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Prepare for your interview with these example dentistry interview questions and answer guides.

The answer guides to these dentistry questions have been put together by dentists who have successfully navigated interviews at top Dentistry Schools.

Why Do You Want to Study Dentistry?

This question is common amongst Dental interviews so make sure you have considered it in your preparation for an interview.

You need to give a realistic view of what Dentistry involves and what studying Dentistry is like. You can draw this information from your work experience, university open days and by reading the latest Dental news.

Give a balanced answer to both the negative and positive aspects of studying Dentistry.
Keep your answer short and succinct, if possible give examples of your experiences and why this has encouraged you to study Dentistry.

Show that you have an interest in science and that you are committed to lifelong learning.
Try to get across your interest in working with people and interacting with patients as this is something that is required of every dentist.

If you have an interesting hobby that shows manual dexterity you can also bring this into your answer. Relate this back to how Dentistry is a hands-on career with a creative element.

Common mistakes:

  • Waffling in your answer, try to keep your answer short and to the point. This will show that you have thought about your answer thoroughly
  • Referring to members of the family who are currently Dentists. Whilst this might have inspired you to pursue a career in Dentistry, it is important to reflect on why you personally want to be a Dentist
  • Referencing to financial rewards associated with a career in Dentistry. Whilst this might be a motivation for some people, there are careers that involve less stress and work but are more financially viable
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If Your Application to Dental School is Unsuccessful What Would You Do?

This question assesses your true commitment to studying Dentistry. Therefore, your answer should reflect this.

Have a think about things that you could spend a year doing whilst reapplying that will strengthen your knowledge of Dentistry. For example, working at a Dental practice.

A career in Dentistry often involves setbacks. Use your answer to demonstrate how you can gain something positive from a negative experience. Do this by emphasising that you will stay committed.

Suggest that you would spend time in environments similar to Dentistry, such as volunteering at a care home. This will give you patient contact and help you to improve your communication skills.

Common mistakes:

  • Saying that you would not reapply and would instead follow another career path. This shows a lack of drive and commitment to the career
  • Assuming that your application will be successful is also a mistake. This shows a degree of arrogance and being immune to failure

What Are the Negative Aspects of Being a Dentist?

This question gives you the chance to demonstrate that you understand the realities of being a Dentist. Draw on your experiences from your work experience: what challenges are there to being a Dentist?

Ensure that you keep a positive tone to your answers, and enforce that you feel that the positive aspects of the job outweigh the negatives.

An example of a negative aspect could be dealing with the tight time demands of being a Dentist. Describe a way in which you could overcome this, for example allocating the correct time required for procedures and not rushing.

Another example could be dealing with anxious and phobic patients. This could be overcome by building a rapport with patients and working on your communication skills.

Common Mistakes:

  • Indicating that there are no negative aspects to your answer. This is an unrealistic viewpoint and will suggest that you have not thought about your answer
  • Not suggesting ways in which you could overcome these problems in Dentistry and suggesting that you are not up to the challenge

Describe To Me Your Understanding Of Dental Caries.

Interviewers will not expect you to have a detailed answer but would expect a basic understanding of dental caries as this is one of the most common complaints for patients.

Explain that dental caries or tooth decay is caused by bacteria. Bacteria create an acidic environment in which teeth are demineralised.

A good answer will also indicate that this can be prevented by good oral hygiene practices that remove plaque. With good plaque control, bacterial is unlikely to cause demineralisation of enamel.

Common Mistakes:

  • Not knowing what dental caries are or what causes them. As this is a basic concept in Dentistry it will indicate that you haven’t researched dental problems sufficiently
  • Panicking – don’t be intimidated by these questions, interviewers are expecting an overly detailed answer they just want to know that you have a basic understanding of dental decay

Do You Believe That Dental Implants Should Be Offered On The NHS?

Start by indicating that dental implants are a relatively new advancement in Dentistry and involve placing a fixed alternative to removable dentures.

In some cases, implants are currently being given to patients on the NHS. This is if they have a medical need such as no longer having the support structures in the mouth required for dentures.

Indicate that the cost of implants can be very expensive due to the cost of the equipment and the high number of appointments needed with dentists.

Use this information to draw your own balanced conclusion about whether or not you agree with the current NHS system.

Common Mistakes:

  • Having no to very little knowledge of dental implants. Interviewers would expect a basic level of understanding of dental implants. Be sure to research about this before your interviews
  • Giving a one-sided opinion. It is important to discuss both the pros and cons of offering implants on the NHS; it is not necessarily required to know the current protocol but be sure to tackle the question from both viewpoints
  • If you have a strong opinion, try not to indicate this, give a balanced answer

How Do You Cope With Work When You Are Being Affected By Personal Problems?

State the importance of putting your personal life to the side when you are practicing dentistry.

Have a think about ways you cope with stress in your life currently and how you achieve a work-life balance.

Talk about a situation, how you overcame it and what you learnt from the experience that you can apply to dentistry.

Common Mistakes:

  • Showing little or no self-awareness and not knowing of ways that you can maintain work/life balance suggests that you might not be ready to face the demands of dentistry
  • Not understanding the importance of controlling your emotions when treating patients

Describe To Me How You Would Tell A Patient That Their Tooth Needs To Be Extracted.

This question assesses your empathy towards patients. A good place to start is by discussing how traumatising it can be for a patient to find out they need an extraction.

Emphasise how you need to be clear about why the tooth needs to be extracted and also understanding of the patient’s emotions.

It is important that you make sure that the patient understands what you are saying to them, so a good way to determine this is by asking your patient questions.

Common Mistakes:

  • Saying that you would state the facts and would not support the patient or show empathy
  • Getting emotionally involved in the situation – it is important to maintain a level of professionalism with patients

Do You Believe That All Dentistry Performed In The NHS Should Be Free?

Start by showing your knowledge of dentistry in the NHS currently, such as the different pay bands and what is included in each of them.

The NHS is currently only free to some, such as those on tax benefits, under 18 or pregnant.
Indicating that NHS dentistry should be free for everyone would mean that the funding would have to come from another source – so be prepared to discuss that.

Come to a balanced conclusion, weighing up the pros and cons of charging for dentistry in the NHS.

Common Mistakes:

  • Not understanding the current NHS pay system shows a lack of knowledge and will make it difficult to discuss the issue with the interviewer
  • Having a strong one-sided opinion or having no understanding that if dentistry is free on the NHS then the money will need to come from other sources

Tell Me About A Recent Piece Of Dental Or Medical News You Have Read Recently.

Studying dentistry requires life-long learning so it is important that you stay up to date with research, the NHS and dentistry news. You can do this via The Medic Portal’s weekly news summary on our blogs.

Give your opinion on what you have read and link it to its impact on dentistry. This shows your understanding of dentistry as a career. Give a balanced answer and don’t be too strongly opinionated.

Common Mistakes:

  • Not reading the news or anything dentistry related. Interviewers will expect you to be keeping up with the news to show your commitment to the career
  • Being overly opinionated. It is difficult to give an accurate opinion on dentistry news when you are just starting out and do not have much experience in the area

How Would You Go About Treating A Non-English Speaking Patient?

This question is testing your knowledge of communication and how it applied to dentistry so make sure your answer reflects this.

Think about non-verbal communication skills such as body language and eye contact. This will give you a clue as to how much your patient understands.

An important issue is informed consent. To tackle this you could hire a translator for the appointment to make sure that the patient understands the treatment, implications and benefits of the treatment.

Common Mistakes:

  • Getting confused and panicking over the unusual question. When you are asked an unexpected question, spend a moment thinking about it before answering
  • Not understanding the importance of communication in dentistry. Patient understanding is key to ensuring the fully informed consent is given
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