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Interview Questions for Dentists with Answers

Last Updated on:

23 November 2022

Do you remember when you were a child, being taken by your parents to the dentist and being so terrified that you screamed the entire way there?

After visiting the doctor, however, you were pleasantly delighted to find a friendly physician wearing a broad smile and treating you with candy afterwards! 

A dentist's work may sound intimidating, but a good one will always put their patients at ease.

Dentists work in a fascinating and rewarding discipline within the medical industry. Whether this is your first time interviewing for a dental position or you are looking to move up in the ranks, it's always wise to familiarize yourself with the types of dental interview questions you can encounter.

If you hope to ace your next dentist interview, you have come to the right place.

This article will provide examples of broad and in-depth interview questions for a dentist that you might be asked during a job interview, as well as some sample answers for some of the more complex topics you might be required to answer.

What Does a Dentist Do/Job Responsibilities of a Dentist

What does a dentist do

A dentist is a healthcare professional who focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of oral health issues.

Dentists also examine a patient's head and neck in addition to the oral cavity for signs of oral health. It would help if you had a proper understanding of the job responsibilities to answer the dental questions for the interview. 

The job of a dentist includes:

  • Aiming to improve dental health and reduce the risk of disease
  • Treating oral injuries and other urgent situations
  • Protecting patients during anesthesia procedures
  • Placing sealants and whiteners on teeth
  • Taking molds of teeth 
  • Carrying out dental work like filling cavities, pulling teeth, and doing root canals
  • Teeth cleaning and repair analysis of diagnostic imaging and laboratory tests
  • Fitting dentures, crowns, and other dental appliances, teeth sealing, and bleaching.
  • Carrying out operations on the mouth's hard and soft tissues, including the teeth
  • Using proper dental equipment such as mirrors, drills, probes, and brushes.
  • Performing tests for chronic and viral diseases, salivary gland function, oral cancer screenings, etc.
  • Screening for oral cancer by referring patients to specialists
  • Developing strategies of care to improve or restore patients' dental health
  • Keeping tabs on a child's teeth and jaws as they develop is an integral part of their routine
  • Analyzing laboratory results and interpreting x-rays
  • Enhancing a patient's appearance using dental procedures
  • Disseminating information to the public about proper dental hygiene
  • Reducing the risk of periodontal disease
  • Inducing sleep or anesthesia in patients before performing procedures
  • Documenting patients' dental health and the care they've received
  • Assembling a strategy for improved dental hygiene that includes regular checkups, cleanings, and other preventative measures with patients
  • Instructing patients in good dental hygiene practices such as flossing, brushing, and dieting
  • Supporting measures to reduce the prevalence of oral diseases
  • Maintaining a risk-free anesthetic delivery system.

Basic Skills Needed for Becoming a Dentist

This profession of dentistry is not for the faint of heart. It requires you to complete rigorous post-secondary coursework, extensive clinical training, and pass the relevant licensing exams. It would help if you were super driven and enthusiastic about pursuing a career in dentistry, as it will demand that you achieve the following:

1. Education

The first step toward becoming a dentist is completing four years of undergraduate study. If you want to study dentistry at a school recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA), you'll need a bachelor's degree first. 

(a) Dental School

A bachelor's degree in any field is sufficient preparation for dental school, just as it is for medical school. Some dental schools have requirements, so choosing a degree program that includes chemistry, organic chemistry, anatomy, and biology coursework is essential. 

To practice dentistry, you must complete either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.).

(b) Clinical Training

Clinical training in periodontics, anatomy, anesthesia, and radiography are some of the topics for aspiring dentists in these courses.

Additional training in a residency program lasting between one and two years is required to enter a speciality.

(c) License

In the United States of America, all dentists are obliged to have their profession officially recognized by the state. After completing dental school, you will be required to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in a series of tests (written and practical). 

Some states mandate that you get a special license if you want to practice in a particular area of dentistry. It may require taking and passing a specialized test.

(d) Training on Equipment 

In addition to their clinical abilities, dentists must have solid technological skills. Dentists use a wide range of medical tools and equipment in the course of their job, including X-ray machines, knives, pointed instruments, magnifying glasses, etc.  

It is crucial to one's ability to accomplish everyday chores that one be able to learn quickly, adapt to, and operate a variety of medical tools.

2. Skills

As a profession, dentistry requires a wide range of abilities. Along with the dentist's unique qualities, a combination of technical know-how with the interpersonal skills necessary to effectively engage with coworkers and customers. As a dentist, your ability to interact with your patients is just as important as your medical expertise.

  • A high level of concern and compassion for the patients.
  • The ability to properly manage office employees and make sound business choices for the practice, as well as the ability to effectively coordinate support workers such as assistants, managers, technicians, and hygienists.
  • Excellent knowledge of databases and apps used in healthcare.
  • Firm grip on the computer.
  • Excellent eye-hand coordination is essential for protecting patients' well-being and maintaining the profession's honor.
  • The ability and desire to follow all regional, state, and federal regulations governing dental treatment and medical care.
  • Excellent communication abilities, both in writing and orally. Having an eye for detail in record-keeping.
  • Having expertise in dental practice, including diagnosis, procedures, and tools.
  • Ability to process quickly even under immense pressure
  • Capable of running the management efficiently

Commonly Asked Interview Questions for Dentists:

Common questions ask in the interview

Most of us dread going to interviews, but few realize we can steer the conversation in our favor!

Say you have been shortlisted for the dentist post after submitting your resume. Congratulations, the difficult part is over. You will now sit for an interview in which they will assess your abilities as a dentist. They will ask you three generic questions about the services you offer. So don't be afraid because the interview isn't difficult to get.

At this point in the article, we will give you a fully-fledged experience of a real-time interview, mimicking how the interview you will be having might proceed. We will discuss potential interview questions for a dentist.

From the 'why do you want to be a dentist interview answer' to 'what are your goals and ambitions? We got everything covered. 

So, buckle up, because your interview phobia is just about to change!

In-Depth Dentistry Interview Questions 

We've compiled a list of some of the most common interview questions for dentists, complete with explanations of the possible responses. By doing so, you will have a better chance of imagining the interviewer's thoughts and feelings while you craft your response.

Question#1: Why do you want to be a dentist?

(This question is designed to get you talking about yourself so that the interviewer can learn more about your background and construct subsequent questions based on what you share with them.)

Answer: I am as a person very meticulous in my work. Interestingly, that is where I could connect to dentistry, and my passion for this profession began in the first place. 

I've always been interested in helping people, so I knew in elementary school that I wanted to work in healthcare.

When I went to the dentist for the first time, that was the first time I became aware of the healthcare sector. The procedure didn't bother me at all, and I thought the doctor's instruments were rather interesting. I believe that this initially attracted my interest in dentistry, and my passion for dentistry and helping people gets me going in this profession.

Question#2: Do you agree with the statement, "Precision and careful attention to detail are essential in dentistry"? 

( This is a position-specific soft skill, and the interviewer is aware of this. You should be prepared to talk about your soft talents throughout the interview, as they are essential regardless of the field.)

Answer: Yes, I agree with the statement, and my desire to become a dentist is closely related to this statement. 

There is no margin for mistake when brushing one's teeth and examining them for signs of disease. I believe that I can assist the dental team in working more efficiently since I always make sure to take my time and do a fantastic job when performing patient exams and cleanings. Sharing my initial thoughts with the dentist during the cleaning lets them go home on the most critical concerns. 

Question#3: How do you interact with patients who are typically scared and in pain?

(This is an artificial inquiry designed to assess your personal and professional level of empathy and sensitivity. This is a great chance to show your patient that you care about more than just their smile)

Answer: I tried to reassure concerned patients by being kind and relaxed. When patients are nervous, I explain what I'm doing and reassure them that they may stop me if they have pain or queries. I reassure anxious patients that our primary objective is to make them comfortable as fast as I can. Making the patient comfortable is a top priority. 

I try not to let the fact that patients in pain aren't always communicative diminish my passion for helping them. When my patients know I understand them, they may relax more quickly and thoroughly. I verify the patient's comfort after numbing their mouth.

Question#4: How do you deal with constant change in the fast-paced work environment of the dental world?

(The purpose of this question is to ascertain your level of experience working in a dental office and your capacity to manage competing demands on your time and focus. You can demonstrate your views and how you cope with the fast-paced environment of work)

Answer: Yes, I'm aware that dental science changes quickly. The training clinic needed a new workflow. We gave everyone on the team written instructions to read at their speed. 

Some of the staff didn't read the instructions carefully, causing mistakes and tense situations. I recommended a lunchtime all-staff workshop to review the criteria. I helped with the presentation at a meeting. After the team discussed the new procedure, everyone caught on. 

Communication is vital in any office, especially for the offices like dental clinics, because things move around very rapidly here. 

Question#5: Visualize me as a patient to whom you must explain gingivitis. I'm curious to hear what you would say. 

(The interviewer needs to know that you'll give their patient the care they need and relay only accurate information. So, this is where you may really wow your interviewer with how well-versed in the subject matter you are)

Answer: Gingivitis causes gum inflammation. It's normal; it happens often. Regular brushing and flossing can help, but specialized mouthwashes can bring down minor inflammation. 

The fact that you came in for your cleaning today gives me a chance to teach you how to prevent the problem from worsening. If you'd like, I can mail you a bottle of mouthwash to try at home.

Job-Related Dental Questions for the Interview

Question#6: What exactly is meant by the term "dental caries"?

Answer: Tooth decay, or dental caries, is caused by a bacterial infection. It leads to tooth demineralization and the disintegration of tooth hard tissue.

Question#7: Can you define dental abscesses for me?

Answer: Dental abscesses are the buildup of dead tissue, pus generated from the root, and other fluids because of a bacterial infection in the mouth or teeth. It could occur either within the pulp chamber or the tooth's gums.

Question#8: Could you please explain the meaning of the terms root, enamel, crown, and dentin?


Root: The portion of the tooth that extends into the jawbone is referred to as the tooth's root.

Enamel: The layer of the tooth that faces the outside of the mouth is called the enamel. 

Crown: The term "crown" refers to the very top portion of the tooth; the crown's shape affects how the tooth operates.

Dentin: The layer of the tooth that lies beneath the enamel is called dentin.

Question#9: Can you explain what causes gums to bleed?

Answer: Plaque accumulation along the gum line is the primary cause of gum bleeding. It's called "gingivitis" or "inflamed gums" when this happens. Plaque, if left untreated, will harden into tartar, which causes bleeding gums and eventually leads to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum and jawbone disease.

Question#10: What conditions besides gingivitis can result in bleeding gums?

Answer: Overly vigorous brushing, not flossing your teeth properly, changes in hormone levels that occur throughout pregnancy, drugs that thin the blood, leukemia, a lack of vitamin K in the diet, thrombocytopenic purpura due to unknown causes, infections connected to the teeth or gums, scurvy, etc.

Question#11: Give me the lowdown on precisely site-specific laser therapy and when it can come in handy.

Answer: The use of laser light to remove infected gum is warranted when the bacterial infection has spread beneath the gums and into the underlying bone. Laser light can penetrate the gums and bones to reach the bacterial colony inflicting the condition. Laser therapy that targets a specific area is site-specific laser therapy.

Question#12: Do you recommend your patients have X-rays of their teeth? Is it risky?

Answer: Although there is a risk of cancer from being exposed to an excessive number of X-rays, it is perfectly safe to be under controlled exposure. It became safer with time, thanks to modern digital X-ray equipment. These confine the radiation beam to a more constrained area for a shorter time.

Question#13: How would you decide if a patient needs root canal therapy and scaling?

Answer: First and foremost, I will look for signs of plaque buildup and periodontal disease. A healthy tooth and gum have a sulcus gap of about 3 mm. The periodontal probe measures the depth of the pockets between the gum and tooth. A hole deeper than 3 mm may be due to dense plaque formation. Thus, treatments are suggested depending on the degree of severity of the infection.

General Dentist Interview Questions 

Answering these dental school interview questions is like playing the cards; if you play your cards right, you may swing the interview in your favor and gain control of the situation. We've included helpful hints with each question.

Question#14: How can you gain the patients' confidence to follow your advice?

You can demonstrate your experience and skills with people and how you can be persuasive and gain trust.

Question#15: When advising patients on improving their oral health, what advice do you typically give?

Flaunt your academic knowledge and the insight gathered from experience.

Question#16: Tell me about your background in managing staff. Do you recall an instance where you and a coworker disagreed?

Showcase your management skills and explain how much of a team player you are.

Question#17: Please detail the administrative and clinical responsibilities you anticipate in this position. Do you have any idea where you will thrive and where you will fall short?

This question is your trump card to navigate the interviewer through your strengths and weaknesses and emphasize how you can turn your weaknesses into power. 

Personal Interview Questions for Dentists 

Answering the questions that follow will not need extensive analysis. They go right down to business and provide no fluff. To that end, please answer the following questions as specifically and briefly as possible.

  • What dental school did you attend? Precisely what does your program entail?
  • Should you start your practice? Have you thought about doing so?
  • Can you give an example of a time you had to deal with a challenging circumstance at work and how you handled it?
  • Why did you leave your previous job?
  • When did you last take charge of a group?
  • When it comes to managing the business end of practice, do you have any experience?
  • How have you invested in your ongoing education and training in cutting-edge dentistry practices?
  • To what do you aspire in the far future?
  • What exactly is it that drives you?
  • Do you specialize in treating children, or if you offer sedation dentistry?
  • Please give us the one piece of advice you wish you had known sooner.
  • In just three words, how would you sum up who you are?
  • What do you consider one of your most notable achievements?

Potential Career Path for Dentistry

What are you going to do if you don't follow the typical path for someone with a dental degree? Have you reached the end of your professional life?

In fact, you've only just begun your impressive career. You can choose from a wide range of possibilities. The possibilities are endless.

Dentistry is a good one to consider if you are exploring several career options. Here are some dental-related professions to think about pursuing. Maybe one of them may pique your attention! So, shall we?

1. Orthodontist

Malocclusions of the teeth and abnormalities in the oral cavity are two of the conditions that orthodontists diagnose and treat. They use braces and retainers in order to align the jaws and teeth in the patient's mouth. In addition to this, they examine the x-ray pictures, formulate treatment plans, and research the patient's dental history.

2. Periodontist

Periodontists are dental specialists who diagnose and treat conditions affecting the gums and bones that surround the jaw. In addition to this, they provide:

  • Preventive care
  • Surgical and non-surgical procedures
  • The placement of implants
  • The reduction of tissue.
  • The development of treatment regimens.

3. Dental Assistant 

Helping dentists with their patients is the job of dental assistants. They assist the dentist with patient care and attend to the dentist's requirements during treatments, operations, and examinations.

4. Dentistry Consultant

Consultation dentists investigate patient claims for potential instances of fraud, malpractice, eligibility, and other issues. Typically, dental insurance firms are their place of employment.

5. Academic

Academic dentists hold teaching positions at a dental school that has been granted accreditation. In most cases, obtaining an advanced degree is necessary to work in this field.

Current and Future Market Demand of Dentists 

Practicing dentistry as a profession is quite successful. The increasing popularity of cosmetic dental procedures and the increasing frequency with which people see dentists pursuing a Hollywood smile should come as no surprise.

The number of people working as dentists is expected to increase by 6 percent from 2021 to 2031, which is approximately the same growth rate as the average for all occupations.

Over the course of the next ten years, it is anticipated that there will be, on average, about 5,100 new positions open for dentists. It is anticipated that a significant number of these openings will be caused by the requirement to replace workers who move into alternative occupations or leave the labor force for reasons such as retirement.

The Salary Range of a Dentist

Knowing your worth helps while negotiating for the job of a dentist. Do not hold back, as dentistry pays really well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, till 2021, the hourly rate of a dentist was

Hourly:  $78.47 per hour and 

Yearly: $163,220 per year

Josh Evan

Written by:

Josh Evan

Josh Evan is the professional career counselor and career development writer at When Work Works. He loves to see people from this field succeed through initiating the right thing in the right way. He never tells; he shows the way. We appointed John not because of his impressive CV. It was his counseling charisma which stood out of everything. He can implant idea, confidence and productive thoughts into mind almost effortlessly. His pen and mouth both speak for the greater good.

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