210 Dentistry Interview Questions

The questions to expect in a Dentistry interview can come with uncertainty, which is why we have compiled a list of 210 example questions with 70 fully worked solutions!

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With the help of our expert interview tutors we have put together a list of 210 Dentistry interview questions – 70 of which have worked solutions with example responses!

Understanding Dentistry Interview Questions

Getting a Dental School interview is a great achievement. They can be a daunting prospect but with the right preparation, there is every reason to be confident that you can present yourself in the best possible way.

This is why with the help of our expert interview tutors we’ve created this guide with 210 Dentistry questions, with our tutors providing responses for 70 of them.

The list of questions below is not exhaustive but does cover a variety of question styles that you are likely to be asked.

However, there are no guarantees, and you could potentially be asked things that you have never heard of.

Do not be afraid of the unknown. Keep in mind the qualities that interviewers are looking for and go for it.

Ready to get started? Jump straight to whatever section you need by clicking below…⬇️ 

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30 Background and Motivation Interview Questions

For many Dental Schools these are their favourite questions to ask as it gives them insight into you and what your ambitions are, and you should expect to be grilled on the single question “why Dentistry” for about five minutes!

1. Why Dentistry? Why do you want to be a Dentist?

You are almost guaranteed to be asked this question in every Dental School Interview you attend. Hence it is essential that you have prepared a flawless answer for it.

The best way to approach this question is by being very honest and detailed in your answer. It can be difficult to know where to start when answering this question.  

You could look at your Personal Statement and bullet point reasons you started there, or you could create a mind-map to help you reflect and drag out the deep-rooted motivation behind your decision to study Dentistry.

“I am very interested in people. I love working as part of a  and forming personal and professional relationships with others. I find it exceptionally rewarding to learn about how other people view the world and believe dentistry provides the opportunity to make uniquely trusting relationships between a patient and a dentist. I also have a great passion for science and scientific discovery. I am fascinated by scientific mechanisms and their complexities, and I greatly enjoy the process of learning about them. My work experience has also consolidated my belief that a career in the dental profession is right for me. I was confronted with the unglamorous reality of dentistry for both the patient and the dentist, but I began to understand how rewarding the job of a dentist can be. I greatly admire the concept of making the care of the patient the dentist’s first concern and using meticulous precision and skill to achieve the best results for my patients.”

2. What have you done to prepare yourself for a career in Dentistry?

Your interviewer is looking for you to discuss a range of resources you have used to make the decision that dentistry is for you.

Work experience is the best way to prepare yourself for work as a dentist as you get to see what you will be doing day to day, but there are things you can do to develop the skills you need as a healthcare professional such as volunteering.

“I arranged two weeks work experience in a mixed practise to prepare myself for a career in Dentistry. During my work experience I got to see a range of different treatments such as crowns, fillings, dentures, and general check-ups. I also got to see patient-dentist relationships and how important professionalism is in this field. I have developed this skill myself by volunteering in a local care home, spending time with the elderly residents.”

3. Why are you passionate about a career in Dentistry rather than in Medicine or another health profession?

Dentistry is not the only healthcare profession, and you must be able to demonstrate to your interviewer how you have considered your options and decided this field is for you.

Think about the aspects of dentistry that make it unique.

Common comparisons to dentistry in the interview are medicine, nursing, teaching, or a different role in the dental team.

In medicine, it is unlikely that a patient will be diagnosed and treated by the same person, especially if they have complex needs. As a dentist, you will create both diagnoses and carry out treatment plans. Any specialist referrals will be made by you, and it is your decision on how you plan to treat a patient.

In nursing/other members of the dental team, you do not make diagnostic decisions or create treatment plans – you are carrying out treatment set by someone else. As a dentist you have full responsibility for what is carried out on a patient and can choose to do it yourself or assign it to someone else if appropriate. You can also specialise and pick whichever path you prefer.

In teaching, although you are responsible for others and teaching them new things, you are will not be overseeing their care and improving their health. As a dentist you get to see the physical changes your treatment makes and how it can improve someone’s quality of life.”

4. Tell me about a non-academic project you were involved in and how it went?

This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your involvement in non-academic fields and expand on those activities. 

Mention what you did, what may have gone wrong, what you reflected on, and how the activity helped you grow.

“One non-academic project I was involved in was in taking care of disabled children as a volunteer for a non-profit organisation. This project allowed me to gain hands-on experience with disabled children and their families and allowed me to develop various qualities such as my empathy and organisational skill. I am very thankful for this as it opened my eyes to what many individuals have to go through and showed me the realities that many in the world have to go through.

5. What do you wish to achieve in your career in Dentistry, aside from clinical practice?

Understand your ambitions. Being an excellent dentist is the baseline but what more do you want. 

This question allows the interviewer to explore you wider understanding of a career in dentistry and the steps you have taken to inform yourself.

Understand your ambitions. Being an excellent dentist is the baseline but what more do you want. 

This question allows the interviewer to explore you wider understanding of a career in dentistry and the steps you have taken to inform yourself.

6. What do you think are your priorities in your own personal development?

This is your chance to explore and demonstrate how ambitious you are. Opportunity to draw on experiences showing commitment to personal development – leadership, awards, employment etc.

This is your chance to explore and demonstrate how ambitious you are. Opportunity to draw on experiences showing commitment to personal development – leadership, awards, employment etc.

7. What qualities do you think other people value in you?

Nice question for the interviewer to gauge kind of person you are – remember still want to make sure you are right fit for Dentistry. 

Try to mention three qualities, you feel people value in you with explanations to justify them.

“I have met a wide range of people throughout my academic and work experiences. I think people would describe me as being someone who is diligent and generous with my time. I have often balanced my studies with employment and volunteer opportunities as well as tutoring friends and family. They appreciate the dedication I demonstrate to myself and them. I run a bake club for the local community, and I have made many friends through this. I think members of our bake club would describe me as easy going, sociable and fun to be around. I have a small team who trust me to lead them and ensure our sessions run smoothly. Finally, I think people would describe me as someone who is accountable. I take responsibility for my actions and when I have made a mistake or a wrong decision, I own up to it. Overall, I think people would think of me as dependable in various different situations.”

8. Think of a time when you had to say ‘sorry’ to someone. How did that change your relationship with that person?

The ability to take accountability for your actions is an essential part of being a dentist.

As a dentist, you will make mistakes but from this is learning opportunities, but you have to have the capacity to be honest. Be personable and not just give a generic answer.

“During a school project I was assigned a task to do research for a presentation. On the day I was to report my research, I realised I had not read the instructions properly. I was missing a significant amount of research in order for us to complete the presentation criteria. I was scared to tell my teammates, out of fear of their reaction, but I knew I had to. When we sat down for our meeting to create the presentation, I apologised to my teammates that I had not completed my research section properly. I took full responsibility that this would affect our presentation. Not wanting to let my team down, I committed to working as hard as I could to rectify my mistake, but it was likely that I would need their help. At first, they were understandably disappointed but appreciating my ownership of the mistake, collaborated with me to help me conduct the remaining research for the presentation. I think as a group, this made us closer and made us realise how important providing a support network can be. They rallied around me and rather than blaming me, they helped me to rectify my mistake for which I was incredibly grateful.”

9. How have you shown integrity and responsibility at school?

Be honest in your answer and do not exaggerate your answer as this can be picked up very easily.

Think of times such as being a leader or being on a team and showing integrity.

“I displayed integrity during my time on the football team at school. We were playing a school rival and it was a very tense match. There was an attack followed by the ball going out of bounds after I had touched it last. However, the referee had said it was our ball and the other team was very upset about this decision. I knew that the ball had gone off me and went to tell that to the referee. He changed his mind on hearing this and decided to give possession to the other team. After the game, the referee, my teammates, and the other team came up to me and thanked me for owning up. This reinforced my belief in being honest in all situations.”

10. Do you plan on starting your own practice later in your career?

There is no right or wrong way to answer this question, it all comes down to your ambitions and where you see your career taking you.

What is important is the reasoning behind your answer but do steer away from talking about financial gain.

Your reasons should focus around either patient care or, as previously mentioned, your own personal development and interests.

If your answer is yes, you could make reference to talking to a practice owner during your work experience and the impact that had on you.

You can also have a personal reason such as you would like to build an environment and a talented team of professionals in which you can lead and manage with your own skills

There is no right or wrong way to answer this question, it all comes down to your ambitions and where you see your career taking you.

What is important is the reasoning behind your answer but do steer away from talking about financial gain.

Your reasons should focus around either patient care or, as previously mentioned, your own personal development and interests.

If your answer is yes, you could make reference to talking to a practice owner during your work experience and the impact that had on you.

You can also have a personal reason such as you would like to build an environment and a talented team of professionals in which you can lead and manage with your own skills

11. What do you want to specialise in?

12. Why would you work in a dental practice?

13. Talk us through your personal statement

14. What are you looking forward to most about becoming a dentist?

15. Are you motivated by financial rewards?

16. What books have you read about Dentistry?

17. Are you motivated by financial rewards?

18. What extracurricular activities have you done relating to science and Dentistry?

19. Can you tell us about any particular life experiences that you think may help or hinder you in a career in Dentistry?

20. When you think about becoming a dentist, what do you look forward to most and least?

21. Who do you consider to be the most important member of the dental team?

22. If you were to become a dentist, how would you like your patients to describe you and why?

23. What do you think are the most challenging parts of being a dentist?

24. What have you done to prepare for a career in dentistry, beyond your work experience?

25. What publications, newspapers, books, or other sources of information on the world of health and dentistry do you read?

26. What contribution do you hope to make to the field of dentistry?

27. What interests you the most about Dentistry?

28. What will be the most challenging part of your dental training and career?

29. What do you think we should look for in an applicant?

30. What is your main motivation for wanting to become a dentist?

30 Personality Dentistry Interview Questions

These are the questions where you will be expected to demonstrate your ability to show compassion and empathy, as well as other communication and organisational skills required to be a Dentist. 

31. Tell me about a time when you showed good communication skills?

Communication is a very important part of a Dentist’s job.

Dentists need to be able to effectively convey important information to other members of staff. Communication is also essential for an effective approach to patient care.

In order to ensure that the patient’s autonomy is fully utilised the patients must be fully informed of all the details of treatment and procedures.

“I currently work as a GCSE Maths tutor and often I have to explain difficult concepts to my students in a new way since their teachers’ approaches often fall a bit short. An example where I feel I was particularly effective at communicating a concept was recently when I had to explain the idea behind gradients of straight lines. I tried to go at a pace appropriate for the student’s ability and I kept an eye on the student’s body language so I knew when I’d lost her, and I could backtrack and isolate the bits she found most confusing.”

32. What are the key qualities a good dentist should have?

To be a good dentist, it is not only about having the knowledge to carry out treatment. You also need to have good interpersonal skills to work well with your dental team.

You will be asked this question to show you have thought about the qualities you will need to be a good dentist outside of knowledge, the value they have and how you have demonstrated them, especially as key skills such as teamwork can be difficult to teach and rather need to be picked up by you.

“Communication – not only will you be meeting a range of different people from different backgrounds, you also need to acknowledge they will not have the same level of knowledge as you and still need to get your ideas across.

Patience – you will be working with children/difficult patients as well as performing delicate and detailed procedures.

The ability to work under pressure – it is a lot of responsibility to be the head of a team and in charge of someone’s care.

Teamwork skills – you will be working alongside a dental nurse and other members of the dental team.

Professionalism – create a positive first impression, your patients need to be able to trust you!”

33. How do you think you will cope with criticism from colleagues or other health professionals?

As a dentist, you will be the head of a team. This comes with a lot of responsibility as well as criticism – you need to be able to handle colleagues expressing their concerns to you in a professional manner!

As a dentist, you will be the head of a team. This comes with a lot of responsibility as well as criticism – you need to be able to handle colleagues expressing their concerns to you in a professional manner!

34. What makes a good working relationship?

As a dentist you will be working with your patients, your dental nurse, technician, and any other member of the dental team your practice may have such as a receptionist.

You must be able to highlight to your interviewer that you are able to maintain good working relationships with other healthcare professionals.

“One thing that makes a good working relationship is teamwork. Working together is a major part of dentistry as a dentist relies on their dental team to carry out different roles for a patient and a good working relationship is a very important part of this. Fairly allocating work and completing your assigned tasks to the best of your ability make sure you are a responsible and reliable teammate and leader.”

35. Do you consider yourself as an empathetic person?

Empathy is a very important quality for a dentist and one that is very often asked about.

Understanding the definition of empathy and being able to describe it in a suitable manner is essential. Knowing and understanding the difference between empathy and sympathy is very crucial at the interview stage.

Demonstrating real-life scenarios where you have displayed empathy is crucial.

“Yes, I do consider myself an empathetic person as I am capable of putting myself in someone else’s shoes and trying to understand what they’re going through. I think empathy is crucial in any healthcare setting and I displayed it during my work experience. A relative of a patient who had come in with serious trauma was very worried about his family member and needed someone to talk to. I sat by him and listened attentively to what he said and tried putting myself in his shoes and imagine what he was going through. After the patient was stabilised and his treatment was decided, the relative told me what a great help I had been in his time of distress. Due to this instance and other such instances in my life, I consider myself an empathetic person.”

36. Give us an example of when you worked as part of a team?

Teamwork is very important in the clinic and will be essential throughout dental school. It is essential to give examples of scenarios when you displayed teamwork and instances where you have been a leader as well.

 Potentially discussing an issue that came up and how you overcame it can add to the value of your answer.

“I displayed teamwork and my ability to work as a team on a variety of school projects. We had a project for the science fair that involved making a documentary. This involved various tasks such as choosing the topic, assigning the sub-topics to each member, and collating the work. I played an active part in helping the assigned team leader in each of these tasks and this helped me to improve my teamwork.”

37. Can you give us an example of how you coped with a conflict with a colleague or friend?

Demonstrating that you learned from this encounter is essential.

Show that a compromise was reached, and you were able to obtain a satisfactory conclusion.

Also, show how you could have approached the situation better next time.

“I had a conflict with a team member on a group project. He had not turned up to multiple meetings and hadn’t communicated with the rest of the team. I was tasked with ensuring that he did his job. I was upset with him and approached him in an accusatory manner which I regretted afterwards as he told me that he had some serious personal circumstances going on. I regretted my actions and after informing the rest of the team, we reached an effective compromise.”

38. What have you learned about yourself and successful team-working?

This is an opportunity to talk about other activities you may have taken part in that you haven’t been able to expand on fully.

Talk about a situation where you worked well within a team and how it improved your ability to work within a team. You can also talk about being a leader and a team player and the balance needed for each.

 You can also talk about other qualities you may have learned.

“When I was part of the school football team, I learnt more about the immense importance of teamwork and how essential it is for success. On the team, I was a midfielder and was tasked with assisting both the offence and defence. Working well with both sections enabled me to develop my chemistry with the other team members, leading to increased trust in me from the team and better success on the field.”

39. Do you think humour can help a team? Give an example.

It is important for the interviewer to know you have the right personality that is required for a career in Dentistry.

As well, they would want to know how you would work alongside others on your course.

However, it is important to be aware that humour can be subjective and that you have the ability to read situations.

“When working in a team, it is important to work hard, efficiently, and cooperatively. Each member of the team will be significant in aiding patient outcomes. However, working in healthcare environments can be a stressful and high-pressure environment so it is important to have good morale within the team. To keep spirits high, humour can help a team as it can allow people respite and brightness in their day. Having worked in a team on night shifts, we would sometimes involve humour to get us through the long nights. On holidays such as Halloween we would dress up and tell jokes which really helped lift the mood. However, humour is subjective so we must ensure our jokes will not offend or upset anyone. Additionally, humour is not always appropriate, especially when working in healthcare settings, there can be sombre days due to loss or significant burdens. Overall, humour has the ability to lift spirits, but it must be done appropriately and with an understanding of your environment.”

40. How would you dissuade someone from going into Dentistry?

‘I wouldn’t’ = the wrong approach to this question.

Do not jump straight into the negatives. 

The interviewer wants to explore your understanding of the downsides of a career in dentistry.

“Based on my experiences, if I were to dissuade someone from going into dentistry, I would discuss the dedication and commitment required to studying and beyond. Dentistry requires 5 years at university, but the learning does not stop there. It is vital that you are willing to take exams and learn for the next 5 years but also beyond as you explore the various career paths and specialities to get a rewarding and fulfilling career. Dentistry is a high-pressure career. You have the power to change people’s lives which means you are likely to be under public scrutiny. People accessing dentistry services may have unrealistic expectations. It is important to manage conflict and resolve problems. Dentistry is a team sport so you must be able to work and cooperate well in a team. If you work better alone or you would prefer independent work, dentistry is very team driven. You are often collaborating with a dental nurse, or a dental hygienist who are integral to providing high quality care to patients. My decision to study dentistry is based on my experiences which include taster days, employment in a team environment and shadowing dentists. It is incredibly important to encourage people to explore and take a proactive approach in understanding whether a career choice is right for them.”

41. If you had to pick one quality to define yourself, what would it be?

42. When things are overwhelming, what do you do to decompress?

43. What ways of working and studying have you developed that you think will assist you through dental school? What will you need to improve?

44. Is there such a thing as positive criticism?

45. What are your outside interests and hobbies? How do these compliment you as a person? Which do you think you will continue at university?

46. Tell us two personal qualities you have which would make you a good dentist, and two personal shortcomings which you think you would like to overcome as you become dentist?

47. Dental training is long and being a dentist can be stressful. Some dentists who qualify never practice. What makes you think you will stick to it?

48. What qualities do you lack that would be useful for a dentist, and what do you intend to do about this?

49. Thinking about your membership of a team (in a work, sport, school, or other setting), can you tell us about the most important contributions you made to the team?

50. Do you feel that your academic and scientific skills, or your people skills are more important for dentistry?

51. What are the key things to remember when talking to someone with a different viewpoint? (e.g., a patient who does not believe that they require treatment)

52. Why do you think that being a good communicator is so important to being a dentist?

53. Do you find it easy to communicate with a broad array of people?

54. How do you think other people would describe you?

55. Which of your qualities do other people find frustrating? What might you do about this?

56. You will probably have got high marks throughout school. On this dental course, most marks are awarded as ‘satisfactory’ or not. How will you feel about seeming ‘average’ in this new situation?

57. Some people are always very certain that what they believe is right. Some people are never certain. What kind of person are you in this regard?

58. Give us an example of something about which you used to hold strong opinions but have had to change your mind. What made you change?

59. Do you find that you work better independently or as part of a team?

60. Are you good at simplifying ideas?

30 Dentistry Work Experience Interview Questions

The purpose of these questions is not to brag about having done work experience, but rather to demonstrate the value you gained from it. Two days of engaged work experience is better than going through two weeks passively. 

61. How did your work experience change your views of Dentistry?

This question is giving you the opportunity to present concisely what you learnt from your work experience.

There is a need for you to compare your views on Dentistry before and after the work experience.

 If answered correctly this question is structured in a way that allows the candidate to easily make the critical observations Interviewers look for when talking about work experience.

 Namely, that you have learnt something from the work experience rather than just observed passively.

Try identifying a particular situation you observed during work experience and how this challenged your preconceptions about Dentistry.

“I observed a surgical removal of a lower wisdom tooth and asked the surgeon beforehand about his approach. I was fascinated to learn about how the surgeon assesses the tooth first in order to assess the difficulty and risks involved in removing it. We also spoke about and his flap design which he wanted to keep minimal to aid in recovery. I was really able to appreciate the skill required to work in such a tight space right at the back of the mouth. This also allowed me to observe not just the oral surgery side of dentistry but also how the surgeon managed this patient who was understandably a little anxious about the procedure. Communication was key in making the patient feel more comfortable and reassured. Previously I’d seen dentistry as restoring and removing teeth, but this experience has made me realise the patient’s perspective to dentistry and that being capable of managing them effectively is just as important as clinical skill.”

62. What impressed you most about the dentists during your work experience?

When answering questions about your work experience, make sure you discuss it as an experience rather than as a checklist for applying to dentistry. Your interviewer wants to know what you took away from observing a dentist, not the amount of time you managed to arrange.

“What impressed me most about my dentist during my work experience was the level manual dexterity required to place a filling. Before observing a dentist, I was not aware of how a cavity is created in a specific shape to make sure the filling is durable and does not fall out. To work in such a small space and make such precise measurement takes a lot of skill I was not aware of before.”

63. How did patients tend to react to bad news? How would you manage this?

This is about understanding how you would resolve conflict/difficult situations.

Try to be personable and give examples of when you have seen or dealt with someone in such a situation.

“When I volunteered in an emergency department, I was offering tea and coffee to patients after receiving a handover from the nurse in charge. A patient insisted he was going to get himself a cup of tea or coffee as he had been waiting ages for a scan. There was a huge backlog in the ED that day. I recognised this was frustrating for the patient, but I also knew giving him a drink, would set him further back. I got on well with the patient, so I talked to him. I explained the backlog in the ED, and they have to ensure they see patients fairly according to their needs. I further explained how getting a cup of tea or coffee, would be prolonging his stay, and increasing the time he would be waiting for a scan. The patient thanked me, which confused me first as he was really frustrated. I asked him why he thanked me, and he said he thanked me for my honesty and taking the time to explain what is going on. This made me realise that patients are usually well within their rights to be frustrated when things don’t go their way but it’s often the case, they just need someone to tell them what’s going on, which I equally understand can be challenging for healthcare workers.”

64. Did anything surprise or shock you during your work experience placement?

Questions about your work experience are very common and the aim of this question is to see if you have a realistic expectation of what being a dentist is like. 

It’s ok to say you were surprised by something you weren’t expecting, but it is important to say that you have reflected and have learnt from what you have experienced, showing the interviewers that you understand the profession you want to get in to.

“During my work experienced placement, I witnessed a patient become very agitated with the dentist after they had to wait in the waiting room longer than expected for an appointment. It surprised me to see the patient so upset with the dentist and this wasn’t an aspect of the profession I had thought about before. After watching the dentist apologise and diffuse the situation, I began to understand that a dentist’s duties are much more diverse than simply dental care, and that a dentist works as part of a team to ensure the practice is running smoothly.”

65. Can you tell me the key things you learned from your work experience in caring or other settings?

Once again, work experience questions are common, and you should spend time reflecting on what you have learned. A top tip is to write down what happened on your work experience soon after, so that you can remind yourself as you prepare for interviews.

There are many ways to answer this. For example, you could talk about how you learned more about a dentist’s everyday working life or that you got to see an interesting procedure, which led you to read about it.

You can talk about other experiences, such as volunteering in a care home. Here, you could speak about how you saw the personal level of care and how every patient is an individual.

“While shadowing a dentist, I learned that there were so many important aspects of their job aside from dental care, such as record keeping, communicating with their team and administrative tasks. This really highlighted the diversity of the profession. Furthermore, I saw how the dentist changed their mannerisms with each patient, from a young child to an elderly man. This showed me how important it is to understand your patients and their needs, treating everyone as an individual. I also got to see a complex root canal case, which led me to read more about this kind of treatment. During my work experience, I got to see both the social side of patient interaction and the scientific side of dental treatment, and these experiences cemented my desire to become a dentist.”

66. In your work experience, what skills have you learnt that you can apply to Dentistry?

This question is asking you to reflect on your work experience and is asking for your understanding of a dentist’s job.

You could talk about the importance of understanding that every patient is an individual, something you might have seen in a dental practice or in a care home. Think about how you might have seen the dentist work as part of a team and how important you think teamwork and communication may be.

“From my work experience in a dental practice I saw how important communication and teamwork were to ensure the practice was running smoothly, for example communicating any delays. This was a skill I put in practice myself when I volunteered in a care home, often relaying messages for staff in different areas. Another skill I learned in the care home as I talked to the residents was the ability to adapt my style of communication to their needs and personality, a skill I saw dentists use in my work experience.”

67. What experiences have given you insight into the world of Dentistry? What have you learnt from these?

You could discuss shadowing a dentist and how it gave you a realistic expectation of how a dentist also has administrative duties as well as dental care. It is also giving you the opportunity to discuss something other than shadowing a dentist. You could even discuss your own experiences as a patient.

“The first time I thought about becoming a dentist was after watching my sister going to the dentist for a complex emergency procedure. She was extremely nervous and in pain. I found it amazing watching the dentist ease her nerves and not long after the procedure she was back to normal. After acquiring work experience, I was able to see what being a dentist is like from the dentist’s perspective. I got to see the dentist perform administrative tasks and learned that being a dentist is a varied and interesting role.”

68. What aspect of your work experience would you recommend to a friend thinking about applying for Dentistry and why?

This question is asking you what you gained from your work experience.

You could mention any type of work experience in a care environment, or any part of your work experience. For example, getting to see how the dentist interacted with patients and how they fixed their dental problems could be a moment that solidified your dream of becoming a dentist.

“I would definitely recommend shadowing a dentist. This is what I found to be the most helpful as I learned more about what a dentist’s everyday life was like and I decided that I liked the diversity of the job, as well as the teamwork aspect. I would also recommend work experience in a care home or similar care setting to develop the skills needed to interact with a wide range of patients in the best way for them.”

69. What would you change about the practice that you shadowed at?

This question is interesting and very open-ended.

It does not matter too much what you say you would choose to change, the interviewers want to see that you have reflected on your experiences.

Make sure there is a positive element to your answer, or else you will seem critical of the whole profession.

 You could say that it would be better if the staff communicated better to avoid delays and unexpected patients.

“Overall, I learned a lot at the practice I shadowed at. It was well run and offered patients quality care. However, I did see a few instances of appointment confusion, where a patient had required a longer appointment, but another patient had been booked in the middle of the first patient’s timeslot, causing confusion for the dentist. From this, I would say that better communication and organisation between team members would have improved the running of the practice but, overall, it was a very positive learning experience.”

70. How did you organise your work experience?

The reason for this question is to see if your work experience was organised by you asking dentists and dental practices to shadow them, showing initiative.

It is usually necessary to have some sort of work experience but not everyone is successful in having weeks of shadowing experience, so organising other types of work experience in a similar setting shows your commitment.

“I successfully organised a week shadowing dentists in a local dental practice by emailing several practices. I decided I wanted more experience in a care setting so volunteered in my local care home, where I spoke to the residents and helped the staff perform general duties. This allowed me to develop my skills in a care environment by me needing to change my style of communication to talk to each different resident, much like I saw the dentist doing with their patients.”

71. Tell us about your work experience. What stood out to you?

72. Tell us about one interesting procedure that you saw during your work experience.

73. Tell us about a challenging situation that you observed during your work experience.

74. What skills or qualities did you note in the dentists that you observed during your work experience?

75. What other team members were present during your work experience, beyond dentists or student dentists?

76. During your work experience, can you tell us about a difficult situation you have dealt with and what you learned from it?

77. How did you find the fact that dentists only get 10 minutes per consultation?

78. What did you notice about the skills dentists needed when they were carrying out a patient history?

79. What did you notice about the dentists you were shadowing in their approach to patients?

80. During the dentist’s conversations with patients, do you think that there was anything that they could improve?

81. Did you witness any procedures that did not go to plan? How did the dental team cope with this?

82. What did you learn from your work experience in the orthodontic clinic?

83. What skills did you identify?

84. What have you done on work experience/in employment previously? What would you change about what you saw, and how would you do this?

85. Can you think of a situation where good communication has been vital and give a reason why?

86. Reflect on what you have seen of hospitals or a healthcare environment. What would you most like to organise differently, and why?

87. What did you learn about yourself from your work experience?

88. What did you learn from the dentists and nurses from your work experience?

89. What aspect of your work experience did you find the most challenging, and why?

90. If you had your own dental practice, what would you most like to organise differently, and why?

30 Dentistry Ethics Interview Questions

Being able to understand medical ethics and their use in clinical practice is essential for many Dental School interviews. 

91. When can Dentists break confidentiality?

As Dentists, there is an ethical and legal obligation to protect patient information. This improves patient-Dentist trust.

However, there are circumstances under which Dentists are allowed to break patient confidentiality like:

  • The patient is very likely to cause harm to others
  • Patient does not have the capacity
  • Social service input is required
  • At request of police
  • Inability to safely operate a motor vehicle

“Patients have a right to expect their dentists to maintain confidentiality and doing so is very important to maintain a good patient-dentist relationship as well as maintain the public’s trust in the profession. However, there are a number of circumstances under which dentists may break confidentiality. As stated in the GDC guidance, it may be broken if it is required by the law, if it is in the public’s best interest due to a communicable disease such as HIV or a serious crime needing to be reported such as a gunshot wound. It is always important to ask patients first if their information can be disclosed and to encourage them to disclose things themselves. For example, if a person with uncontrolled epilepsy is driving, you have a duty to report it to the DVLA but you must give the patient every chance to tell the DVLA about their condition themselves. In this case, you can only break confidentiality if the patient refuses to inform the DVLA so that you can protect them and the general public.”

92. What kind of issues might cause a dentist to be struck off the professional register?

All dentists in the UK must register with the GDC (General Dental Council). It is important you are aware of what is expected of you as a dentist by the GDC and that you understand what behaviour is acceptable and what is not. 

Being struck off the register is a serious consequence – as a dentist you are in a position of great responsibility, and it is vital you ensure you are aware of this and act appropriately.

“One issue that may cause a dentist to be struck off the professional register is the serious breaching of confidentiality and sharing patient information with those who should not have access to it. As a dentist, your patients will trust you with sensitive information about their medical records and you must maintain this trust. Any information that is given to you about a patient must be kept confidential unless required by another appropriate healthcare professional such as a specialist for referral.”

93. What precautions need to be taken with patients who are HIV positive?

This question again asks you to demonstrate your level of knowledge and understanding of the dental profession, precautions needed, and a disease such as HIV.

Mention how HIV can be transmitted.

The main ways that HIV enters the bloodstream are by injecting into the bloodstream with needles or injecting equipment that’s been shared with other people, through the thin lining on or inside the anus, vagina, and genitals, through the thin lining of the mouth and eyes, and through cuts and sores in the skin.

“Wear gloves: If you have open or healing wounds, or skin infections. When in contact with saliva, mucous membranes, or blood. When in contact with blood-soiled items, body fluids or surfaces contaminated by them. When examining all oral lesions. Replace torn or punctured gloves immediately. Use new gloves for every patient. Wear gowns when blood or body fluids are likely to soil clothing. Change gowns daily or when visibly soiled with blood or body fluids. Wear masks, face/eye protection or chin-length plastic face shields (with safety glasses or goggles) to protect your mouth and nose (oral and nasal mucosa) from the splatter of blood, saliva, or gingival fluid. Wash hands: Between patients. After completing a procedure and before leaving work area. Before and immediately after removing gloves.”

94. How will you cope with the death of a patient as a result of your mistakes?

Empathy and responsibility are what are key here.

Do not jump in and say my mistakes are a learning curve and that you would not do it again. You need to acknowledge the consequences.

The interviewer is also interested in your resilience and how you overcome an emotional time.

“Healthcare careers can be challenging. The death of a patient I imagine will always leave a mark, but more so when it is as a result of a mistake I have made. In this situation, my first priority would be taking responsibility for my actions. This would involve contacting the patients’ loved ones and organising to meet them to explain what has happened, my role in the situation and allow them the time to comprehend the situation. Understandably, they could be angry, upset, and emotional. I think in scenarios like this, it is important to give people an opportunity to ask questions at their own pace. I would also meet with my seniors in order to explain the situation. Of course, we go into healthcare to help people so this would be a devastating real-life scenario. After taking responsibility, I would take the opportunity to reflect and recognise what went wrong and how I prevent it from going wrong again. This could also be an emotionally taxing time for myself, so it would be important to have a support network around me who can help me to overcome a mistake that has been detrimental. Overall, I think in this scenario, taking responsibility is paramount alongside considering your own mental wellbeing.”

95. How would you go about treating a patient who is not fluent in your native language?

This question addresses the difficulties you will have in communicating with patients and how to overcome this.

As well, the interviewer is looking to see your resilience in such difficult situations.

What they are also wanting to see is your ability to communicate with other professionals, such as interpreters.

“I understand that in healthcare there are many barriers to effective communication and one of these involve language barriers. If I had to treat a patient not fluent in English, I will first identify the extent of the language gap i.e., whether the patient does not understand English at all or whether they can understand a little bit. Once this situation has been assessed, I will then become mindful of my body language as this is what the patient will most likely use as a form of communication. I will then reach out to a professional interpreter to relay information such as diagnosis, investigations, and treatment to the patient and ensure they understand.”

96. What are the main principles of Dental and Medical ethics?

There are a few principles which are generally accepted as the core of Dental ethics. It can be useful to read a little about them to make sure you have a good grasp on what they mean.

Good answers will not just state what the main principles of Dental ethics are but why they are so important. You do not need to go into too much detail, just show that you know what the principles mean.

Make sure that you recognise that any single one of the principles could be argued to be the most important but for specific reasons you chose the one that you did.

“The main principles of dental ethics are usually said to be beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice. It is very difficult to say which is most important as, by definition, they are each crucial in dentistry and they are all very linked with each other. If I had to pick, I would say that beneficence is probably the most important principle as if it is applied to all your patients then it should imply justice and if a patient is properly respected, then it should also take into account the importance of autonomy. ”

97. You are a dental student on consultant clinic. Your consultant in charge turns up on Monday morning smelling strongly of alcohol. What do you do?

Situational Judgement questions aim to assess your approach to complex situations which you may encounter in the workplace.

They are designed to test your potential across a number of competencies.

There is usually a pattern to follow when answering these questions: try to approach the person in question to gather a bit of information. Next, you should try and explore the reason behind their behaviour. Thirdly, the interviewer would like to hear that you are taking steps to ensure that patients are safe.

Lastly, you may want to suggest the consultant seek some help.

“This is a complex scenario. As there is only a presumption here that the tutor has been drinking (he smells of alcohol only), I would tentatively approach him and politely ask him if he has been drinking any alcohol. I would next offer to explore his behaviour by asking him what has led him to drink alcohol and be so out of control that he still smells of it when he comes into work. I would then suggest he takes the rest of the day off after ensuring his shift is covered by explaining that patient safety may be compromised if he practices dentistry under the influence. Lastly, if I believe that this may be a long-term problem, I suggest to him that he seeks further help, either by going to his GP or going to occupational health.”

98. What is the role of the General Dental Council?

 This question aims to test your knowledge of the profession you want to go into.

The General Dental Council is a regulatory board that registers all UK dentists and is something you should read about before your interviews.

“The General Dental Council is an organisation that registers and regulates UK dentists and other dental workers. They are important because they make sure that all dentists are practicing safely so that the general public receives quality care and can trust in their dentists. The General Dental Council is also important for the continued learning of qualified dentists, known as continuing professional development.”

99. Have you come across any examples of poor professional behaviour from Dentists?

This question is asking about your understanding of professionalism.

It is ok to say you haven’t come across any examples of poor professional behaviour from dentists but to extend your answer you could talk about your understanding of professionalism and examples of poor professional behaviour.

If you have seen poor professional behaviour, explain why it was poor. For example, if you saw a dentist asking for a patient’s number, you would say that this was unprofessional as it jeopardises the trust between the dentist and patient.

“I have not seen any examples of poor professional behaviour from dentists during my shadowing experience. I understand though, that professionalism is extremely important for maintaining the trust between the dentist and patient, as well as for ensuring the patient receives the best care.”

100. A 15-year-old girl attends your practice with her Mother and is complaining of toothache. After your initial examination, you decide to take an x-ray of the tooth. As part of the routine procedure, you ask the patient if there is any chance, she could be pregnant. She originally says no, but once her Mother has left the room informs you that she has recently discovered that she is pregnant and is scared that the treatment may harm her baby. Discuss with us how you would react to this situation.

This question tests your understanding of ethics and professionalism.

The patient should be deemed competent by the dentist as she is a minor and if competent then she is entitled to confidentiality and the dentist cannot tell her mother.

 The catch here is that if the dentist suspects abuse, they can report it to the appropriate authorities without getting consent, although they should try and encourage the patient to report the abuse themselves.

“This is a difficult situation, but my first priority would be speaking to the patient alone to ask her if she is safe and to assess her competence. If I don’t believe she has been abused and she is competent in her decision making and understanding, I would have to respect her wishes not to tell her mother. This is confidentiality. I would also need to make sure she understands that there is a risk of x-rays. This is a difficult place to be, but my priority would be assessing my patient’s competence and safety and allowing her to make an informed decision.”

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101. What is ethics?

102. Is it ever okay to lie to a patient?

103. Would you tell a terminally ill patient the stark reality of their condition or be optimistic?

104. What do you understand by the four pillars of medical ethics; 1. Autonomy 2. Justice 3. Non-maleficence 4. Beneficence? Can you illustrate these principles with an example?

105. What are the arguments for and against banning the sale of tobacco?

106. Have you observed or researched any incidents where patient confidentiality has been broken?

107. How can the Sugar Tax tackle dental disease?

108. A patient with dental anxiety comes into your practice. They are refusing to have a dental check-up without sedation. Discuss how you would manage this patient.

109. A five-year-old patient comes in with severe dental decay and requires several teeth to be extracted. On speaking to the child’s mother, they refuse to give consent for the child’s teeth to be extracted and do not believe that the child has any dental decay. Discuss how you would deal with this situation.

110. A 25-year-old woman comes to your dental practice because she is unhappy with the appearance of her teeth as she feels they look crooked. On examination, there is no clinical indication that she needs braces, so she does not fit the criteria for braces on the NHS. The woman explains to you that her teeth make her very self-conscious and is causing her to feel depressed. Do you think this woman should be given braces on the NHS?

111. A patient attends the surgery and refuses to have drilling done to remove caries as they strongly believe in a fully conservative approach to treatment. They do not wish to remove any more tooth tissue. What action would you take in this scenario?

112. Imagine that you are a newly qualified dentist. One of your patients has severe tooth decay, with signs of infection, and needs treatment immediately. However, they say that they don’t believe they need fillings, and that they expect their teeth to heal naturally. Please role play how you would approach this situation. Your interviewer will play the role of the patient.

113. Is it right for dental students to provide public health advice on social media?

114. Discuss an ethical dilemma that you have experienced.

115. How would you react if you discovered a classmate cheating?

116. Have you ever had to report something to an authority about someone who was acting in an unethical or unlawful manner?

117. A patient is suing another dentist for medical malpractice and comes to see you; would you treat that patient and how would you deal with them?

118. How would you handle a situation as a dental student if an attending consultant demanded that you take pictures of a patient for a research paper without getting approval from the patient?

119. If you have two patients who are in dire need of care, what factors do you look at to determine who you would treat first?

120. You have a colleague who is known for overcharging patients and manipulating items on bills in his favour. What do you do?

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30 Dentistry Knowledge Interview Questions

You are not expected to be an expert in everything and anything related to Dentistry, the purpose of these questions is to show you have done wider reading and therefore have a genuine interest in the subject. 

121. How do you think Dentistry differs from other health professions?

For this question, you must show your interviewer you have a basic understanding of how the healthcare profession works as a whole and what is different about dentistry specifically.

“Dentistry is one of the only healthcare profession in which you see a patient regularly, regardless of whether they are currently seeking treatment. This gives you the opportunity to build a rapport and working relationship with a range of different patients over a long time. It is also very hands on in terms of performing very delicate treatments, such as a crown or filling in a relatively small space and requires good manual dexterity.”

122. Are you interested in working in the NHS or privately?

As a Dentist, you will be able to either work for the NHS or work privately. You should be aware of the differences between the two and what this means for your patients.

The issues with both NHS Dentistry and private are widely discussed and it is important you are able to acknowledge this and come to a well-educated conclusion.

Remember, most dentists offer both private and NHS services.

“I am more interested in working privately as in private dentistry, dentists are performing a wider range of treatments and use more expensive materials to meet a patient’s expectations. NHS treatment is designed to be more cost effective; this means more cost-effective materials and methods are used. Longer appointments are also available since dentists are not under pressure to see a certain number of patients as with the NHS.”

123. What are the challenges of being a dentist?

This question is checking to see if you have a realistic view of the dental field. 

As with anything, Dentistry has its challenges, and it is vital you are able to highlight to your interviewer that you are able to weigh up the pros and cons of such a job and make an informed decision.

When answering this question be sure to mention a way you will cope with the challenge!

“One of the downsides of dentistry is that you will come across difficult patients that will not agree with you and can be hard to reason with. A way you can overcome this is to improve your conflict resolution skills. You can do this by joining a debate club or taking a leadership role within your school.”

124. Should dental treatment be free on the NHS?

There are two skills being tested here:

1 – Do you know how NHS dentistry works? Have you done your research on why the current system is the way it is?

2 – Are you able to answer questions that do not have a straightforward answer? Are you able to look at both perspectives of an argument?

“I do not believe dental treatment should not be free on the NHS. The NHS is underfunded and so some areas such as dentistry need to be paid for to ensure funding can be stretched as far as possible. NHS dentistry as it is already subsided by the government and there are schemes available to offer treatment to patients that are low income or on benefits and cannot afford it otherwise. However, I can also see the reasons why dental treatment should on the NHS, there are some low-income households that do not meet the criteria for free treatment but cannot pay for the expenses for more complex treatment such as crowns or dentures.”

125. How do you think the profession will change over the next 20 years?

Your interviewer is looking for an answer that is well researched and backed up by literature.

There is always new technology being discovered and changes being made and so it is important you are able to show that you keep up with the development of dentistry as any changes in the field will directly impact the work you do.

“I think the profession will become more digital as technology develops. Currently there are CAD/CAM systems which can be used to make same day crowns, which can usually take anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks and replaces the process of taking impressions and sending them to a lab. As time goes on, I believe these will become more common and easier to use as the theory behind them develops.”

126. Who qualifies for free dental treatment?

It is important to be aware of the specifics of dental treatments and who qualifies for free dental treatment.

Knowing who qualifies for free dental treatment displays your interest in the profession and that you are committed to becoming a dentist.

This information can be easily found through the NHS site.

“You do not have to pay for NHS dental services if you’re: under 18, or under 19 and in full-time education pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months being treated in an NHS hospital and your treatment is carried out by the hospital dentist (but you may have to pay for any dentures or bridges) receiving low income benefits, or you’re under 20 and a dependant of someone receiving low income benefits Some other exemptions may also help patients receive free dental treatment”

127. How are NHS dentists funded? Is it the same for GPs?

This question again asks you to demonstrate your interest in dentistry and also your knowledge of other general medical fields. Answering within the knowledge you have and not beating around the bush is the best way to go about this question.

“Dentists are private contractors to the NHS, which means the dentists buy the building and equip the surgery, hire all the staff, and pay all of the running costs including wages, materials, and insurances, to provide an NHS dental service. Patients in England do not register with a dental practice. This is unlike GPs(general practice) where patients are registered to a particular general practice in the area. Dentists are paid in “Units of Dental Activity”. Typical values for units are £20-35, and they are paid 1 unit for a band 1 course of treatment, 3 for a band 2 course of treatment, and 12 for a band 3 course of treatment.”

128. How do price bands work for treatment under the NHS?

This is about highlighting you understand how dental care works in the UK.

Use this as an opportunity to highlight your knowledge.

All of this information is easily found on the NHS website

“Dentistry is an NHS service we contribute towards as and when we use it over the ages of 18 or 19 (if still in full time education). Treatments available on the NHS are only those which are clinically necessary so will not include cosmetic reasons for dental work. The NHS has a three-band structure band 1, band 2 and band 3. Band 1 is £23.80 and covers basic procedures such as x-rays, or fluoride application. Band 2 is £65.20, and this covers procedures such as tooth extraction, root canals, or permanent fillings. Band 3 is £282.80 and includes, crowns (of certain materials), bridges, composite veneers as some examples. If you are not exempt from paying, if you needed a band 3 and band 1 treatment, you would only pay the band 3 price as this covers all treatments included in bands 1 and 2. NHS dental prices cover a 2-month period so if you require more treatment at the same or lower price band, you will not need to pay anything but would have to pay if it is in a higher price band.”

129. When would a dental appointment be free, even when patients are not exempt?

Again, this is about your understanding of how dental care works in the UK.

It is not as straightforward as one person pays and another does not, there are some exemptions to this rule and if you have been taking the necessary steps to prepare you would be aware of this.

“Dentistry is an NHS service we contribute towards as and when we use it over the ages of 18 or 19 (if still in full time education). There are some exceptions to this, for example pregnant women or people on low income can access dental services free of charge. However, there are some instances when patients are not exempt from dental charges but could still be seen for free. The NHS has a three-band structure band 1, band 2 and band 3. Band 1 is £23.80 and covers basic procedures such as x-rays, or fluoride application or adjusting dentures. Band 2 is £65.20, and this covers procedures such as tooth extraction, root canals, or permanent fillings. Band 3 is £282.80 and thus includes, crowns (of certain materials), bridges, composite veneers as some examples. Patients who are under the NHS are covered for 2 months. The NHS has a banding system – bands 1-3 which increase in price. If a patient who had a band 2 treatment, needs a band 1 treatment within 2 months, they will not be charged again as they will be covered. Also, if patients needed denture repairs, these would be done free of charge unless the whole denture needed replacing. Additionally, having stitches removed or if you need a prescription these would be done free of charge even if you pay for treatment normally.”

130. What are some of the reasons patients choose private treatment for their teeth over NHS?

What needs to be clear here is that you understand the differences between NHS and private treatment.

Try getting into the mindset of a patient and think of the reasons they may have for choosing private care as opposed to NHS, and vice versa.

“NHS treatment is available to everyone regardless of financial circumstance or social status and the government provides subsidised costs, whereas private healthcare involves charging patients for treatments where these prices are regulated by the government. Some of the reasons why patients may choose private treatment for their teeth over NHS is because they are able to get appointments and treatment procedures carried out faster and out-of-hours. Patients may also want treatments, such as dental implants, and cosmetic work, which the NHS does not provide for everyone. NHS have targets imposed where they aim to see and treat as many patients as possible. However, with private healthcare, there are not many targets set in place, so the dentist is able to spend longer with the patient during appointments. Longer appointments are something that a patient may desire and therefore choose to go private. It is important to recognise that despite these differences, the ultimate goal for both NHS and private treatment is to provide the best possible care for a patient.”

131. Do you think that digital technologies will change the way in which dentists work?

132. What are some of the biggest changes to the profession in the last 20 years?

133. What are amalgam fillings made of, and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

134. What are white fillings made of, and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

135. How would you organise a campaign to improve dental health?

136. How would you carry out a root treatment?

137. Why do dentists recommend the fluoridation of water supplies?

138. Please could you tell us what you understand by the term manual dexterity? Would you also give us an example where you have used manual dexterity?

139. What steps have you taken to find out more about dentistry as a career?

140. What problems do you predict dentistry will face in the next 10 years?

141. What technological advancements are you most looking forward to in dentistry?

142. What is your go-to source for reviewing up-to-date information about the field of dentistry?

143. What are the arguments against fluoridation of water supplies?

144. What area of dentistry would you be most interested in practising in? Have you researched this speciality at all?

145. How current is your knowledge of dental procedures and tools?

146. Explain what is the difference between Endodontics and Orthodontics?

147. Explain what is the role of Dental Hygienist?

148. List out the tools that are used by dental hygienist?

149. How safe are dental X-rays?

150. Explain what Periodontics does?

30 Common Dentistry Interview Questions

There is no real theme to these questions, they are just the ones that there is a higher chance of coming up in your interview. They can cover everything from why you have chosen to apply for that Dental School to what are the pros and cons of Dentistry.

151. What makes this university and its Dental course right for you?

Do not confuse this question with “why do you want to go to Dental school?” you need to sell yourself to the interviewers and part of that is explaining why you would suit the style of course that they offer.  

Make sure to research a little about the course before your Interview and think about what attracted you to apply to that university and what it is about the course structure you particularly like.

It is essential that you know what you are signing up for and must show that you are the kind of person to thrive in this sort of environment.

Therefore, the answer to this question should make clear that you understand about the university and are the right sort of person for the challenge.

“I understand that this university is extremely demanding and challenging, but this sort of pressurised environment is one in which I would thrive. I work well under pressure and am also sure that the strong support networks that are established here will help me to complete my degree to the best of my ability. I am an active learner and am always keen to be involved in teaching discussions. Therefore, I think that I would benefit greatly from the supervision system that is unique to this university. I am enthusiastic, sporty, and outgoing, thus, would be keen to get involved with so much more that the university has to offer outside of my degree. I am very much an active person in all aspects of my life, which I think would make me fit in well amongst all the highly motivated students that come here.”

152. What interests you about our course?

It is important you are specific to the university you are applying to when answering this question. Although you will graduate as a dentist regardless of where you apply, different dental schools have different ways of teaching and offer different facilities available to you.

You need to make sure you have thought about the course at the specific university you are applying to show you have done your research and looked into the details of what you will be studying and the environment you will be in for the next 5 years.

The course website is the best resource to use in order to formulate your answer as it will contain all the information you need.

“I am really interested in the course at Barts and the London due to its location. This university is situated in East London which has a high population of South Asian residents. This brings unique patients to Barts, and they culturally practise paan chewing which can a range of oral health conditions, including oral cancer which is something I would not be able to experience screening and treating elsewhere. Barts and the London also has the first new dental school to be built in the UK for over 40 years, making the facilities up to date and great for clinical teaching.”

153. What can you bring to this Dental School?

This is an opportunity to let the interview board learn more about yourself and tell them things you may not have had the opportunity to mention in your personal statement. 

Let them know about your qualities and how you can contribute to the Dental School in all aspects, academically and in extracurriculars (such as clubs and sports, etc).

Let them know about your best qualities.

Be confident.

“If I am accepted to this Dental School, I believe I will be a great asset as I would be a very hard-working and determined Dental student and future Dentist. I believe I am a great team player and leader and can alternate between these roles very well if the situation calls for it. I am also interested in taking part in different societies and clubs such as AnatomySoc. I’m also interested in planning out various activities for different year groups to do.”

154. What do you think are the most rewarding parts of being a dentist?

This question gives you the opportunity to talk about what you think will be rewarding from being a Dentist. 

Answer with thoughts and examples supporting each particular point and ensure that your answer comes off as honest and genuine.

“Dentistry is a very rewarding profession as at its core, it’s about helping people get better and live better lives. This feeling of fulfilment is unique to Dentistry and other similar fields and is a main reason for why I pursue dentistry. Dentistry also has a broad academic basis which I am interested in and is another thing I feel would be very rewarding. The ability to get involved in things such as research is also very rewarding due to my interests in various topics in Dentistry”

155. How would you reassure an anxious patient?

This gives you an opportunity to show how you have learnt from your work experience and display an understanding of a clinical setting.

Be clear about what you plan to do and do not be worried if you can’t answer as perfectly as you would like to, dealing with clinical settings like this is something you learn to deal with throughout dental school.

“If I was asked to reassure an anxious patient, I would first try to make them comfortable in the situation they’re in. I would listen actively to their concerns and try to deal with each concern as effectively as I could. I would also talk with them in a calm manner and try to cheer them up. Demonstrating empathy in this situation is essential and understanding their concerns is a crucial step. Humour in certain situations can also help to lighten the mood and calm them down.”

156. What are the pros and cons of Dentistry?

Understand the good side and the downside. Do not give an overly positive answer.

No job/career is perfect so choose pros and cons that will complement your experiences.

“My decision to study Dentistry is based on my experiences throughout my education, employment, and work experiences. Within dentistry, you establish long term patient relationships. It is rewarding to be in a career where you will impact someone’s life every time – you may relieve their pain or help them achieve their desired smile, but each patient will be different. The commitment to lifelong learning is exciting as there are several specialities and options. I got to experience some of these during a dentistry taster day which involved multiple specialists. Additionally, it is an exciting time to be a part of dentistry. Digital Dentistry and new research are constantly coming out. I have recently been introduced to a chewable toothpaste founded by Dentists – I enjoy social enterprise and the business and entrepreneurial side of Dentistry appeals to a side of me that is ambitious and driven. However, 5 years of study is longer than other degree courses, so it requires a big commitment and dedication. This did worry me but having been to a dentistry summer school and having a small taste of what studying Dentistry may look like, it feels exciting and varied. Overall, I have carefully considered my decision and the pros outweigh the cons based on my experiences.”

157. Which quality required for Dentistry do you feel that you need to work on most?

This answer this requires self and career awareness.

Make sure to have a good idea about what qualities are important for a dentist, and which of those you have, and which need work.

As well, the interviewer will be looking at how well you reflect on experiences.

“As a Dentist, it is important to be able to say no. People can have high expectations of what they want from their dentist. It is important to manage expectations and provide realistic outcomes and this includes being able to say no to patients requesting treatments or procedures that they have seen on social media, for example. I think my weaknesses have been not being able to say no. During my A-Levels – which I was studying four of – I worked part time, tutored students, volunteered at a local hospice, as well as ran a bake club. Although I enjoyed these activities, I let the pressure of not letting others down get to me and accepted more than I could feasibly take on. It meant I was really stressed and busy all the time. Out of fear of letting others down, I found myself accepting activities, but I am getting better at slowing down and recognising what my body needs and can manage. This has meant sometimes I have to turn things down or explain my workload in a given week and try to help at a different time if I can. I found this has been better for my mental health and made me feel more refreshed and proactive when I have accepted activities.”

158. Do you feel that the public’s perception of Dentists is misrepresentative?

This is where your wider reading and awareness of stories in the news related to dentistry come in.

Make sure to stay up to date with dental news and have an idea of what public perceptions are. Do not just read the positive stories, read the negative ones too to have a broader range of opinions.

“Public perception of Dentists is drawn from media and patient interactions with their Dentist. Outside of first-hand experiences, most media people consume is either incredibly positive, or extremely negative. In an era where we see cosmetic enhancements including oral work, through social media channels, the public have high expectations of what they expect their Dentist to do for them. NHS Dentists only conduct clinically necessary procedures and cosmetic work, would need to be funded privately. Additionally, adults pay to visit the Dentist, even NHS patients. This can cause some upset within the public who again could have their own expectations for what their money should get them. On the other hand, we see many entrepreneurial and business minded dentists, who own their own surgeries or have created products. For example, I have recently been introduced to a chewable toothpaste tablet that was created by Dentists to combat the plastic issue. This has been informative in recognising the contribution our everyday items make to plastic pollution and how simple swaps can be impactful. Having Dentists leading on this is likely to increase public perception in a more positive way. Overall, I think the public’s perception of dentists can be misrepresentative as the public will form their own perceptions based on what they have seen, read or experienced but this may not be generally true.”

159. What do you think would be the advantages, and difficulties, for a person with a major physical disability (e.g., blindness) wishing to become a Dentist?

This is assessing your ability to empathise.

 You will be expected to provide a balanced view on the advantages and difficulties. As well, you can demonstrate your Dental knowledge by suggesting ways someone with a disability can be involved with Dentistry.

“This is a unique situation which has both advantages and difficulties. A person suffering from a major physical disability such as blindness, often have other senses which are well developed. Therefore, somebody suffering from blindness, could have developed an excellent listening ability through better hearing. Being able to listen and empathise with patients is especially important in healthcare settings such as Dentistry. However, disabilities such as blindness significantly impact the independent ability of the dentist. They are more likely to miss a clinical sign that can be seen via sight without help from colleagues to point it out. This would be difficult in a setting where patients are seen too quickly, as it would take significantly longer. Overall, dentistry is inclusive. Whilst major disabilities such as blindness do present their challenges, this does not exclude someone from being able to have a successful career. There are many ways to be involved that could enhance patient outcomes such as an academic role.”

160. If taxpayers pay tax for Dental students to become Dentists, do you think all Dentists should have to work in the NHS for a certain number of years?

Though the question may imply you can argue one opinion, make sure to argue both sides of it to show you are aware and understand both sides of the argument.

Support your argument by providing rationale.

“The NHS was created to serve the people of the country who would fund it through tax payments. The funding for Dental students comes from taxpayers as they will be paying for the hospitals and clinics that they work in. Therefore, it could be argued, Dentists should have to work in the NHS to serve the people who helped put them there. However, it is difficult to quantify how many years of service in the NHS would be appropriate for a Dentist who is effectively paying back the taxpayer. Also, whether Dentists work in the NHS or privately, they will be making tax contributions. These tax contributions will be helping to fund a new generation of Dentists. Overall, it is difficult to say Dentists must work in the NHS as taxpayers funded them. There is a freedom to choose where someone wants to work and that should not change for healthcare careers. As long as tax contributions are made, the money will go back into the system and not every Dentist will choose not to work in the NHS.”

161. What makes you think that our teaching style is best suited for you?

162. What has been your most important achievement to date?

163. Which Dental publications or Journals have you read?

164. What do you like about the idea of studying in this city?

165. Have you looked into doing an intercalated degree?

166. What do you think you can bring to the university beyond your academic ability?

167. Are you interested in research?

168. What role does research play in Medicine/Dentistry? Have you engaged in any research projects? Tell me about it.

169. Can you convince me that you can cope with the workload in dental school?

170. How do you study/prepare for exams?

171. Why do you think you are a good candidate for dental school?

172. How will you contribute to our dentistry school?

173. Independent study makes up a large part of this course – tell us how have you managed this approach to learning in the past?

174. What previous experiences have you had of learning in small groups?

175. What ways of learning work best for you, and how does this fit with our course?

176. Do you think your own dentist is good at communicating with patients?

177. What can you tell us about modern advances in dentistry?

178. Why do you think resilience is so important to being a dentist?

179. How would you respond if you found out that you were falling behind at dental school?

180. Why is it important for student dentists to be responsible?

Interview Preparation Articles

30 Dental Conditions Interview Questions

If you happened to mention a Dental condition in your personal statement then be prepared to be asked about it in your interview. So make sure to brush up, pardon the pun, on your knowledge of Dental conditions. 

181. How would you tell a patient they’ve got oral cancer?

This question tests your ability to cope well under stress. It is important that you do not panic.

For your interview, you should be expecting the unexpected and be broadly prepared for everything and anything.  

To answer this question well you will need to think logically and work through your answer step-by-step. You will not be expected to know any formal protocol.

The interviewer will be looking to see evidence of your empathy skills, your problem-solving skills, and your ability to think on the spot.

A good answer will be based around the keyword in the question – “tell”.

“I would be very aware of the patient’s current position; the level of awareness and understanding the patient currently has about his condition, available sources of support for this particular patient – for instance, family and friends, religious circles, specific support groups – and the current anxiety and distress the patient is feeling as a result of their poor health. I would adapt the specifics of what I would say as appropriate for an individual patient. But most fundamentally, I would use clear and simple communication and a very professional manner. I would give a thorough background explanation of what has led the dentists to reach this conclusion. I would check throughout the conversation that the patient has understood what I have said before I move onto the next point. I would openly show my empathy and sympathy to the patient by letting the patient know that I am terribly sorry that they are in this situation and by offering my support and patience and inviting them to ask any questions they have. ”

182. Should tobacco be banned?

This question is also assessing if you are able to look at both sides of an argument and come to a conclusion, but also requires an understanding of the four medical ethics. The four basic pillars of medical ethics are beneficence, non-maleficence, justice, and autonomy.

Beneficence: This is the principle of do good. It is the best interest of the general public that tobacco be banned. Tobacco use is associated with a range of different health risks and so it is best that people do not take up smoking and are deterred by the law.

Non-maleficence: This is the principle of do no harm. Again, it is in the best interest of the public that tobacco be banned. However, the ban of tobacco may shift interest to overconsumption other harmful substances such as alcohol. Instead, the focus should be more on educating people on the risks, rather than a straight ban.

Justice: This is the principle making sure something is fair and balanced. Is it fair to ban tobacco and not alcohol? Should the government be allowed to make such decisions? Perhaps the focus should not be on banning tobacco as much as looking why people are drawn to such substances and what can be done about it.

Autonomy: This is the principle of people having the rights to their own bodies. It is the decision of an individual person if they wish to use tobacco, even if they know the risks.”

183. One of the biggest problems to teeth is smoking. What do you know about this?

Smoking and other worldwide health issues are common talking points in an interview. You should be aware of what smoking does to the gums and teeth.

You are not expected to know everything about how smoking affects the teeth so it’s fine if you don’t mention every detail. 

Broadly, smoking results in greater severity, faster onset, and worsening progression of gum diseases.

“Smoking leads to staining of the teeth due to nicotine and tar in the tobacco. Smokers often have yellow or brown coloured teeth. Smoking also leads to gum disease and often produces more bacterial plaque which contributes to gum disease. The gums which become infected cannot heal well due to a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream. Gum disease is a very common cause of tooth loss. Smoking can also contribute to mouth cancer.”

184. What advice do you offer patients to help them adopt better Dental hygiene practices?

The interviewer is wanting to test your ability to communicate Dental knowledge and how you would do so respectfully towards the patient.

 Though the advice you would be giving out would tend to be the same, they are interested to know how you would tailor your advice to a specific patient.

“To help patients adopt better dental hygiene practices, it is important to tailor information for each individual patient. This can be done by carrying out a short consultation and examination prior to advice delivery. Some of the common dental hygiene practices to advise include brushing your teeth twice a day to get rid of bacteria and prevent decay, floss at least once a day to prevent cavities and gum disease, brush the tongue thoroughly, use a fluoride toothpaste and avoid frequent and excessive intake of sugar. It is also helpful to explain what will happen if these practices are not followed to maximise adherence as much as possible.”

185. Should dental implants be offered to all patients on the NHS?

A good place to start when answering a question such as this is to explain what a dental implant is to show you are aware of dental procedures.

Explaining whether they are currently offered on the NHS and the circumstances which they are, supports that you are taking an active interest in dentistry.

Make sure to identify the pros and cons of offering the implants on the NHS, giving a balanced answer.

“Dental implants are screws that are placed into the jawbone to replace a missing tooth root. Currently, the NHS offers dental implants under specific circumstances and to patients who have medical needs. Some of these criteria include patients who have lost teeth due to trauma, inherited or genetic conditions, or those who have missing teeth in one or both their jaws and are unable to wear dentures. There are many pros and cons of dental implants being offered to all patients on the NHS. Some pros include the idea that patients deserve the best healthcare and if this means receiving an expensive yet successful procedure, then this should be the case. Dental implant surgery also has a more than 90% success rate, and this means it is highly likely to improve a patient’s quality of life and the likelihood of them needing further dental appointments in the future. Some cons include the high expense of dental implants (around £2000), and due to the financial burden on the NHS, this simply cannot be offered to everyone. Another disadvantage is that the whole process of dental implantation takes quite a while. This is because it includes a  period of time between 6 months to a year to finalise the process.”

186. What is a crown and what are they made of?

Assessing your understanding on what should be basic dentistry knowledge.

Do not just explain what a crown is a what they are made of, make sure to explain why a patient would need one to show you truly understand patient care.

“A dental crown is a cap that is placed over a tooth. This is done because the tooth may be damaged from general wear and tear and tooth decay or to cover a dental implant. The crown that is placed over the damaged tooth aims to restore the tooth’s strength, shape, and size. Dental crowns can be made from all types of material including porcelain-fused metal, metal, and resin. There are also some complications that can occur with dental crowns which include them becoming loose, chipped, or completely falling off. Crown procedures are available on the NHS and can also be provided privately.”

187. How much do you think Dentistry impacts the patient’s wider quality of life?

The purpose behind this question is the idea of looking at the patient holistically, and how Dentistry can impact someone’s quality of life.

“Dentistry impacts the patient’s wider quality of life as receiving excellent dental care can improve the oral appearance and general health of an individual. This may further increase a patient’s confidence, self-esteem, general well-being, and social situations. Relating to a personal experience with temporomandibular disorder, receiving treatment for this has helped improve my everyday activities such as ease of eating and talking as well as pain. This is a prime example of how Dentistry can positively impact a patient’s quality of life. Looking at how Dentistry impacts a patient in this way, really enables a more holistic approach to a patient (focusing on the clinical, emotional, and psychological issues) and allows healthcare professionals ‘to really see, treat and empathise with the person behind the patient.”

188. What is Orthodontics?

This question again asks you to demonstrate your interest in Dentistry and your knowledge of the most common terms and forms of treatment.

Awareness or a general idea of such common terms is very important and is commonly tested on.

“Orthodontic treatment (usually with braces) is most often used to improve the appearance and alignment of crooked, protruding, or crowded teeth, and to correct problems with the bite of the teeth. The benefits of orthodontics can include correction of dental crowding and straightening of your teeth correction of your bite, so the front and back teeth meet evenly reducing the chance of damage to prominent teeth.”

189. Describe how you would accommodate a patient who is experiencing fear over a recommended procedure?

This is about demonstrating that you have good empathetic skills. You need to acknowledge the patients concerns and work with them to find a solution.

It is also a matter of resilience as you will likely receive push back from the patient.

“When a patient shows fear over a recommended procedure, the first thing to do is acknowledge their feelings of fear e.g., ‘Mrs Smith, I can see you are quite scared about the upcoming procedure’. It is then important to explore the patient’s ideas, concerns, and expectations. For example, explore why they may be feeling scared, what they are most concerned about in terms of the whole procedure, and what they expect moving forward. For example, if a patient mentions they are scared because of the pain they will feel, then you can specifically address this by reassuring the patient that they will receive anaesthetic as well as pain relief post-procedure. The most important thing is to empathise with the patient and their feelings. An example of where I have shown empathy is in my role as a tutor. One of my students was extremely nervous about their upcoming GCSE exam. I comforted the student, told them it was extremely normal to feel nervous and talked them through how the exam day will run. I then went on to show them all the amazing preparation they had done for their upcoming exam to reassure them that they were well prepared. On the day of the exam, I made sure to wish them all the best and offered if they would like to talk about it after they had completed the exam. This conversation made the student feel much better about their whole GCSE experience.”

190. How does alcohol affect the oral cavity?

This question is testing your scientific knowledge and lateral thinking.

The main impact is that some alcoholic drinks such as beer are acidic and can erode the enamel on teeth, which damages the tooth and can cause pain. It is a good idea to think of both physical and social factors when asked these types of questions, as a dentist needs both scientific and social skills.

“I would say that the main effect of alcohol on the oral cavity is the erosion of enamel by acidic alcoholic drinks such as beer. It is also interesting to consider the social factors of drinking alcohol, as it can make a person less coordinated and more likely to fall over, which could result in damage to the oral cavity.”

191. What is the difference between tooth erosion and tooth decay?

192. Can you tell me about your understanding of dental caries?

193. Why do some people underestimate the value of their teeth?

194. As well as undervaluing their teeth, many can’t access dental care. Why is this?

195. What do you know about gum disease?

196. What do you know about how diabetes affects the teeth?

197. What do you know about oral cancer?

198. Could you tell me a little more about root canal treatment?

199. What do you know about amalgam?

200. What are the differences between composite and amalgam?

201. What determines the survival of a tooth?

202. What can be done if a tooth has died?

203. Do you think the cultural attitude towards dentition has changed?

204. Give risk factors for oral cancer

205. Describe how you would tell a patient that their tooth needs to be extracted.

206. What is gingivitis?

207. Explain what causes bleeding gum?

208. Explain the terms Crown, Enamel, Root, and Dentin?

209. What type of anaesthesia would you use when removing a patient’s teeth?

210. What symptoms or conditions lead you to recommend an x-ray for a patient?


Though not a definitive list, this should go a long way to give you an idea of the types of questions you could be asked in a Dentistry interview.

Being able to showcase that you have read up on Dentistry and understand the profession as a whole is important, but what is probably even more important is selling yourself.

Showing that you have the interpersonal skills essential to working as a medical professional is what interviewers are truly looking for. Dentistry skills and knowledge can be taught but being empathetic and a good listener cannot be.

Hopefully this guide serves as inspiration of where you need to brush up your knowledge areas ahead of your interview.

Best of luck for your Dentistry interview! 🙂

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