and ask them about where I can access the diagnostic tools and equipment."

Questions to ask an interviewer

Preparing for an interview usually includes knowing what questions to expect and practicing how you want to answer them. At the end of an interview, you can ask the interviewer any questions you may have. Asking the recruiter questions about their practice, the company, and potential competencies shows the recruiter how motivated you are to succeed in the position. Here are some questions you can ask at the end of an interview:

  • What do you personally like most about working for this company?

  • Can you tell me more about the training methods for new employees?

  • How would you describe the work environment and culture?

  • What is one challenge you've faced working for this company?

  • Are there any new practices being integrated now or in the future?

  • Are there any new technologies that the company wants to introduce into the patient health program in the future?

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