You have made it to the interview part of the selection process, which means that you have caught your potential employer’s eye with your resume. Now you need to exceed expectations with your interview to land the job. There are always general interview questions to prepare for, but putting extra focus on common dental interview questions will help you excel.
Dental services are part of the medical field, but dental care is also viewed as a maintenance service. Most of the time, people are coming to the dentist to have their teeth cleaned or repaired. As in any service industry, excellent customer service is key. Be prepared to answer questions about your willingness and skill to work with the public in a dental setting. Your interviewer will be sizing you up to see what impression you might make on their clients. Expect your interview questions to be about both your clinical and communication skillset.
5 Dental Interview Questions & Answers
1. How do you work with the public in a dental setting where people are often nervous and in pain?
I have used a relaxed and friendly approach when anxious patients came into our training clinic. I find that it eases their anxiety if I tell the patient what I am doing and reassure them that they can stop me anytime if they feel pain or want to ask a question. I view putting the patient at ease as one of my primary duties. When someone comes in stressed out, I assure them that we want to make them as comfortable as we can as soon as possible. I realize that people in pain are often not cheerful and do not want to talk much, but I don’t let that bother me, and I focus on helping them find relief. Once the patient’s mouth is numbed up, I check in with them periodically to make sure they are not hurting. When patients know that I am empathizing with their situation, they are able to relax more easily.
2. Explain your education, qualifications and experience for the position.
I have completed my Bachelors of Science in Dental Hygiene and have recently received my license. I have also had extensive internship experience through my school’s training clinic. I especially enjoy educating patients on oral health and preventative dental care, and have done presentations on dental hygiene at local elementary schools.
3. Paying attention to detail is important in the dental field. Explain your orientation to detail.
I think that my attention to detail is what attracted me to dentistry in the first place. There is no room to overlook any detail when cleaning and examining teeth for any signs of disease. I see myself as someone that can increase efficiency on the dental team because I take the time to make sure I give thorough cleanings and exams. Communicating to the dentist about my preliminary observations during the cleaning makes for a more focused exam.
4. How do you adapt to change in a fast-paced workplace?
I realize the field of dentistry is always changing. At the training clinic, we had a new workflow procedure that needed to be implemented. Since we were so busy, all staff received instructional handouts to review independently. There were staff who misinterpreted the instructions, so errors were being made and people were getting frustrated. I suggested to management that we have a lunch hour training session with the whole staff in order to go through the requirements together. They agreed to gather everyone for a meeting, and I got to assist in the presentation. When all staff got together and reviewed the new requirements, the correct change in procedure became understood by everyone. I am a firm believer in the power of clear communication, especially in a fast-paced workplace.
5. Imagine I am a patient to whom you have to explain gingivitis. What would you say?
The mild gum inflammation you are experiencing is a warning sign of gingivitis. Don’t worry, it’s a very common condition. It’s good that you came in for your cleaning today because I can tell you what to do to avoid it getting any worse. It’s easily treated at home by brushing regularly and flossing, of course, but specialized mouthwashes can really cut minor inflammation down. I’ll send a mouthwash sample home with you to see if that improves your gums.