17 Dental Hygienist Interview Questions and Answers

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

Dental hygienists play a critical role in oral health care. They work with patients to clean teeth, examine teeth and gums for signs of disease, and provide other preventive dental care. They also educate patients on how to properly care for their teeth and gums.

If you’re interested in becoming a dental hygienist, you’ll need to go through a job interview. During the interview, you’ll be asked questions about your experience, your education, and your knowledge of dental hygiene. You’ll also be asked questions about your ability to work with patients and your communication skills.

To help you prepare for your job interview, we’ve put together a list of common dental hygienist interview questions and answers.

Are you comfortable working with patients who have a wide range of dental issues?

This question can help interviewers understand if you have the experience and skills to work with patients who may need more attention than others. Use your answer to highlight how you’ve worked with a variety of patients in the past, including those with special needs or unique circumstances.

Example: “I’ve been fortunate enough to work at two different dental offices where I was able to treat patients of all ages and backgrounds. In my previous position, I had one patient who needed extra care due to their age, while another required extensive treatment because they hadn’t seen a dentist in years. I’m comfortable working with any type of patient as long as I know what to expect from them.”

What are some of the most important skills for a dental hygienist to have?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills necessary to succeed in their dental office. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a few of your strongest skills and how they relate to the job.

Example: “I believe that communication skills are one of the most important skills for a dental hygienist to have. I am able to communicate with patients about what is happening during their appointment and answer any questions they may have. Another skill that is important is organization. I keep track of all my appointments and patient information so I know where everything is at all times.”

How would you describe the relationship between a dentist and a dental hygienist?

This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you understand the importance of working with a dentist and how to communicate effectively. Your answer should include examples of how you have worked well with dentists in the past.

Example: “I believe it’s important for dental hygienists and dentists to work together as a team. I’ve had several positive experiences where my dentist was open to hearing my opinion on treatment plans or patient care. In one instance, I noticed a patient who was experiencing some sensitivity issues after receiving a fluoride treatment. I suggested we try a different brand of fluoride to see if that would help. My dentist agreed, and we were able to find a solution that helped the patient.”

What is your experience with providing dental care to children?

Employers may ask this question to learn about your experience working with children. They want to know if you have any special techniques or skills that help you work with kids. If you do, share them with the employer so they can see how valuable you would be in their office.

Example: “I’ve worked with many young patients over my career. I find it helpful to use games and other fun activities to keep kids engaged during their appointments. For example, I once had a patient who was afraid of getting shots. To distract her from the shot, I taught her how to count while she got her teeth cleaned. She loved counting things, so she enjoyed the distraction and didn’t even notice when I gave her the shot.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult patient.

Interviewers ask this question to see how you handle challenging situations. They want to know that you can remain calm and professional in these types of interactions. In your answer, try to focus on the steps you took to resolve the situation.

Example: “I once had a patient who was very anxious about their dental visit. I tried my best to make them feel comfortable by explaining everything we were doing as we did it. However, they still seemed nervous. At one point during the appointment, they started crying. Instead of getting upset or frustrated, I simply asked if there was anything I could do to help them feel better. After talking with them for a few minutes, they calmed down and finished their appointment.”

If a patient has a specific concern about a certain issue, how would you address it?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you interact with patients and their concerns. It’s important to show that you’re willing to take the time to listen to your patients’ needs and provide them with information or resources they may need.

Example: “If a patient has a specific concern about something, I would first make sure that I understood what they were talking about. Then, I would explain why it is normal for that issue to occur and reassure them that there are ways we can treat it. If they still have questions after my explanation, I would do my best to answer them so they feel comfortable moving forward.”

What would you do if you noticed a colleague making a mistake while working with a patient?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you work with others and your ability to communicate. Your answer should show that you are willing to speak up when necessary, but also that you respect your colleagues’ abilities and intentions.

Example: “If I noticed a colleague making a mistake while working with a patient, I would first make sure they were aware of it. If they didn’t notice or if they needed more information about what they did wrong, I would offer my assistance in helping them correct their mistake. If they knew what they did was incorrect, I would ask if they need any additional support from me.”

How well do you handle stress while working?

Working as a dental hygienist can be stressful at times. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the ability to handle stress and remain calm while working. When answering, try to show that you are able to stay calm under pressure. Explain how you manage your emotions when things get tough.

Example: “I find that I am quite good at handling stress. In my previous position, I would often work with patients who were nervous about their procedures. I learned early on that it is important to reassure them and help them feel more comfortable. This helped me develop techniques for calming myself down if I ever felt stressed or anxious.”

Do you have any questions for me about the position?

Employers ask this question to see if you have done your research on the company and position. Before your interview, make a list of questions that show you are interested in the job. When an employer asks this question during an interview, answer honestly and try to think of something unique about their practice or how they work with patients.

Example: “I do have one question for you. I noticed that you offer free dental care to children who can’t afford it. That’s such a wonderful program, and I was wondering what inspired you to start it.”

When performing dental hygiene procedures, do you prefer to work alone or with a colleague?

Working as a dental hygienist can be a very rewarding career, but it also requires you to work with patients and other members of the dental team. Employers ask this question to make sure that you are comfortable working in a collaborative environment. In your answer, explain how you would approach this situation if you were hired. Try to highlight any skills or personality traits that might help you get along with others.

Example: “I have always been someone who prefers to work alone. I find that when I am performing procedures on my own, I am able to focus more intently on what I am doing. However, I do understand that there will be times when I need to work alongside another member of the dental team. If I was ever paired up with another hygienist, I would try to communicate clearly with them about what they needed to know. I think we could learn from each other’s experiences.”

We want to ensure our patients feel comfortable and at ease during their appointments. How would you go about doing that?

This question is an opportunity to show your interpersonal skills and ability to connect with patients. It’s important for dental hygienists to be able to put their patients at ease, especially if they’re nervous about their appointments. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific example of how you helped a patient feel more comfortable during their appointment.

Example: “I find that the best way to make my patients feel comfortable is by making sure I’m friendly and approachable. I try to greet each patient as soon as they arrive in the office so they know someone is there to help them. If they need anything, I am always available to answer any questions or concerns they may have.”

Describe your experience with using dental technology.

Employers ask this question to learn more about your experience with dental technology and how you use it in your daily work. When answering, consider describing a time when you used new technology or software that helped improve your job performance.

Example: “I have extensive experience using the latest dental technology. In my last position, I was one of the first hygienists to use an electronic charting system. At first, I found it challenging to get used to the new system, but after a few weeks, I became very comfortable with it. Now, I find it much easier to enter patient information into the computer than write everything by hand.”

What makes you an ideal candidate for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you feel you would fit in with their team. Before your interview, make a list of reasons why you are the best candidate for the job. Focus on skills that relate to the position’s responsibilities and include any personal qualities that may help you succeed.

Example: “I am an ideal candidate because I have five years of experience as a dental hygienist. In my previous role, I learned how to work well under pressure and developed excellent communication skills. I also have a passion for helping others and providing them with quality care.”

Which dental hygiene associations are you a member of?

Employers may ask this question to learn more about your commitment to the dental hygiene profession. They want to know that you are actively involved in your community and have a desire to grow as a hygienist. When preparing for an interview, make sure to mention any professional organizations you belong to. If you’re not currently a member of any groups, consider joining one before your next interview.

Example: “I am a member of both the American Dental Hygiene Association and the National Dental Hygiene Association. I find these organizations to be extremely beneficial because they provide me with valuable resources and networking opportunities. I also enjoy attending their conferences each year so I can stay up-to-date on new techniques and technologies.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of oral health?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to assess your knowledge of dental health and how you prioritize it. Your answer should show that you understand what’s important in maintaining good oral health, such as regular checkups, brushing and flossing.

Example: “I think the most important aspect of oral health is prevention. By practicing proper hygiene at home, like brushing twice a day and flossing daily, we can prevent cavities from forming and keep our teeth healthy. Regular visits to the dentist are also essential because they allow us to catch any issues before they become serious.”

How often do you recommend patients come in for routine cleanings?

This question can help the interviewer determine how often you recommend patients come in for cleanings and whether your recommendations align with their office’s policies. It can also show them how much experience you have working with different types of patients. In your answer, try to explain what factors influence your recommendations and how you communicate them to patients.

Example: “I always encourage my patients to come in every six months for a cleaning. However, I take into account several factors when making this recommendation, including their overall oral health, any recent changes in their life that may affect their dental hygiene routine and any concerns they express about their teeth or gums. For example, if a patient tells me they are experiencing pain or sensitivity, I will usually recommend an appointment sooner than six months.”

There is a new treatment for tooth decay that is not widely available yet. A patient wants to know if you would recommend it for them. How do you respond?

This question is an opportunity to show your ability to think critically and apply knowledge in a real-life situation. You can use this question to demonstrate how you would research the treatment, explain it to patients and decide whether or not you would recommend it for them.

Example: “I would first ask what they know about the treatment so far. If they are aware of all the details, I would tell them that while there have been promising results from clinical trials, more testing needs to be done before it’s widely available. I would also let them know that if they were interested in trying it out, we could work with their dentist to get them started.”


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