So, you’ve been invited to interview at dental school! This is a huge accomplishment and the first step on your journey to becoming a dentist. While it’s an exciting time, it’s normal to feel anxious about the interview process. After all, you want to ensure you give the best impression possible and secure a spot in the incoming class.
To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a list of the most common dental school interview questions and advice on how to answer them. By familiarizing yourself with the types of questions you’re likely to ask, you can confidently enter your interview and put your best foot forward.
1. Why Did You Decide To Pursue a Career In Dentistry Rather Than Another Healthcare Field?
Because I feel compelled to help people by attending to their medical needs, I’ve always wanted to work in the healthcare industry. I get to improve people’s lives every day in the tough area of dentistry. Patients’ oral health greatly impacts their entire health, and by treating aesthetic issues, I can help my patients feel more confident and emotionally stable. I’m enthusiastic about the developments in the dentistry discipline, and I feel that I have done more to progress this branch of medicine than any other.
Note: This question may be asked by an admissions officer in order to better understand why you want to become a dentist. Considering the wide range of job options in healthcare, explaining your motivations for choosing dentistry might help the interviewer better understand you.
2. What Emotional Impact Does A Setback Have On Your Work And You?
A failure is never pleasant and can be quite demoralizing, especially when it involves a project in which I have invested a lot of time and energy. Regardless of one’s level of competence or years of experience, I know that disappointments frequently occur to everyone. If I encounter a significant setback, I will take a few minutes to internally reflect, go outside if feasible, or speak with a mentor about what I may have done differently. I then proceed. I choose to learn from my errors as opposed to dwelling on them.
Note: Everyone reacts to stress and disappointment from setbacks differently, and you will undoubtedly experience several for the following four years of dentistry school. Your interviewers ask you this question in the hopes that you would enter their program prepared to buckle down and work harder when you encounter obstacles or difficult times. Therefore, share with the interviewers how you generally handle challenges at work. That can incorporate both the academic work you’ve done and the employment you’ve held in the past.
3. How Do You React To Criticism And Feedback?
I obtained a poor mark on a biology assignment last year. You can do better, my professor told me when I complained to her about the poor grade. I had higher hopes for you. She said something that initially caught me off guard, but when I had a chance to process it, I realized that she had high aspirations for me because she knew what I was capable of. It was both a praise and a test at once. The second time around, I gave the job my all. I complimented my professor for keeping me at a higher level because it resulted in a noticeably higher grade.
Note: As a dentistry student, not every criticism will be given in an approachable, simple-to-understand manner. Consider a time when you got criticism or comments that surprised or wounded you a little. Describe how you responded positively. Be sure to emphasize that you were able to accept the criticism and move on by learning from it. Describe the modification you successfully executed.
4. What Success On Your Road To Dental School Are You Most Proud Of So Far?
In four years, I aim to have a 3.8 GPA and graduate. My passion for sports has always motivated me to be competitive. My childhood ambition was to receive a scholarship to play basketball at the primary level. I’ve gained knowledge about the value of time management, commitment, and teamwork throughout the last four years, and I believe that each of these concepts will be helpful when I start dentistry school.
Note: The interviewer aims to recruit top achievers for their program. They want to ensure that you will be a diligent worker during your time with their program, so they question you about your best accomplishment to get a sense of how determined you are to pursue your aspirations and objectives.
5. Are You Familiar With The Scope And Areas Of Specialization That Dentistry Offers?
Given its role in cosmetology and medical research, dentistry has huge potential. People are placing more significance on oral care, which has elevated dentistry to a major medical field. This has given the career of dentistry a boost.
The different fields of expertise are prosthodontics, endodotics, oral and maxillofacial disorders, dental surgery, and orthodontics. Although I have not yet chosen my field of expertise, I would be interested in focusing on dental surgery, considering its difficulty.
6. What Motivates You To Attend Our College Or University?
The facilities and educational qualities this college offer its pupils are impressive. The institution has many on-campus amenities, including a physical library, a virtual library, a lab, large classrooms, a dorm, and a canteen. The institute’s partnership with a dental facility also benefits the students by giving them access to real-world experience. They now use cutting-edge instructional techniques. I choose to select this institute above the others for the reasons mentioned above.
Note: Check out the college’s website or a prospectus. Provide as much detail as possible about the school’s reputation, courses, strengths, ratings, and faculty. Based on the amenities and criteria you appreciated about the college, frame your response. Don’t forget to highlight at least one benefit that sets that college apart from the competition.
7. Do You Know Of Any Medical Malpractice Cases In The Dental Field? What If You Find Yourself In One Of These Situations? How Will You Handle It?
Yes. There have been instances of taste-related nerve damage, missed dental problems, poor anesthetic administration, needless extractions, etc. In one’s work, one must be diligent and committed. There is no room for error in the medical industry.
I honestly promise to adhere to the rules and laws governing medical practice. I would see that tools and medication are promptly replaced when they expire. Most importantly, I’ll ensure I treat the patient with care and tell them honestly about the expenses, dangers, and course of therapy.
8. Why Do You Believe You Would Be A Successful Dentist?
I believe I possess the skills required to be a great dentist because of my love for serving people, devotion to learning, and professionalism. I became really motivated to serve individuals in my community by offering dental treatment after volunteering at the local dental clinic. In my opinion, continual education is crucial for experts in this sector. I want to give my patients the highest caliber of treatment via ongoing education and professional growth.
Note: An admissions officer may use this inquiry to learn more about your attributes and your capacity to match your skill set with the demands of the field. Describe the traits dentists need to succeed in their jobs in your response to this question. Describe how your background and experiences compare to what a dentist does.
9. Demonstrate That You Can Relate Well To Others.
I get along well with others because I’m a good communicator and a big proponent of collaboration.
Before applying to dental school, I worked as a retail associate in the pharmaceutical sector, which required cooperation and communication between my co-worker and me. I believe that my cheerful nature, patience, and empathy make me an excellent team player and enable me to connect with others more successfully, allowing me to offer better assistance. Under my guidance, each of my teams has shown gratitude for my work and demonstrated ongoing progress and devotion to their responsibilities.
10. Is There A Reason Why You Are Interested In Our Office?
Because I believe that one of the finest things a dentist can do is to assist students in entering a lifetime of good oral health, and because I have witnessed the difference it can make, I chose to pursue a certificate in primary care. I adore that your practice is devoted to family members and that you’ve gone above and above to create a friendly environment with personable staff and medical professionals. I know you provide the best healthcare, and I want to be a part of it.
11. How Can You Keep Up With The Most Recent Advances In Dental Care?
I’ll become a local American Dental Association branch member and get their quarterly publication. I will also subscribe to several periodicals related to pediatric dentistry to stay current in my area.
Note: Mention any magazines you plan to subscribe to, recent conferences you’ve been to, etc. Your knowledge and skill as a dentist depend on staying current with developments in the dentistry industry, especially the longer you’ve been practicing.
12. Please Describe Your Strengths And Weaknesses.
My patience, accuracy, and honesty are what I consider to be my qualities. These three characteristics will enable me to thoroughly research dentistry science and develop the necessary skills to be certified to give patients precise medical treatment. I see them as my areas for improvement because they are my weaknesses. To learn from this experience, I think I need to speak up more, take the initiative, and communicate well with people.
Note: Be sure to express the ideal responses the interviewer wants to hear while responding to these questions. Do not, however, duplicate these solutions verbatim. You may have some special traits, and other factors led you to choose. Keep in mind, to be honest.
13. Describe Your Computer Skills To Me.
I know the Example Program for Electronic Health Records. Additionally, I have received training in medical billing and coding, and I know how to submit claims to Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial health insurance providers. I also used Microsoft Office software in my work.
14. You’re A Dentist Anticipating A Patient. This Low-Income Person Only Visits The Dentist When Required. They Couldn’t Afford Dental Treatment Last You Heard. What Do You Do?
The patient’s health is my priority as the dentist in this situation, but I also need to ensure that I treat every patient fairly and make choices that will support the continued success of my business.
Despite our prior interactions, I would welcome my patient in a warm, open, and sympathetic manner, without passing judgment on them for missing scheduled sessions or believing they couldn’t afford their treatment. The patient and I haven’t seen one other in a while, and a lot might have changed since then.
After speaking with the patient and performing a preliminary oral examination, I may decide that all that’s needed is routine cleaning and perhaps some X-rays for preventative measures. If time permits, my clinic will carry on with the therapy in such a situation, or we’ll set up another appointment for them soon.
However, if the oral examination and consultation indicate considerable deterioration, I will inform the patient that major work is needed and present them with various treatment choices. To help with the expense, I’ll ask the patient whether they have insurance. My office will get in touch with social assistance organizations to see if the patient is eligible for government support at some level if the patient tells me that none of the treatment plans are financially doable for them, even with a payment plan.
As part of dental student training, patients are frequently seen for little to no cost. Thus I can also advise my patient to get help from a local dental school. I will give the best and most affordable treatment to address the most pressing issues without charging if none of these alternatives can help my patient promptly. I will make sure that my whole team treats the patient with the same regard, consideration, and compassion as we do other patients for the duration of our engagement.
15. What Dental Health Care Issues Do The Elderly Face?
Both preventative oral health care and dental problem treatment provide several aging challenges. They include dealing with ageism, financial restrictions, mobility restrictions, cognitive impairments, communication and consent challenges, and treatment-related complications brought on by drugs and medical conditions.
Additionally, dental treatment for aging is taking on a new look. For this group of people, maintaining dentures constituted a large portion of dental care in the past, but as life expectancy has increased and as a consequence of good oral hygiene practices across a lifetime, many people are keeping the majority of their teeth till the end of their lives.
In order to grasp the consequences on oral health and dental care, this calls for dentists to get informed on the diseases and disorders, including the impact of important health crises, that older patients may experience.
Changes to insurance coverage impact the older. While many people depend on their dental insurance while still employed, this protection frequently expires once they retire, especially as pensions become less prevalent.
16. What Do You Think Will Be The Dental Industry’s Biggest Challenges Over The Next Nine Years?
Over the next nine years, having enough competent practitioners to fulfill patient demand will likely be one of the main industry concerns. Due to the aging of the American population, there will probably be a growing demand for dentists who can cater to the special needs of senior patients.
There is considerable uncertainty over the number of graduates needed to fill open dentist positions because attending a dental school is a significant commitment that takes time and money for students to finish. After operating my clinic for nine years, I want to address this by switching to a position as an instructor.
Note: This question may be asked in an interview to test your knowledge of current and prospective business difficulties. By responding to this question, you may demonstrate your familiarity with the dental sector, your understanding of the difficulties faced by dental practitioners, and your thorough evaluation of the variables that influence dental treatment.
Give concrete instances of problems you anticipate the industry may encounter in your response to this question. Describe the difficulties they present and why practitioners need to consider them. You can go into further detail on how you believe these problems will affect your practice and any remedies you may take.
17. What Would You Do If A Patient Came To You Complaining Of Moderate Dental Pain But Refused To Have An X-Ray Taken Because They Thought X-Rays Were Dangerous?
I would approach the patient in this situation without passing judgment and reinforce her freedom to refuse service if she thinks it is not in her best interests. I’d also have a private conversation with her and inquire about her worries over the X-rays. I would take the time to hear her point of view before responding with evidence from the X-ray safety studies. I would explain that since I can’t thoroughly examine her condition without taking X-rays, she may have an undiagnosed tooth issue that is causing her suffering. I would emphasize respect, education, and communication.
Note: An interviewer could ask you this behavioral question to determine how you would react in a particular circumstance. Your solution to this query demonstrates your capacity to take into account a situation from several angles, justify a decision, and apply your knowledge of best practices to a particular circumstance. Consider the patient’s right to decline treatment and your duty as a practitioner to deliver the best care possible while responding to this issue. Respectfully discuss how you may inform the patient about X-rays and other examination choices while demonstrating respect for their viewpoint.
18. In Your Spare Time, What Do You Like To Do?
I haven’t had much free time recently. But when I find some spare time, I like to relax on the sofa with a nice book or movie. I particularly like philosophical literature, real-life stories, movies, and books on human psychology. They are amusing, which is why I like them, but I also think they help me expand my ideas. I’ve also discovered that they help me unwind while expanding my language and communication abilities.
19. Have You Ever Visited A Country Outside Of Your Own?
Yes. With my family and basketball team, I have traveled to several cities for various school competitions. I’ve taken a couple of weekend vacations by myself more lately so that I could explore and begin to feel at ease being alone in a strange environment.
20. I Am A Patient You Have To Explain Gingivitis To. As A Student, What Would You Say?
You are feeling minor gum irritation, which is an indication of gingivitis. It’s a relatively common issue, so don’t be alarmed. It would help if you were grateful that you came in today for your cleaning since I can advise you on how to prevent it from worsening. Naturally, it is simple to cure at home by brushing and flossing often, but specialist mouthwashes can significantly reduce mild irritation. To see if mouthwash helps your gums, I’ll send a sample to you.
21. How Do Your Experiences Comply With Our School’s Mission Statement?
I think I exemplify your school’s principles of respect, inclusivity, and academic success. During my educational career, I proved my dedication to learning by pushing myself in graduate-level classes and working as a biology and research techniques guide.
As a future dentist, I believe that accessibility and inclusion for clients with a range of physical and behavioral requirements are fundamental components of my job. I want to start a clinic that cares for people with unique needs. My objectives feel in line with your beliefs because your program places a strong emphasis on respect, inclusiveness, and diversity.
Note: Be sure to demonstrate your understanding of the school’s mission and principles in your response to this question. Please give a few instances of how you adhere to its objective.
22. Has Science Benefited Dentists?
Yes. Dentists have undoubtedly profited greatly from science. New medications are developed, tested, and put through trials by scientists. Following the scientists’ completion of this task, dentists can recommend the medications depending on their efficacy.
23. Has Science Contributed To The Decrease In Oral Products?
Yes. Because technology is advancing quickly, there are many oral hygiene products to select from. People working in dentistry now have the opportunity to create a variety of oral goods. Thanks to science. Teeth whitening paste, mouthwash, and mouth spray are some of the most widely used and sold dental items.
24. In The Dental Field, Paying Attention To Detail Is Crucial. Describe Your Attention To Detail.
I believe what drew me to dental school in the first place was my attention to detail. When cleaning and looking for any symptoms of illness in the teeth, there is no room for error. Because I take the time to ensure I pay close attention to details, I believe I can help the dental team work more effectively.
25. What Do Your Friends Think About You?
My friends would probably say that I’m extremely approachable and helpful and try to make others smile whenever I can. I always like meeting new people and trying to make as many people’s days as possible easier whenever I can. For instance, a few weeks ago, a stranger approached us while I was out with my colleagues in town and requested directions.
While I helped the person figure out how to reach where they were going, my companions and I were in a bit of a rush, so I let the group go ahead. Everyone could continue with their day without any major issues when they arrived where they needed to be. We laughed about it when I returned to my buddies and resumed our afternoon activities.
Dental school interviews can be nerve-wracking. But if you go in prepared with strong answers to common questions, you will put your best foot forward and increase your chances of being admitted to the dental school of your choice. Be sure to practice your answers to these questions so that you can deliver them confidently and without hesitation on interview day.
However, it would help if you were also prepared to answer questions about yourself, your motivations for wanting to become a dentist, and how you would handle various scenarios that could come up during your career. With a little preparation, you’ll be able to show off your best qualities and land in the dental school of your dreams.