Sample Dental Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

Here’s how to brush up before a dental assistant interview.

Sample Dental Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

Ace your dental assistant interview questions.

Dental offices wouldn't be able to function without organized, reliable dental assistants. That's why when you apply for a dental assistant job, you may be invited to a dental assistant working interview where you'll demonstrate your skills in addition to answering standard dental assistant interview questions.

We can't show you how to prepare tools for an extraction, but we can help you to prepare strong responses to common dental interview questions. The first thing to know is that dental assistant interviews include a mix of practical and behavioral questions. Responding with a story can demonstrate your experience and knowledge. And if you're a new graduate with no experience, you can talk about what you would do in that situation. Ready to get started? Take a look at these sample dental assistant interview questions and answers.

Dental Assistant Interview Questions

  1. Why Did You Become a Dental Assistant?
  2. Tell Me About Your Experience as a Dental Assistant.
  3. Have You Worked With Dental Office Software?
  4. How Do You Feel About Handling Office Administration Tasks?
  5. How Do You Work With a Patient Who Is Nervous, Angry, or Uncooperative?
  6. What Is Your Experience With Radiology?
  7. Why Do You Want to Work for This Practice?

Question #1: Why Did You Become a Dental Assistant?

A dental assistant interfaces with patients and works as a team with coworkers, so it's important to the dentist that you are enthusiastic, dependable, and committed to your profession. The hiring manager may also ask you similar dental assistant interview questions like, "What is your favorite thing about dental assisting?"

  • Tell a story about how you became interested in dental assisting.
  • Mention role-specific tasks you enjoy.
  • Show your enthusiasm.

How You Could Answer

"My family dental assistant always made me feel welcome, even when I was a child. In my junior year, we had a career project where the assignment was to interview someone with an interesting job. Amy, the dental assistant at Dr. Smith's office, spent an hour telling me how much she loved her job, the classes she took, and working with patients and the office team. At that moment, I thought, 'This could be my career!'"

Question #2: Tell Me About Your Experience as a Dental Assistant.

Even though the dentist has read your resume, they want to hear your enthusiasm when describing your experience:

  • If you have dental assisting experience, talk about what you did in the role, the type of practice it was, and what you liked.
  • If this is your first job as a dental assistant, focus on how your education prepared you for this job and talk about any internships or practical labs you've had.
  • You can also mention previous jobs where you interfaced with customers or worked in a team.

How You Could Answer

For experienced DAs: "I have been a dental assistant since I finished my training five years ago. The last practice I worked for specialized in pediatric dentistry. I liked helping kids feel comfortable by taking time to talk with them and tell them what to expect from the dentist. I also enjoyed working with the newest equipment the practice used."

For new DAs: "I earned my dental assisting certificate from Knoxville Community College, where I had a 3.8 GPA. I took an elective class in medical coding there. Along with shadowing a dental assistant for four weeks, I worked as an intern for a large practice where I took X-Rays, worked chairside with the dentists, entered information into the practice management software, and answered phones."

Question #3: Have You Worked With Dental Office Software?

Dental assistant interview questions about software reveal if you are familiar with the tools the practice uses or if you will need training:

  • List the dental-focused software you've used. Include appointment software, billing and coding systems, and electronic health record processing.
  • Mention non-dental office programs you've used, especially Microsoft Office software.
  • Let the interviewer know you're familiar with other software and how much you would like the opportunity to work with it.

How You Could Answer

"I've had experience with Dentrix and Denticon for Medicare and Medicaid ICD-10 coding. I've also used Microsoft Office programs, including Word and Excel, since high school. I want to expand my ability to do coding and billing for insurance with athenahealth."

Question #4: How Do You Feel About Handling Office Administration Tasks?

Many dental offices don't have dedicated office staff, so their dental assistants do general administrative tasks like making and confirming appointments, organizing insurance claims, answering phones, and filing. These are among the skills that can boost your income and responsibilities:

  • Let the dentist know you understand this is part of the job.
  • Talk about the opportunity to get to know the administrative side of the practice.
  • Mention past administrative duties you've had within a dental office or elsewhere.

How You Could Answer

"Your job posting mentioned admin work being part of the job. I see this as another way to get to know the operations side of the practice and work with patients. I set up a filing system for my last employer and was responsible for the reception desk and phones two half-days a week."

Question #5: How Do You Work With a Patient Who Is Nervous, Angry, or Uncooperative?

By asking this question, the interviewer wants to know whether you have good communication skills and can remain calm and professional under pressure. Your response will also show your ability to empathize and quickly solve a problem. If you haven't had this kind of experience, talk about a potential scenario and how you would respond:

  • Do not criticize the patient, your coworkers, or the practice.
  • Emphasize the importance of remaining calm.
  • Confirm you can empathize with patients while knowing the importance of completing needed dental procedures.

How You Could Answer

"Patients can have a variety of emotions when it comes to a dentist visit. They may be scared, in which case I make sure that I answer all their questions and assure them we'll do everything to keep them comfortable. An uncooperative patient may soften up if they understand what will happen if they don't have a vital procedure. I like to use visuals to show them negative outcomes. Angry patients need me to remain calm, so their response doesn't escalate. I've found it's effective to escort them to an empty conference room with the dentist, so they can explain exactly why they're upset and we can work to resolve the conflict."

Question #6: What Is Your Experience With Radiology?

You may be asked a series of dental assistant interview questions about your training and experience in procedures, including questions about exam room and instrument prep, taking an alginate impression, and working with radiological tasks.

  • Confirm you understand common dental techniques, tools, and supplies.
  • Show you understand the safety and protocol for each procedure.
  • Point out any classes or certifications you have in each procedure.

How You Could Answer

"I am certified in radiation health and safety by the Dental Assisting National Board. I took classes and worked with dynamic digital radiography, and I used stationary X-ray equipment in my last job. I always take time to ask the patient all the required questions before beginning the procedures and am always very accurate when positioning equipment to get the best images."

Question #7: Why Do You Want to Work for This Practice?

Like other dental assistant interview questions, this one allows the dentist to gauge your enthusiasm. It also highlights your resourcefulness and attention to detail by demonstrating what you know about the practice:

  • Thoroughly research the practice before your interview. Note a good Google rating or online review, comment on their modern equipment, office motto, or philosophy. Bonus points if you know someone who is a patient and can give you a glowing recommendation.
  • Comment on how pleasing or comfortable you find the office or how you've enjoyed the interview.
  • Do not mention pay or benefits or that the commute is a short drive for you.

How You Could Answer

"I saw online that your practice was named one of the 10 best practices in all of Tennessee. Your exam rooms look very comfortable and welcoming, and I see you have one of the Owandy I-Max 3D wall units that just came out. I would be proud to work with such a progressive dental practice."

Are You Ready for an Interview That Makes You Smile?

Be sure to practice your answers to these dental assistant interview questions to sail through your interview with ease. Then, complete your Monster profile so we can fill your need to get job alerts and career advice from our experts.