33 Dental Interview Questions(With Tips and Example Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 8 December 2022
Published 25 June 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.
A dentist is a healthcare professional who specialises in teeth and mouth care. While many of these professionals eventually start their own practice, it's also common for dentists to join medical teams in hospitals, clinics and private practices. If you are interested in obtaining a job in the dental field, it's important you prepare for an interview. In this article, we share different types of questions interviewers may ask in dental interviews and provide example answers and tips for you to consider.
General dental interview questions
There are some questions that most employers ask during interviews, regardless of the industry in which they work. These general questions help interviewers learn more about you and your personality and may or may not directly relate to a dental job. Here's a list of some general questions:
Tell me about yourself.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Why do you want to work for this company?
How well do you manage stress? Can you share some of your techniques?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Which of your qualities do you feel best prepares you for success?
Describe the role you often fill in teams.
Tell me about a time in which you received quality care from a medical professional.
Has there ever been a time in your career in which a supervisor asked you to do something you disagreed with? What did you do?
What motivates you?
Related: How To Prepare for an Interview
Questions about dental experience and background
After learning more about your professional personality, interviewers ask questions to learn more about your education and experience. This gives you an opportunity to share your accomplishments and establish your professional abilities. Here are some background and experience questions the interviewer may ask:
In what ways do your personal struggles affect your work?
Tell me an interesting fact about dentistry you learned recently.
How would you address an unhappy patient?
Which demographic of patients do you most enjoy working with?
Have you ever disagreed with a colleague? How did you handle it?
Are you trained in any dental specialisations?
Do you have any administrative experience that would prepare you for the business-related duties of a dentist?
How did you decide which educational path to pursue?
What did you enjoy most about your previous position?
Do you plan on starting your own practice later in your career?
In-depth dental interview questions
Interviewers ask in-depth questions to see how you react to certain situations and to test your knowledge of the dental field. For these questions, try to answer as comprehensively as possible and ask for clarification if you don't understand a question. Here are some in-depth questions an interviewer may ask you during your dental interview:
Why did you decide to pursue dentistry over other professions in the healthcare field?
How would you go about treating a patient who is not fluent in your native language?
How current is your knowledge of dental procedures and tools?
What symptoms or conditions lead you to recommend an x-ray for a patient?
What type of anaesthesia would you use when removing a patient's teeth?
How does a patient's oral health affect their overall health?
Which dental conditions do you treat most commonly?
How long would it take you to perform an extraction?
What toothpaste do you recommend for patients? Why?
What is the most challenging procedure you've performed?
Related: 8 Essential dentist skills
Tips for dental interviews
Here is a list of tips to help you prepare for an interview for a position as a dentist:
Research the dental office
Before you attend your interview, try to gather research about the dental office hosting your interview. This can help you understand their mission statement, philosophy of care and other important details about the organisation. Researching dental offices before your interview can give you an advantage, as you can tailor your answers to fit their expectations while still being honest about your abilities. This practice also helps you find offices that best align with your professional goals and personal values.
Bring important documents
Though you may not need them for the interview, it's best to prepare the important documents your interviewer may request. These documents can include your CV, professional references or ID. Carrying these documents with you may help with the hiring process as you won't need to return to the office to share these documents. This practice also shows interviewers you're a prepared and responsible individual.
Try to be confident in your answers and skills. Remember to speak at an appropriate volume and maintain good posture throughout the interview. This helps shape the interviewer's first impression of you. To appear more confident, try to practice your interview answers, wear comfortable professional attire and be sure to prepare yourself in other ways for the interview.
Develop a special skill
To gain an advantage over other candidates, consider pursuing a certification or gaining special experience within the dental field. This helps you develop new skills and impress employers. Consider learning more about certain dental specialities, such as tooth extraction, business practices or anaesthesia administration.
Many interviewers ask candidates if they have questions at the end of the interview. This helps them gauge your interest in the position. Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to learn more about the role. Consider asking questions like:
What growth opportunities are available at this practice?
What are the priorities of this position?
Can you recommend any practices that you feel help professionals succeed in this role?
How long is the ideal appointment? How many patients do your dentists serve in one day?
Could you tell me more about the benefits this position offers?
Related: Questions To Ask at an Interview
Example questions and answers for dental interviews
To help you prepare for your interview, consider these example questions and answers:
How does your attention to detail benefit you as a dentist?
Interviewers ask this question to call attention to a necessary soft skill for the dental industry. In your answer, be sure to confirm you have this skill and explain specific situations in which your observations benefit your work.
Example: 'Being detail-oriented benefits me as a dentist by allowing me to notice symptoms of oral conditions and diseases. Since some symptoms are subtle, such as slightly swollen gums, I can use my strong attention to detail to diagnose issues and treat them accordingly before the condition adversely affects the patient's health.'
Describe how you would accommodate a patient who is experiencing fear over a recommended procedure?
Often, dentists comfort patients who feel concerned about a certain practice, such as tooth extraction. Interviewers ask this question to gauge how well you react to this fear. This gives you an opportunity to show your customer service skills and professional empathy. In your answer, consider using a past experience to provide support for your answer.
Example: 'When a patient expresses their discomfort or concern, it's important to empathise with them. At my last job, I treated a young boy who needed a filling for a cavity. He was afraid that the procedure would hurt, so I comforted him by carefully explaining the procedure in kid-friendly terms and told him I would numb the area so he wouldn't feel anything. This made him feel better, but I kept a conversation with him while I worked to keep him calm. Afterwards, I offered him a sticker for sitting still during the whole procedure.'
What advice do you offer patients to help them adopt better dental hygiene practices?
Interviewers ask this question to test your customer service skills and job knowledge. In your answer, try to show your respect for patients and a comprehensive approach to dental health. It also may be beneficial to acknowledge that you may give different advice depending on the patient. For example, your approach to offering advice to a child is likely different from the advice you would give an adult.
Example: 'When recommending better oral health habits, I try to personalise my approach for each patient. Overall, I recommend brushing after every meal and regularly flossing. I often explain to parents the benefits of giving their young child fluoride tablets for supplemental dental health. When offering advice on a toothpaste brand, I consider the patient's needs and history. Finally, I offer free toothbrushes to every patient during each appointment.'
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