So, you’ve finished your dental assistant training program at Risio, applied for jobs, and now you’re finally being called in for an interview. Congratulations! You’ve developed the skills and knowledge to succeed in the role—all you need to do now is show the interviewer what a great candidate you are.

Interviews can feel like a lot of pressure, but a little preparation can go a long way. To that end, our team of experienced professionals at Risio has put together a list of common dental assistant interview questions and advice on how to answer each one.

Dental assistant and dentist working together in clinical setting during procedure

Question 1: Clinical Skills & Experience

Example: “Can you describe your experience with dental procedures and equipment?”

This question isn’t just about what you’ve learned or what you’ve done—it also helps interviewers see what parts of your skillset you’re most proud of and comfortable discussing. Here are some tips for answering:

  • Start by discussing your training and the qualifications it has provided. This is a great time to mention that you’ve completed Risio’s Dental Assisting Diploma Program.
  • Discuss the range of dental procedures you are proficient in, such as x-rays, impressions, or sterilization techniques.
  • Discuss any specialized equipment or experiences from your experience working or volunteering in a real-world dental practice (all Risio students are required to complete 14 hours per week to satisfy the Work Integrated Learning requirement for our diploma program).

Question 2: Patient Interaction

Example: “How would you handle a nervous or difficult patient?”

This is about seeing how you handle pressure and helps the interviewer understand how you might handle diverse patient needs. Emphasize your communication skills and empathy here.

  • Describe specific strategies you use to calm nervous patients, such as explaining procedures step-by-step.
  • Share examples of how you have handled difficult interactions and turned them into positive experiences.
  • Emphasize the importance of building trust and rapport with patients to improve their clinical experience.
  • Discuss feedback or compliments you’ve received from patients or supervisors regarding your patient interaction skills.

Learn More:

Dental assistant at work with mask and safety glasses

Question 3: Teamwork & Collaboration

Example: “Can you provide an example of how you’ve worked effectively as part of a dental team?”

This is an opportunity to demonstrate how you work cohesively with others. Share examples that reflect your teamwork skills, flexibility, and contribution to group success.

  • Provide an example of how you’ve supported or collaborated with dentists and other staff members during your work or volunteer experience.
  • Mention any team projects or initiatives you have been a part of during your training.
  • Discuss how you handle conflicts or challenges within the team.

Example Answer

“Teamwork is everything in a dental office. A while back, we decided to shake up our scheduling system to cut down on wait times. I worked closely with the front desk and our hygienists to make sure everyone knew how it would work. It was a big success—patients were happier because they weren’t waiting as long, and we were able to work more smoothly as a team.”

Question 4: Problem-Solving Skills

Example: “Describe a challenging situation in a dental setting and how you resolved it.”

This reflects your ability to think on your feet and find solutions to time-sensitive problems. Discuss specific instances where you identified problems, took initiative, and implemented solutions.

  • Describe a scenario where you resolved a critical issue that could have impacted patient care or clinic operations.
  • Share how you approach unexpected challenges and the steps you take to resolve them efficiently.
  • Highlight any innovative or creative solutions you’ve implemented that improved the clinic’s processes.

Question 5: Knowledge of Dental Health & Hygiene

Example: “How would you explain the importance of oral hygiene to a patient?”

Illustrate your depth of knowledge in dental health practices and your ability to educate patients. This shows your commitment to patient health and preventative care.

  • Explain your communication style and how you relate to others. This can help the interviewer see how you might make complex information clear to patients about oral hygiene practices.
  • Share insights into how effective patient education has led to improved health outcomes in a work or volunteer setting.
  • Highlight any additional courses or certifications you have taken related to dental health education. If you’ve taken Risio’s Dental Aide Program, this is a great opportunity to mention how it’s provided you with a solid foundation for clinical basics.

Learn More:

Dental assistant checking technology before procedure

Question 6: Adaptability & Learning

Example: “How do you stay updated with dental assisting technologies and best practices?”

This question lets you showcase your commitment to continuous learning so that you can continue bringing value to any practice that hires you.

  • Discuss the professional network you’ve built through Risio, and how it helps you stay informed about the latest dental technologies and practices.
  • Share examples of new techniques or tools you have learned and applied in a clinical setting.
  • Highlight your adaptability in adjusting to new procedures or changes in clinic protocols.
  • Discuss the importance of professional growth and how it has impacted your career as a dental assistant.

Question 7: Time Management & Efficiency

Example: “How do you prioritize tasks during a busy day in the clinic?”

Demonstrate your organizational skills and ability to handle a high workload efficiently. This is crucial in fast-paced dental environments.

  • Describe how you organize your daily tasks to ensure efficiency and prioritize patient care.
  • Share specific techniques or tools you use to manage time effectively in the clinic.
  • Discuss an instance where your time management skills directly contributed to handling an unexpectedly busy day.

Question 8: Career Goals & Motivation

Example: “Where do you see yourself in five years in the field of dentistry?”

Articulate your long-term professional goals and motivations within dentistry. This helps the interviewer gauge your commitment to the field and potential for future growth.

  • Share your career aspirations within the dental field and the steps you are taking to achieve them. For example, are you training to develop orthodontic skills? Planning to become a dental administrator?
  • Discuss how your current job application aligns with your long-term goals. How will working at this job motivate or empower you to succeed?
  • Highlight the aspects of dentistry that motivate you the most and how they influence your career path. This shows your passion for the work and lets interviewers know what tasks you might excel at if hired.
Dental assistant smiling behind mask and glasses

Make Your Next Career Move with Risio

Getting a job as a dental assistant is easier when you have the right training—and growing in your career depends on upskilling and maintaining your professional network. At Risio, we provide opportunities for you to do it all.

Learn more about Risio’s programs here—including our Dental Assisting Diploma Program, Ortho Program, and Dental Aide Program. No matter what stage you’re at in your career, we can provide you with the skills, experience, and connections you need to walk into any interview with confidence and succeed in your role once you land the job.