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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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