When considering beginning a career as a dental assistant, you require a suitable preparation plan for the upcoming dental assistant interview questions. The interview questions and sample responses compiled in this article will help you prepare and gain confidence. You must feel incredible when you answer the typical interview questions you have been preparing, don't you?
The interviewer for this position will most likely want to ensure you have sufficient experience in the necessary sector to assist the dentist. You should highlight your knowledge of medicine and internship experiences while fresher. If you recently graduated, that is also acceptable. The knowledgeable interviewing panel will look for potential in you during the interview.
Before getting to the questions, let us explain the duties you will have to perform in your role as a dental assistant and any talents you might need to hone to impress the interviewer.
What Does a Dental Assistant Do?
You might discover the responsibilities your dentist wants you to conduct while browsing the job postings. As a result, the hiring manager frequently includes questions about job responsibilities in the dental assistant interview questions.
The candidate will be required to carry out specific tasks as a dental assistant so that the dentist may treat the patient conveniently. The dentist's treatments on patients are incredibly delicate and risk causing infection if the dental assistant does not practice proper cleanliness.
A dental assistant assists the dentist with the following tasks, to name a few:
- Scheduling work and making appointments with the doctor
- Assembling the tools needed to examine the patient (X-ray)
- Aiding the dentist in the patient's diagnosis
- Preparing the surgical tools, operation room, and patient.
- While operating, passing the instruments.
- Prepping dental impressions (molds for the teeth)
- Keeping a close eye on a patient's vital signs
- Preparing the patient for extractions, fillings, and crowns
- Sterilizing the surgical room as required
- Immediately following the procedure, cleaning the area
It is challenging for the dentist to manage and treat the patient alone during the treatments. Therefore, a dental assistant provides the additional assistance he requires.
Basic Skills Needed for Dental Assistant Position
The requirements for being a dental assistant may vary from state to state. However, the educational needs and technical skills are almost the same for many conditions.
Continue reading to know the basic skills needed for a dental assistant job post:
1. Educational Requirement
If you want to pursue your career in the dental assistant field, you need to-
- Obtain the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) certificate
- Pass the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam
- Have current certification from CPR for dental assistants
- Complete graduation from a dental assisting program accredited by CODA
- Graduate from high school, obtain the CPR certificate and work for 3500 hours under a dentist
You need to take the admission test for admission to the dental school or programs mentioned above. You can check out the dental school interview questions to prepare for the admission tests.
2. Additional Skills
Your educational degrees will give you theoretical knowledge about the advanced technology you must operate during the job. To be a competent dental assistant, you must have the following skills up in your sleeves.
- Effective communication skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Excellent dexterity skills
- Maintaining professionalism
- Basic computing knowledge
- Listening to the patient
- Processing x-ray
- Showing empathy and compassion
- Maintaining sterilization
- Ability to follow instruction
- Working in a team
- Clinic experience
- Skilled in CPR
- Organize the tools and schedule
- Infection control
- Helping and positive attitude
- Solving emergency problems
- Keeping records
- Proper customer service
- Analyzing patient details
- Technical skills in running machines
Common Questions Asked in the Interview for Dental Assistant
Every dental office operates smoothly because a dental assistant organizes the diagnostic and operating schedule and everything a dentist will need before, during, and after the examination and surgical procedures.
The hiring manager will have questions to ask in a dental assistant interview that will help him determine the potential candidate who will be capable of conducting all these duties. The questions mentioned below will cover some of the most common questions and the sample answer.
You can also prepare your answer by taking notes from the sample answers and practicing them before the interview.
Question#1: Tell us about yourself
Answer: I completed my training program as a dental assistant six months ago. In my neighborhood's medical and dental care school, I have been working as a dental assistant since then. My work in the clinic was to help with diagnoses and complicated procedures.
I have learned how to make patients comfortable before their turn in a long queue and ensure good service.
Question#2: Do you know how to use the software for dental practice management?
Answer: I was already familiar with the Microsoft Office applications for administrative tasks. Besides, the training program taught me how to use Denticon and Dentrix for Medicare software. And I learned how to do Medicaid ICD-10 coding after I started working at my current workplace.
I plan to work at athenahealth to expand my knowledge about billing and coding.
Question#3: Describe your knowledge of Radiology. Can you operate the machines for it?
Answer: In order to pass the certification exam in radiation health and safety, I have completed courses to learn about radiology. I know about digital dynamic radiography and x-ray equipment. After receiving the instructions about the x-ray, I communicate with the patient and ask if they have any issues doing the procedures or not.
Question#4: What should be a dental assistant’s strengths and weaknesses?
Answer: A dental assistant should know how to learn a skill quickly. The strength of a dental assistant should be flexibility in working under stress. It is the only weakness I find in myself. I am still improving my management skills.
Question#5: How will you prepare for a scheduled appointment with a patient?
Answer: Before patients arrive, I examine their dental and medical histories, ensure the operating room is tidy and inviting, assemble all necessary equipment, and mount any recent x-rays.
Question#6: What interests you about working as a dental assistant?
Answer: I had an accident when I was a teenager and chipped my middle tooth. I could visit my dentist straight away, and the kindness extended to me helped the situation. I immediately realized that I wanted to provide others with the same experience.
Question#7: Do you think patient confidentiality is essential? Why?
Answer: In my former workplace, I used to maintain the schedule, regulations, training sessions, and booking appointments. We used to pay close attention to the confidentiality of every record as it is a part of the treatment process. We also had a protocol for leaking information or discussing sensitive issues.
Question#8: If a patient is anxious about the procedure, has complaints about the service, or is uncooperative during the treatment, what will you do?
Answer: As someone like me, who has suffered from hundreds of dental problems, I know how hard it can be for some people to face treatment procedures. We try to ensure that the patient receives the treatment. Otherwise, the pain can be severe, and they may lose their teeth in the long run.
Before a procedure, if one of my patients appeared distressed and attempted to leave, I would lead them into an area or meeting room, preferably without any dental equipment. To fully explain the operation to the patient and address their worries, I would ask another assistant to bring the dentist in to talk to them if they want.
I will try to stay with the patient if they don’t have any family or friends with them and make them feel at ease when the dentist performs the procedure.
Question#9: Do you know the procedure for taking quality alginate impressions?
Answer: I start by selecting a tray size slightly more significant than the patient's arch. I pour the dish with the perfect proportion of alginate and water, careful not to use too much to prevent bubbles, and then I set the tray, sitting it from back to front.
I lift the patient's lips away from the tray to ensure a correct fit and tell them to inhale using their nose to prevent gagging. I carefully remove the alginate after it has been set.
Question#10: Do you have any experience working as a dental assistant? Tell us about it.
Answer: I just finished a 180-hour internship in a nearby dental office, during which I gained useful, practical experience in the duties of a Dental Assistant. As soon as I get a full-time job and continue my professional development, I will consider myself successful now that I have graduated and finished my internship.
Question#11: Which of your previous positions was challenging, and how did you handle it?
Answer: I had to interact with a youngster who was terrified of getting his teeth fixed during my internship. I could chat with them and keep him relaxed and quiet throughout the process.
Question#12: Why should we hire you?
Answer: I am an attractive fit for this position because of my education, apprenticeship, and communication abilities. I can handle every duty listed in the job description, and my interpersonal skills will let me put patients at ease while they're here.
More Questions for Self-Practice:
- Describe an experience when you had to work with a kid.
- Have you passed the test for an X-ray license?
- Can you handle the administrative pressure of a busy clinic like ours?
- How often will you sterilize the equipment on a busy clinic day?
- Have you ever worked with periodontics?
Career Path of a Dental Assistant
The dental assistant job interview tips will help you to get a job in a clinic after you finish the certification courses. Working with a dentist will give you the necessary practical experience to advance your career.
Continue reading to know the possible career options while working as a dental assistant.
- Complete the Dental Assistant Certification courses to get a job as a national entry-level dental assistant. Besides, other career options for you include a Certified Orthodontic Assistant, Preventive Functions Dental Assistant, and Restorative Functions Dental Assistant.
- Working as a dental hygienist
- Working as an office manager for the clinical practice
- Lab technician of the dental lab for diagnosis
- Providing information to the patients as a consultant and speaker
- Working in dental assistant teaching jobs
Depending on how many days you have been working as a dental assistant, you can advance your career in this path. Here are some popular career options given below:
- Promote your career as an Office Assistant/ Executive Assistant/ Assistant Manager and, finally, a Service Manager in 6 years and a Practice Manager in 9 years.
- Become a Certified Nursing Assistant/ Registered Nurse/ Registered Nurse Supervisor and Nurse Manager in 9 years.
- Working as a Consultant and became Chief Executive Officer in 8 years.
- Working as a Dental technician and laboratory technician to be promoted to Dental Laboratory Manager in 6 years.
Current and Future Career Demand for Dental Assistants
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs as dental assistants in 2021 was 358,600. In the upcoming decade, the expected employment change is 30,100.
The growth rate of this occupation is 8%. The increasing need for qualified dental assistants in the field has projected this growth and will create 56,400 openings from 2021 to 2031.
Salary Range of Dental Assistants
The salary range of a dental assistant varies depending on several factors. On average, a dental assistant makes $40,581 annually with a base salary of $38,830.
A dental assistant's most likely salary range ranges from $35,000 to $48,000. The salary can be as high as $55,000.