Be Prepared for 10 Important Dental Assisting Interview Questions

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The most nerve-wracking part of any job search is the interview. You want to sell yourself, but you don’t want to appear either under or overqualified for the position. You need to provide answers that are detailed, while at the same time not talking the interviewer’s ear off. You want to appear professional, but also warm and friendly. It’s a tough path to navigate.

The best way to ease the stress is to be well-prepared. Prepare your answers for questions you might be asked so you’ll have a ready answer and won’t blank out. If you’re ready to prep for a dental assisting interview, here are a few of the questions you may be asked:

1. Why do you enjoy being a dental assistant?

Be honest and pick a part of the job that you really enjoy, such as working with people, learning about dentistry or helping to manage an office. Or maybe you like taking dental x-rays or helping the dentist chairside. What is your favorite part of being a dental assistant? Think about it and practice saying your answer aloud.

2. Tell us about your dental assisting experience.

Yes, your experience shows on your resume, but employers want to hear a little more detail as to what your day-to-day duties are in your current position, and how long you’ve been doing them. If you’re new to the field, talk about what you learned in your dental assistant training. And remember, the skills and experience from a recent or current job that isn’t in the field may also be transferable to a dental assistant position.

3. What administrative experience do you have?

Part of your job will be to answer the phone and emails. Highlight any experience you have with customer service, as well as your communication skills and your computer skills.

4. Why do you want this job?

This is a common question asked on almost any interview, regardless of the field. Employers want to see that you want to work for them, not that you’re trying to get any old job in the field. Do your homework and look at the website of the dental practice. Read reviews from former employers and even look through the practice’s social media accounts. Make note of the positive parts and mention them, along with what motivated you to apply for this particular job in the first place.

5. What is your oral care routine?

It sounds personal, but oral care is the name of the dental game. You’ll have a tough time educating patients on how to properly care for their teeth and gums if you don’t know how to do it yourself.

6. How will you ensure HIPAA guidelines are followed?

Patient confidentiality is important in both medical and dental care. Your employer will want to know that you’re familiar with basic HIPAA protocol, and that ethical integrity is important to you.

7. Do you have experience taking and processing x-rays?

This may seem like a simple “yes” or “no” question, but there’s a little more to questions like this. It’s easy to feel like there’s a right or wrong answer here—but don’t worry, if you don’t have this experience, you don’t automatically fail the interview. The employer just wants to gauge your skills and experience. And if you do have experience taking x-rays, explain the procedure in as much detail as possible, but note that you’re willing to learn exactly how they do x-rays in their office.

8. How would you deal with an angry patient?

This is a good chance to talk about your communication and customer service skills. If you’ve been in this situation, give an example of how you handled it. The important skills to note are your ability to stay calm in a crisis and your ability to empathize with what a patient may be going through while always remaining professional.

9. How would you sterilize equipment and how often?

What the interviewer is really asking is if you are aware of safety procedures and protocol. This is a good opportunity to show that you care about both patients’ health and the standards of the employer. Detail matters here, so provide as much as you can.

10. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

This is another common interview question, but one that often trips up job applicants. It’s always easier to name your strengths, but weaknesses are tricky. You don’t want to put yourself in a bad light, but you do want to be honest. Use a skill that you would like to acquire as an example, or talk about a particular trait that you are already working on, like being too nice in certain situations, or finding difficulty in the work/life balance.

Another important qualification you’ll want to highlight in your interview is your training! At Charter College, we offer a Certificate in Dental Assisting that includes instruction on in-chair assisting procedures, training in front-office procedures, and a 180-hour externship at a local dental office. Visit us in Canyon Country, Lancaster, Oxnard, Fife, Pasco, and Vancouver.