17 Periodontist Interview Questions and Answers

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

A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease. Periodontists also place dental implants and perform cosmetic periodontal procedures.

To become a periodontist, you need to complete four years of dental school and then complete a three-year residency program in periodontics. After completing your training, you’ll need to pass a written and clinical examination to become a board-certified periodontist.

The final step in becoming a periodontist is to find a job. And that usually starts with a job interview. During your interview, a periodontist employer will ask you questions to gauge your knowledge of periodontics, as well as your clinical skills. They’ll also want to know about your ability to communicate with patients and staff, as well as your bedside manner.

To help you prepare for your interview, we’ve compiled a list of common periodontist interview questions and answers.

Common Periodontist Interview Questions

Are you comfortable working with patients who have a range of different medical conditions?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your ability to work with patients who have a range of medical conditions. This can include those who are elderly, have hearing or vision impairments and more. Your answer should show that you’re willing to adapt to different situations and provide the best care for all types of patients.

Example: “I am very comfortable working with patients who have a variety of medical conditions. I always make sure to communicate clearly with my patients so they understand what I’m saying and how their treatment plan works. In addition, I also ensure that I take extra precautions when treating patients with certain conditions.”

What are some of the most important factors you consider when treating a patient?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your treatment philosophy. Your answer should include a few of the most important factors you consider when treating patients and how those factors help you provide quality care.

Example: “I believe that patient comfort is one of the most important factors I consider when treating a patient. For example, if a patient has sensitive teeth or gums, I will take extra time during their procedure to ensure they feel as comfortable as possible. Another factor I consider is my ability to communicate with my patients. I always make sure to explain every step of the procedure so my patients know what to expect.”

How would you respond if a patient was not complying with the treatment plan you recommended?

This question can help the interviewer assess your interpersonal skills and ability to communicate with patients. Your answer should demonstrate that you are able to effectively communicate with patients, empathize with their concerns and develop a treatment plan they will adhere to.

Example: “If a patient was not complying with my treatment plan, I would first try to understand why they were having difficulty following it. If there is an aspect of the treatment plan they find challenging or uncomfortable, I would work with them to find a solution that makes the process more manageable for them. For example, if a patient finds flossing difficult, I might recommend a different type of floss or show them how to use dental tape instead.”

What is your experience with administering local anesthesia and providing IV sedation?

The interviewer may ask you this question to learn about your experience with administering anesthesia and sedation. This is because these are common procedures that periodontists often perform during treatment. When answering, consider mentioning the specific types of anesthesia or sedation you have administered in the past and how comfortable you were performing them.

Example: “In my previous position as a periodontist, I was responsible for providing IV sedation to patients who required it. In addition, I also administered local anesthesia when needed. For example, if a patient had an extensive procedure, I would administer general anesthesia so they could sleep through the entire process. However, if a patient only needed minor work done, I would provide local anesthesia instead.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to adapt your treatment plan to suit a patient’s needs.

An interviewer may ask this question to assess your ability to work with patients and their unique needs. This can be an important skill for a periodontist, as you will likely have many patients who are elderly or have other conditions that require special treatment plans. In your answer, try to describe how you worked with the patient to create a plan that was beneficial for them while still achieving the goals of the procedure.

Example: “I once had a patient who was very anxious about having dental procedures. I spoke with her about our options and determined that we could perform the majority of the procedure without sedation. She agreed, and we were able to complete the procedure successfully.”

If a patient was struggling to follow your treatment plan, how would you help them stay motivated?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you interact with patients and their unique needs. It’s important to show that you’re empathetic, patient and willing to work hard to ensure your patients are successful in following their treatment plans.

Example: “I would first try to find out why they were struggling to follow the plan. If it was due to financial reasons, I would do my best to offer them a payment plan or discounts on future treatments. If it was because of time constraints, I would see if there was any way I could make the appointments more convenient for them. Whatever the reason, I would always be open to hearing what they had to say and doing everything I could to help.”

What would you do if a patient came to you with a severe case of periodontal disease?

This question is a great way to test your problem-solving skills and ability to work with patients who may be experiencing challenging situations. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe the steps you would take to help the patient overcome their situation.

Example: “If a patient came to me with severe periodontal disease, I would first make sure they understood that there are many treatment options available for them. Depending on the severity of the case, I might recommend scaling and root planing or even surgery. In either case, I would want to ensure my patient was comfortable throughout the entire process.”

How well do you communicate with other dental professionals, such as dental hygienists and dental assistants?

Periodontists often work with other dental professionals to provide the best care for their patients. Employers ask this question to make sure you can communicate effectively and respectfully with your colleagues. In your answer, explain that you value teamwork and are willing to listen to others’ ideas. Explain that you will be able to collaborate with these professionals to create a treatment plan that meets each patient’s needs.

Example: “I have always valued teamwork in my career because I know it is important to work together to achieve our goals. As a periodontist, I understand that I need to work with hygienists and assistants to ensure my patients receive the best care possible. I am open to hearing their suggestions and feedback about how we can improve our procedures. I also believe that everyone has something valuable to contribute to the team.”

Do you have experience performing dental procedures on children?

Periodontists often work with children, and employers ask this question to make sure you have experience working with kids. If you do not have experience treating children, explain what your approach would be if a child was in the dental chair.

Example: “I have worked with many children over my career, and I find that they respond well to positive reinforcement. When performing procedures on children, I always try to keep them calm by explaining each step of the process. For example, when cleaning their teeth, I let them know how long it will take and praise them for being brave. This helps put them at ease and makes them more likely to cooperate.”

When performing a procedure, what is your process for ensuring you sterilize all of the tools and instruments?

The interviewer may ask you a question like this to assess your attention to detail and ability to follow procedures. In your answer, provide an example of how you followed sterilization protocols in the past and highlight your attention to detail.

Example: “I always make sure that I have all of my tools ready before starting any procedure. This helps me avoid wasting time looking for instruments or supplies while performing the procedure. When sterilizing instruments, I use a high-level disinfectant solution that kills bacteria and other pathogens on contact. After each patient, I clean and sanitize all of my equipment so it’s ready for the next procedure.”

We want to be known for providing exceptional customer service. How would you build a relationship with a new patient?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you would interact with patients and their families. Use examples from your previous experience to show that you value relationships with patients and their loved ones.

Example: “I always want my patients to feel comfortable in our office, so I make sure they have a dedicated team member who helps them through every step of their treatment plan. This way, they know exactly who to ask questions to when they need more information about their care. I also like to meet with new patients before their first appointment to answer any questions they may have and explain what to expect during their visit.”

Describe your experience with performing dental implants.

This question can help the interviewer determine your level of experience with a specific dental procedure. If you have previous experience performing dental implants, describe what steps you took to ensure the patient’s comfort and safety during the process. If you do not have any experience performing this procedure, you can discuss how you would approach it if given the opportunity.

Example: “I’ve performed several dental implant procedures in my career so far. I always start by making sure that the patient is comfortable throughout the entire process. For example, I make sure they are well-hydrated before beginning the procedure and provide them with headphones or other entertainment options to keep their mind off of the discomfort. I also take extra care when removing the damaged tooth to ensure there isn’t any bleeding.”

What makes you stand out from other periodontists?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your background and experience. They want to know what makes you unique from other candidates. When answering this question, think of a specific skill or quality that sets you apart from others. You can also mention something you learned in school that helped you develop this skill or quality.

Example: “I have always been passionate about helping people feel better about themselves. I started my career as a dental hygienist because I wanted to help patients maintain their oral health. As a periodontist, I am able to do even more for my patients. I specialize in treating gum disease, which is often the cause of tooth loss. I enjoy being able to give my patients back their confidence with healthy teeth.”

Which dental procedures are you still working on mastering?

This question can help the interviewer get a sense of your self-awareness and willingness to learn. It also shows that you’re open to constructive criticism, which is an important skill for any professional to have. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention something specific about a procedure or treatment plan that you’ve recently learned.

Example: “I’m still working on mastering how to perform gum grafts. I’ve been practicing with my mentor, but there are so many factors involved in making sure the graft takes properly. I think I’ll always be learning new ways to improve my technique.”

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 oral health and how you prioritize tasks. Your answer should show that you understand the importance of good oral hygiene, regular checkups and overall dental health.

Example: “I believe the most important aspect of oral health is prevention. If we can prevent cavities, gum disease and other issues before they start, it’s much easier to treat them than if they get worse. I always encourage my patients to practice good oral hygiene at home, like flossing regularly and brushing twice a day. I also recommend that they come in for regular cleanings so I can catch any problems early.”

How often should patients visit the dentist?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your dental philosophy. Your answer should include a few details about how often you recommend patients visit the dentist and why.

Example: “I believe that regular visits are important for maintaining oral health, so I encourage my patients to come in every six months for a checkup. During these appointments, I can perform any necessary procedures and educate them on ways they can maintain their oral health at home. For example, I might show them how to brush and floss properly or recommend an electric toothbrush.”

There is a new treatment for periodontal disease that has a high success rate. Would you be willing to try it out on your patients?

This question is a great way to determine how flexible you are as a periodontist. It also shows the interviewer that you’re willing to learn new techniques and implement them into your practice. Your answer should show that you’re open to change, but only if it’s in the best interest of your patients.

Example: “I would be happy to try out any treatment that could benefit my patients. I’m always looking for ways to improve their dental health and ensure they have the best experience possible. However, I would want to make sure that this new treatment was proven effective before implementing it on all of my patients.”


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