How to Answer Dental Assistant Interview Questions

Dentist operating on patient
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At your dental assistant interview, be prepared to answer job-specific interview questions, as well as questions that are focused around working with coworkers, patients, and supervisors in a team environment. If you're hoping to land your first job as a dental assistant, highlight both your classroom training and the hands-on experience you gained while earning your dental assistant certification.

Below, you'll find tips for how to prepare for your interview, whether it's your first position as a dental assistant or not. Review common questions you're likely to receive during the interview, and practice how you will respond. 

Interview Tips for Dental Assistant Jobs 

If you're applying for your first job as a dental assistant, use your experience in school, which is often very focused on teamwork, in your responses. Translate your classroom experiences into examples of teamwork that you can share with the interviewer. For example, describe a team project, and explain how the team roles were selected, the role you were selected for, and how you collaborated with your team members to complete the assignment. As a dental assistant, you may serve as an extra set of hands for the dentist during procedures, so the ability to work well on a team is important. 

Regardless of whether you're just starting out or have many years of experience in the field, it's important to prepare for your interview. Here are some tips to help you feel confident when you walk into your interview: 

Prepare for Questions About Previous Roles

If you're an experienced dental assistant looking for a new position, the interviewer will likely inquire about your previous roles. Prepare for questions about your specific job duties, including tasks that were not directly related to dental assistant work. Review copies of past performance evaluations, so you can share highlights about your accomplishments.

Don’t Speak Poorly About Other Dental Practices

In many areas, the dental health community is small, so under no circumstances should you criticize your previous employer or speak negatively about your past experience working in a dental office.

Keep Your Tone Positive

During every interview, dental assistant or otherwise, always convey positive working experiences in your interview responses. This is not the time to complain about your last boss, your coworkers, or your dental assistant responsibilities. 

Research the Dental Practice

Before your interview, get to know the practice. Spend some time on the website, read online reviews, and visit the practice's social media pages. This will help you get a sense of the culture at the practice. As you learn more, prepare questions you can ask the interviewer.   

Dress the Part

As a dental assistant, you may spend much of your time in scrubs. Or, you may be at the front desk, greeting patients, and answering questions. Either way, patients will see and interact with you. Since you'll be representing the practice, dentists and other interviewers will observe how you carry yourself. Wear a professional outfit when you interview. Keep your phone turned off (or on silent) during the interview. 

Dental Assistant Interview Questions

Take time to read through these common interview questions for dental assistants. Practice your responses, so that you'll feel confident during your interview. 

  • Describe the steps you use to sterilize and disinfect dental equipment.
  • How much chair-side experience do you have? Describe two chair-side experiences where you felt entirely comfortable, and another one that you felt was a struggle.
  • Are you more comfortable working with children or adults? Why?
  • What made you interested in working in the dental field? 
  • Do you have any laboratory experience, such as making casts of teeth and temporary crowns?
  • What are the principles you follow for delivering superb customer service to patients?
  • Do you have experience maintaining dental records? Do you have other office or administrative experience?
  • What experience do you have with preparatory dental procedures?
  • Are you CPR-certified?
  • Describe a time when you worked on a team and there was a disagreement between two people. How did you handle the situation?
  • How do you work under continuous direct supervision? Explain how you react to constructive criticism?
  • Why do you want to work for our practice in particular?
  • Describe a time when you had to work with a difficult patient. How did you handle the situation?