Are you preparing for an important dentist interview?
The chances are you have been through the interview process several times before. However, if the stakes are high, you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd.
Practicing your answers to the questions that are likely to come up is the perfect way to prepare. In addition to highlighting your education, training, and skills, you need to display compassion and communication skills.
So, here are some dentist interview questions that are likely to come up and how to answer them.
Why did you decide to be a dentist rather than a medical professional?
This is an opening question that interviewers use to break the ice and get you talking. This gives you the chance to talk about your background and your key skills. If you have a passion for dentistry, you can give an example that highlights this passion and interest.
Explain your attention to detail as well as how this benefits you as a dentist?
This general question is tied to your soft skills and how you have developed them. Attention to detail is essential for a dentist, and your answer should reveal this. Perhaps give an example of how this helped you identify an intricate dental issue with a patient.
What is your previous experience of working in a fast-paced environment with multiple competing tasks?
This question gives the interviewer the opportunity to see if you are the right fit for the job. Instead of simply listing your experience, it is best to illustrate a specific example that should highlight both your hard and soft skills and your ability to work well under pressure.
How do you determine when dental X-rays are needed?
Dental x-rays are invasive procedures, and special safety precautions have to be taken to ensure safety. It is important to show that you are aware of the safety measures and regularly practice them. This will help to give the interviewer confidence that you are qualified to join their dental practice.
What anesthesia procedures would you use for a patient who only needs a filling?
This operational question is designed to determine your knowledge of anesthesia and the different types of procedures. The best way to answer this is to list the different types of anesthesia that you use. Follow up by explaining which one you would usually use for a filling.
What are your thoughts about the relationship between oral health and total body health?
This is one of the commonest dentist interview questions and is designed to reveal how you relate to patients and your comfort in giving consultations. Being able to relate dental health to overall health is an essential skill for a dentist. You can use this answer to reveal your deep medical knowledge and any specialist areas you are particularly knowledgeable about.
How current is your knowledge of dental procedures and technology?
This question is likely to be asked if you have been working as a dentist for a number of years. It is important to demonstrate that you are constantly researching new procedures and technology. Provide a couple of examples of current procedures that you feel are particularly impressive.
How would you address a situation where a patient is unhappy with the care you provided them?
This is a behavioral question that allows you to highlight your communication skills. The best way to answer this question is to talk about a situation when a patient was unhappy. Outline the steps you took to turn the situation around, ending with the fact that the patient was then satisfied.
Do you have any experience with the business side of running a dental practice?
In addition to being doctors, dentists need to be businesspeople. Running a successful practice takes a balance between medical procedures and business skills. Even if you do not have experience running a business, highlight your interest and willingness to learn this aspect.
Do you plan to run your own practice at some point in the future?
The interviewer is trying to assess your future plans to make sure that you will stick with their practice. While your answer should be honest, make sure that it is aligned with the job you are interviewing for. If you appear to be overly ambitious, the interviewer may worry that you will leave as soon as you can.
However, a complete lack of ambition is also likely to be a red flag to the interviewer. Instead, explain that you are perfectly comfortable working with and for people. Although this may change as you get older, at this time, you have no plans to run your own practice.
How would you conduct an examination of a new patient?
This question is intended to discover if you are up to date on the latest exam guidelines. Make sure that you take the interviewer through the process step by step. Go into as much detail as you can, and do not leave anything out.
During your answer, make sure you highlight your ability to keep patients comfortable. You should also mention that you systematically check all of the necessary oral health areas. Your answer should clearly demonstrate your attention to detail and record-keeping skills.
How would you coach a child through a tooth extraction?
People of all ages can suffer from a fear of the dentist, and this is especially the case with children. As a dentist, it is important to be able to put children at ease and engage with them. Explain the communication skills and other tactics that you use to keep your patients calm.
If, when assessing a patients dental health, they disagreed with you, what would you do?
This question is designed to gauge your level of professionalism and communication skills. No matter how calm and careful you are, this situation is likely to arise at some point. The way that you answer this question will tell the interviewer a lot about your core values.
If possible, illustrate your answer with a real-life example. Highlight the soft skills that you use to smooth over and resolve the situation. Your primary concern as a dentist should be prioritizing the needs and wellbeing of the patient.
How do you make patients feel comfortable, relaxed, and safe?
Although you may already have answered this question to a certain extent, the interviewer may want more details. Most dental practices thrive or die on their reputation. Therefore, the patients come first, and it is essential to make sure that they feel completely safe.
You could start this answer by highlighting the importance of establishing a rapport with patients. Maybe you tell them a silly joke at the start of the dental examination to break the ice. Give at least two or three examples of your techniques, highlighting the soft skills that you utilize.
Looking for More Great Advice?
If you’re still only thinking of a dentist as a career and want more information, then have a look at Dental Hygienists on the Job; it should answer most of your questions and takes you through the duties, responsibilities, educational requirements, and daily practices. Or, if you’re looking for a new position, check out the Dental Jobs and Placements App.
For more useful interview advice, check out our guide to Answering Tell Me About Yourself in Interview, as well as how to answer questions such as Why We Should Hire You as well as Why Do You Want to Work Here that will set you apart from the rest.
Or, if you’re planning on leaving your current dental position to pursue your dream of high-income medical employment, take a look at my advice on How to Write a Resignation Letter. And for a much-needed touch of light relief through the process, I would recommend Good Luck Finding Awesome Coworkers Like Us Again, Work Sucks!: A Funny View of a Serious Problem, or How to Quit Your Job Gracefully.
Back to today’s topic…
The trick to successfully answering interview questions for dentists is preparation. You need to make sure that you do plenty of research before the interview and work through likely questions. Even if the exact questions do not come up, you should be able to twist your prepared answers to fit.
Knowing a little about the interviewer ahead of time can also help you to establish a rapport. You may be able to find a few common areas of interest that you can refer to. Above all else, practice your interview technique and make sure that you enter the interview feeling calm and confident.
Wishing you the very best for a successful interview.