Interview

16 Dental Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a dental assistant, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Dental assistants are an important part of any dental office. They help dentists with many tasks, such as preparing patients for dental procedures, taking x-rays, and cleaning teeth.

If you’re looking for a dental assistant job, you’ll need to go through a job interview first. During the interview, you will be asked questions about your experience, training, and skills.

In this article, we will provide you with advice on how to answer some common dental assistant interview questions. We will also provide you with a list of questions that you may be asked during your interview.

Why do you want to work at this dental office?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your intentions for applying. They want someone who is passionate about the work they do and excited to be a part of their team. When answering, try to highlight what you like most about the dental office. Consider mentioning specific things that attracted you to apply, such as the location or hours.

Example: “I applied here because I was looking for a new job in my area. I saw this position on Indeed and thought it would be a great opportunity. I love working with children and families, so I knew this would be a good fit. I also really enjoy working at a pediatric dentist’s office because there are always fun projects going on. The staff seems friendly and welcoming, which makes me feel confident in my decision.”

What is your greatest strength as a dental assistant?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your personality and how you view yourself. They want to know what skills you have that make you a valuable employee. When answering this question, think of the most important skill you possess as a dental assistant. Explain why it’s beneficial for you to have this skill.

Example: “My greatest strength is my attention to detail. I am very organized and always make sure all patient information is entered correctly into the computer system. This helps me ensure that doctors can find any relevant information they need when treating patients. It also ensures that no mistakes are made during treatment.”

Have you ever taken patient histories?

This question can help the interviewer determine your experience with taking patient histories and how you performed in that role. You can use your answer to highlight any specific skills or techniques you used when taking a patient’s history, such as how you organized information or how you helped patients understand what they needed to do before their appointments.

Example: “I have taken patient histories many times throughout my career. I find it helpful to start by asking the patient about their medical history, including any previous dental work they’ve had done and if they are currently taking any medications. Then, I ask them about their current oral health, including any pain they may be experiencing and any concerns they have about their teeth or gums. Finally, I ask them about their preferred method of communication so I can relay important information to them after our appointment.”

Tell me about a time you had to give someone bad news at work.

This question can help an interviewer determine how you handle difficult situations at work. It can also show them how you use your communication skills to deliver bad news in a compassionate way. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific situation and the steps you took to make sure the person receiving the news felt comfortable and understood what was happening.

Example: “When I worked as a receptionist for a small business, one of our clients had a large order that needed to be delivered by a certain date. Unfortunately, the delivery company we used often made mistakes with their deliveries. One day, I received a call from the delivery company saying they would not be able to deliver the package on time. I immediately called the client to let them know about the mistake. They were upset but appreciated my honesty and understanding.”

How comfortable are you around blood?

Working as a dental assistant can involve some exposure to blood. Employers ask this question to make sure you’re comfortable with the sight of blood and have experience working in an environment where there is blood present. In your answer, share that you are able to work around blood without getting sick or feeling uncomfortable. Explain that you’ve worked in similar environments before and feel confident doing so again.

Example: “I am very comfortable working with blood. I actually find it quite interesting. When I was in high school, I volunteered at a hospital for two years. During my time there, I learned how to draw blood and assist doctors during procedures. I’m ready to do these things again if needed.”

What do you know about root canal treatment?

This question is a great way to test your knowledge of dental procedures. It also allows the interviewer to see how much you know about this specific treatment and whether or not you have experience performing it. If you do, be sure to mention that in your answer.

Example: “Root canal treatment is when we remove infected tissue from inside the tooth. I’ve performed root canals on patients who had damaged teeth due to decay or trauma. The process involves cleaning out the infected area, filling the tooth with a material to protect it and then sealing it so bacteria cannot get back into the tooth.”

Have you ever dealt with an uncooperative patient?

This question can help interviewers understand how you handle challenging situations. They may ask this to see if you have the interpersonal skills and confidence to diffuse a situation or calm an upset patient. In your answer, try to highlight your problem-solving skills and ability to remain calm under pressure.

Example: “I once had a patient who was very anxious about their upcoming procedure. I tried my best to reassure them that everything would be okay, but they were still quite nervous. After talking with them for a while, I learned that they were worried because they didn’t want to miss work. I told them that we could schedule their appointment so they could leave work early and still make it back in time. This seemed to put them at ease, and they ended up having a successful appointment.”

Tell me about a time you had to perform a difficult task at work.

This question can help an interviewer learn more about your problem-solving skills and how you react to challenges. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a time when you had to perform a task that was unfamiliar or challenging. It can also be beneficial to mention the steps you took to complete the task successfully.

Example: “When I first started working as a dental assistant, there were many tasks I wasn’t familiar with performing. One day, my dentist asked me to take patient blood pressure readings. At first, I was nervous because I didn’t know how to use the equipment properly. However, after asking for assistance from another staff member, I learned how to use the equipment correctly and performed the task without any issues.”

Do you know how to take x-rays?

This question can help the interviewer determine your level of experience with dental x-rays. If you have previous experience taking x-rays, share a specific example of how you did it and what steps you took to ensure the patient was comfortable during the process. If you don’t have any prior experience, you can explain that you are willing to learn this skill if hired for the position.

Example: “I’ve taken x-rays before at my current job, but I’m always open to learning new techniques. My employer taught me how to take digital x-rays using a computer program. It’s important to make sure patients feel as comfortable as possible when taking x-rays because they’re often in an uncomfortable position while we take them. To do so, I would ask the patient questions about their comfort level and reassure them that everything will be okay.”

Do you plan on continuing your education?

Employers may ask this question to see if you are motivated and interested in continuing your education. They want to know that you will continue to learn new skills, which can help the dental office as a whole. In your answer, explain what you plan on doing to continue learning about dentistry or other relevant topics.

Example: “I am currently enrolled in an online program for medical assisting. I chose this program because it is affordable and convenient for my schedule. I hope to complete this program by next summer so I can take the certification exam. After I pass the exam, I would like to enroll in a more advanced program to learn even more.”

Do you have the ability to stay calm during emergencies?

Employers ask this question to make sure you have the ability to stay calm and focused during a crisis. They want to know that you can handle stressful situations without making them worse for your coworkers or patients. In your answer, explain how you would react in an emergency situation and what steps you would take to help resolve it.

Example: “I believe I have the skills necessary to remain calm during emergencies. When I worked at my previous job, we had a patient who was experiencing some pain after their procedure. The patient became very upset and started yelling at the dentist. I calmly walked over to the patient and explained that they needed to relax before they could feel better. I then helped the patient back into their seat and gave them a glass of water. After drinking the water, the patient calmed down and was able to finish their appointment.”

What would you do if you noticed a mistake you made on a patient?

Employers ask this question to make sure you are willing to take responsibility for your actions and learn from them. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to correct the mistake and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Example: “If I made a mistake on a patient’s chart or treatment plan, I would immediately inform my supervisor so they could fix it before the patient arrived in the office. Then, once the patient was in the chair, I would let them know that there had been an error with their file and we were correcting it now. I would then redo any work I had already done and make sure everything was accurate.”

Do you have experience with insurance claims?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have experience with insurance claims and how well you understand them. If you do not have experience, you can explain what you would do to learn about it.

Example: “I’ve never had to file an insurance claim before, but I know that there are specific forms for each type of insurance. I would research which form is needed for each company’s insurance and ask my supervisor or dentist for advice on filing a claim. I would also make sure to include all necessary information so the claim could be processed as quickly as possible.”

Would you consider yourself a team player?

Employers ask this question to see if you can work well with others. They want a dental assistant who is willing to collaborate and communicate with their team members. When answering, think about the types of teams you’ve been on in the past. Try to relate your experiences to the role of a dental assistant.

Example: “I definitely consider myself a team player. I have worked as part of many different teams throughout my career. In my last position, I was part of a small team that helped patients schedule appointments. We all had our own responsibilities, but we also collaborated when needed. For example, one person would take notes while another spoke with the patient. Then, we would share information so everyone knew what happened.”

How would you comfort a nervous patient?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your interpersonal skills. They want to know how you can help patients feel comfortable and calm before, during and after their dental procedures. In your answer, demonstrate that you have strong communication skills and empathy for others.

Example: “I once worked with a patient who was very nervous about getting her teeth cleaned. She had been avoiding the dentist for years because of her anxiety. I talked to her about what she could expect from her cleaning and reassured her that we would take it slow. During the procedure, I made sure to explain everything I was doing so she knew exactly what was happening. Afterward, she told me that she felt much more confident going back to the dentist.”

What would you do if you didn’t know how to perform a task?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you learn new things and whether you’re willing to ask for help. Your answer should show that you are confident in your ability to learn new tasks, but also that you value collaboration and teamwork.

Example: “If I didn’t know how to perform a task, I would first try to find out on my own by looking through our resources or asking other team members. If I still couldn’t figure it out, I would ask my supervisor or dentist for help. I understand that everyone has different levels of expertise, so I always appreciate when others take the time to teach me something new.”

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