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Dental Assistant Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your Dental Assistant interview, here are 25 interview questions and answer examples.

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Question 1 of 25

What are three key traits a dental assistant needs to have?

How to Answer

The interviewer would like to see the types of traits you value the most. Likely, the characteristics that you mention while answering this question are going to be traits that you have. When answering this question, focus on your daily routine, personal skills, and organization skills.

Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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25 Dental Assistant Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1. What are three key traits a dental assistant needs to have?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to see the types of traits you value the most. Likely, the characteristics that you mention while answering this question are going to be traits that you have. When answering this question, focus on your daily routine, personal skills, and organization skills.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "Through my dental assistant education, I learned that the best key traits to have include a keen eye on safety, hygiene, and good bedside manner."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "I think being able to work well in a team, clearly communicate, and consistently provide excellent customer service are incredibly important traits to have as a dental assistant. Rest assured, I would bring these traits with me to this role."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Experienced

      "I believe that a dental assistant needs to have excellent documentation skills, the ability to make a client feel comfortable, and a strong sense of safety. These are all traits that I possess and will bring with me if hired."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

  • 2. Which dental related software and programs have you worked with?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know more about the programs that you have been exposed to in your career as a dental assistant. It's best to list the types of programs you have worked in, state the amount of years' experience in each, and then grade yourself as a beginner, intermediate, or advanced user. If you have trained other dental assistants on a program, be sure to mention that here as well. If you are unsure of the type of applications and software used in this particular clinic, be sure to ask!

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "Because I am new to my career as a dental assistant, I have not had the opportunity to work with a dental specific program. I am, however, well versed in the entire Microsoft Office Suite, and am highly tech-savvy. Which programs do you use here? I would love to give myself a head start on training by searching for online tutorials in the meantime."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "I have worked in three different dental clinics who used a variety of programs including Denticon, MaxiDent, and PracticeWeb. I have approximately four years' experience in each and would rate myself as an intermediate user."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Experienced

      "I feel that I have used them all, in my ten years as a dental assistant! I am most familiar with ACE Dental Software and iDental Soft. I am tech savvy and have taught many junior dental assistants on new programs during my career. Which programs do you use here?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

  • 3. When have you worked with a diverse group of people?

      How to Answer

      As a dental assistant, you will be exposed to a great variety of people and situations each day. Are you accustomed to working with a very large or diverse team of individuals? Assure the interviewer that you can handle an environment that offers diversity.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "In my current role, I work alongside cross-functional teams regularly. I embrace this diversity and encourage it in the workplace. Where would we be if everyone was the same?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "I have worked with diverse groups of people most of my career, including my time in University. I am most comfortable, and happy, in this type of environment because it offers a great learning opportunity."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Experienced

      "I would say that pretty much every company I have worked for has valued diversity. Working with people from all walks of life help shed different perspectives and identify potential problems faster."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

  • 4. What type of work environment do you dislike working in?

      How to Answer

      Are you pretty flexible in your ability to work in most environments? Have you experienced a position where the atmosphere wasn't conducive to your productivity? Be sure to know the type of environment that is offered in this position before the interview.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I tend to find slow paced or red tape environments challenging to maintain my excitement levels."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 5. How do you handle a situation where the dentist you are supporting does not correctly communicate information to you?

      How to Answer

      You cannot force others to communicate with you in a way that you would always prefer. Talk to the interviewer about a time that you have handled a dentist who does not interact with you in a way that you like.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I would go to the dentist directly and ask to talk about the issue. Hopefully, we can find common ground to improve communication. He/she may not realize that not everyone understands and interprets messages the same way."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 6. Do you prefer doing work on a routine day-to-day basis or do you prefer mixing up your routine occasionally?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know your preference when it comes to a predictable vs.unpredictable routine. Are you the individual who prefers to know what the day will bring, or do you thrive on the challenge and excitement of unpredictability?

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I am comfortable either way, but I would probably grow bored if nothing ever changed. Having a few days of status quo now and then is good for my sanity though."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 7. Tell me about an organization or group outside of work that you contributed to.

      How to Answer

      Many hiring managers will choose one candidate over another because of their volunteer experience. They feel that it shows strong character and selflessness...all qualities that make a great employee. Talk to the interviewer about your willingness to give back to your community in some form of volunteerism. If you do not have formal volunteer experience, you can draw on things you do in your spare time to assist friends, family, or even your current employer.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I volunteer a couple of Saturdays per month serving meals at a local homeless shelter. Helping others is very rewarding, and I think the world would be a much better place if we all spent time volunteering!"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 8. Tell me about yourself.

      How to Answer

      When an interviewer asks an open-ended question like this, it can be difficult to know where to begin...and end! This question haunts many individuals who may accidentally go a little too in-depth into their personal lives. It happens. Keep your reply light, and work relevant. Share how you became interested in this career path and what you enjoy about it. This is an excellent opportunity to describe yourself by discussing the strengths and qualities that you bring.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I recently graduated with my Diploma in Business Administration and am looking for my first opportunity as a dental assistant. In my spare time, I like to go for walks with my dog, and babysit my new nephew."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 9. What are your salary expectations?

      How to Answer

      The compensation question can be tough to answer. It's always best to start with what you are currently earning and then discuss what your future compensation goals look like.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "As I am new to my career and this industry, I am happy to negotiate my earnings based on your typical salary for this role."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 10. Would you be willing to work over 40 hours a week?

      How to Answer

      Before answering scheduling questions, it's important to be clear on the interviewer's expectations. If you haven't had a chance to clarify their scheduling needs, now would be the perfect time to ask! Keep in mind that, in most states, an employer cannot demand that an employee work more than 44 hours per week.
      Consider asking what the scheduling expectations are for this position. If they expect you to work 12 hour days, it would be important for you to know that before you respond with, 'Absolutely! No problem!' You want to be sure that you can meet their expectations.
      If it turns out their schedule expectations won't work for you, think about what you CAN offer and see if you can meet in the middle. It's much better to discuss these things in an interview than for you to commit to a schedule that won't work for you.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "If overtime is required in this role, I am happy to accommodate whenever I can. My only restriction is that I cannot work Wednesday nights as I have an evening course those days."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 11. Tell me some techniques you use to keep an office organized?

      How to Answer

      First and foremost, prioritize your daily tasks. Maybe there is an operation due early in the morning, so you must ensure that the dental surgery room is prepared and the instruments are all laid out correctly. Share with the interviewer how you remain organized throughout the day.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I believe that the key to keeping an organized office is to be properly trained in the software programs, pay attention to the schedule, and avoid overbooking the dentist. Also, confirmation calls to future patients are a lifesaver!"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 12. What questions do you have for me?

      How to Answer

      It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the clinic's website and other online resources to ensure the questions you are asking are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of items you could have found the answers to from merely watching a video on their company site!

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "Here are some sample questions:

      - When would you like to have this position filled?
      - How long has this role been vacant?
      - Is this a replacement search or a newly created role?
      - What is your favorite part about working here?
      - What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months?
      - Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you?
      - What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years?
      - Is there any reason why you would not hire me?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 13. If a patient complains they had to wait too long to see the doctor, what will you do?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know how you handle stressful situations. As a dental assistant, you may run into a patient that is unhappy due to an unexpected wait at the office. Tell the interviewer how you would clearly and calmly explain the situation to the client.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "If a patient complained to me about their wait time, I would give them an estimated time for their wait and give them the option to reschedule. There are many unforeseen circumstances in a dentists' day, and the reality is, they will run behind from time to time."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 14. Have you progressed in your dental career, as expected?

      How to Answer

      Career progression can be a touchy subject, especially if you feel that your career hasn't progressed as well as you would have liked. Talk to the interviewer about your career progression and what you would like to see in the future.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I am pleased with the progress of my dental career. I am proud of my accomplishments and the path my career has taken so far."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 15. What has been your best experience thus far, as a dental assistant?

      How to Answer

      This question is assuming you have had previous experience working as a dental assistant before. If you have, tell them about your best experience, ensuring to showcase your attributes in care and compassion.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "As I am new to my career as a dental assistant, I would say that the best experience so far has been my practicum with Clinic ABC. I was able to lean a great deal from the dentist and also the dental hygienists. Feeling so welcome and accepted in this industry has by far been my favorite experience."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 16. Where do you see your career in five years?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is trying to establish how committed you are to staying with the company. The company may invest in you with training so, ensure the interviewer that you're not taking this job until something better comes along.

      It's impossible to know where you will be in 5 years but do assure the interviewer that, given all possible circumstances, you could see yourself as a long-term fit for their position.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I'd like to become a proficient dental assistant and specialize as a hygienist in five years."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 17. How do you handle stress?

      How to Answer

      Any interview is a stressful situation, so if you are coping with that you are not doing too bad!

      Answer your questions factually and calmly. Are you someone who can handle stress on the job? How do you manage the stressful times? Talk to the interviewer about your ability to control pressure in the workplace. Tell the interviewer about a time you were double booked, had an upset patient or were short staffed.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I work out each night to resolve any stress I may be experiencing. I find that the rush of endorphins can fix almost anything!"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 18. Tell me about your leadership qualities.

      How to Answer

      Tell the interviewer how strong your leadership skills are! You may think leadership is not a requirement as a dental assistant, but most clinics are looking for candidates with promise, who can take control when needed. If you haven't served as a supervisor in the professional setting, refer to a role outside your job where you took on a leadership function.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I possess great leadership qualities that include diligence, tenacity, and open communication. I look forward to taking these skills to work for you!"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 19. Do you speak any other languages?

      How to Answer

      This is a simple yes or no answer. The interviewer may ask this question, depending on the diversity of their clients. Unless stated in the job posting, this is likely not a deal breaker but more a question of interest.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I do not speak any other languages, aside from English. Would you like for me to learn another language? I have wanted to commit to expanding my linguistic skills."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 20. How would your co-workers describe your attention to detail?

      How to Answer

      Attention to detail is critical when you are dealing with ultra sterile environments. A dentist assistant must thoroughly sterilize and disinfect instruments and prepare the trays for dental procedures.

      Every dental visit should run like clockwork, and the assistant has a significant part to play in this. When the clinic runs smoothly, everyone is happy. It is always best to support your reply with a real-life example. Talk to the interviewer about your level of attentiveness when it comes to details on the job, and be sure to include any previous feedback you may have received from co-workers in the past.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I always take a few extra minutes to ensure that I'm reading the patients x-rays and findings correctly for the doctor. My most recent boss commented on how much she appreciated me giving her the correct information the first time."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 21. Tell me about your relationship with the last dentist you supported.

      How to Answer

      When you answer this question, be sure to remain positive, even if the experience wasn't. Avoid talking about any previous drama and do not speak poorly of your employer. Keep your answer short and respectful.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "During my practicum, I worked with a dentist who provided an amazing learning environment. We had great communication and worked well together."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 22. What will you contribute to this dental office?

      How to Answer

      A dental assistant has a wide variety of tasks. They have the patient care side where they participate in dental surgeries, assisting the dentist with instruments and recording patient notes.

      There is also the clerical and general office side where all supplies and stock need to be checked. Day to day requires a focus on health and safety, where the sterilizing and disinfecting of the instruments need to be carried out meticulously.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I am new to my career as a dental assistant and would like to bring my fresh education, and great attitude, to compliment your already successful dental team."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 23. Do you prefer to work on your own, or as a part of a team?

      How to Answer

      This is not a trick question! The interviewer is trying to get a feel for your personality and how you interact with others. You may work well without the need for much management or direction, or perhaps you are better driven by a collaborative and team led environment. Either way, be honest with the interviewer about your preferences without leaning negatively, either way.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "Because I just completed my Diploma in Dental Hygiene, most of my experience has been in an independent environment. I would welcome the support of working in a team environment."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 24. Are you CPR certified?

      How to Answer

      Answer this question with a simple yes or no. If your certification is not current, assure the interviewer that you are going to renew your certification. If you have an existing, and valid, certification be sure to bring the documentation with you so that the interviewer can take a copy for your file.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I have not yet obtained my CPR certification; however, I am registered to take the CPR course next weekend. I will certainly be certified before my potential start date."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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  • 25. What procedure do you use to sterilize dental equipment?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know if you are aware of the fundamental procedures you would have to perform as a dental assistant. Do your homework, beforehand!

      Cross-infection is possible in any dental surgery, so a designated area or 'clean' room is present for receiving, cleaning off debris, disinfecting, sterilizing and storing all sterile dental equipment.

      The manual way to clean the instruments is by scrubbing, using a chemical or detergent agent, rinsing very thoroughly with clean water, and avoiding any splashes.
      You could also mention that using automated equipment can prove more efficient as the instruments eliminate the need for soaking or scrubbing beforehand. This method also prevents the dental assistant from being exposed to contaminants.

      To reduce injury, gloves, face-masks, and gowns must be worn at all times. To impress the interviewer, you can always finish answering this question by saying that many organizations across America insist on long-handled brushes to keep the hands away from sharp instruments!

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I was trained to manually sterilize dental equipment by the method of pre-soaking and scrubbing utensils using a chemical agent. I am also versed in the importance of proper protective equipment such as gloves, a face-mask, and a gown."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 1st, 2021

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