Dental school interview questions aim to decipher who you are through your answers. Dental schools commonly use multiple mini interviews, so MMI prep is essential. It is important to be prepared for these questions and strategically formulate responses to portray the best version of yourself to the committee. In this article, I’ll explore the common dental school interview questions and how I prepared to answer them.

>>Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free initial consultation here <<

Article Contents
10 min read

Traditional Dental School Interview Questions Behavioral Dental School Interview Questions Ethical & Situational Dental School Interview Questions Technical and Policy Dental School Interview Questions Personal Dental School Interview Questions 10 Dental School Interview Questions and Answers FAQs

Traditional Dental School Interview Questions

What are your strengths and weaknesses?


This dental school interview question is almost always asked by the committee because they are seeking insight into your self-awareness, your ability to assess your own abilities objectively, and your willingness to discuss areas for improvement.

I was asked this question in my three dental school interviews and I remember talking about my openness to constructive criticism as being one of my biggest strengths, while discussing my difficulty with long hours of studying as a weakness. My advice for answering this question would be that when speaking about your strengths, you should focus on your positive attributes and qualities such as problem-solving skills or interpersonal skills. As for your weaknesses, the response should acknowledge areas where you have room for improvement but also demonstrate your willingness to learn and grow. For instance, I should have mentioned that although long studying hours are hard for me, I worked to develop a system that works for me by working out in between those hours. I recommend discussing weaknesses that are not critical to dentistry and maybe include how you are actively working to improve these weaknesses.

More Traditional Dental School Interview Questions

Behavioral Dental School Interview Questions

Can you discuss a time when you faced a challenge and how you overcame it?


This type of question is common in MMI interviews, which many dental schools use. It's designed for the committee to assess how candidates have behaved in the past or how they would hypothetically handle certain situations. They ultimately want to gauge your resilience and adaptability, as well as your problem-solving skills in order to be able to succeed in the real world of dentistry. Sometimes through these types of questions, they can also evaluate your emotional intelligence, commitment, self-awareness and growth. This is based on the belief that past behavior is a good predictor of the future behavior. Because dentistry is such a complete profession, having these qualities makes you a strong candidate.

For this question I prepared my answer using the STAR method. S: Situation, T: Task, A: Action, R: Result.

My response was about that one time in a job I had that I was assigned project manager leading a team to meet a tight deadline for a client. Midway through the project, we encountered unexpected delays due to technical issues with the software we were using. The deadline was fast approaching and our timeline was at risk. To address the challenge, I called a meeting to brainstorm solutions and we managed to prioritize tasks. We were able to reallocate resources, work overtime to fix the issues and maintained open communication with the client making sure they knew we were doing everything possible to achieve the goal. Thanks to our efforts, we were able to resolve and deliver the project on time. The client was extremely satisfied and impressed with my problem-solving skills and proactive approach. This experience taught me what I am capable of in difficult times and the importance of adaptability, communication, and teamwork in the workplace. As you can tell, the STAR method allowed me to provide a structured and comprehensive answer that demonstrated my ability to handle challenges and achieve positive outcomes.

More Behavioral Dental School Interview Questions

  • Tell me about a mistake you've made. How did you handle it and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Give evidence that you relate well with others by describing a specific instance.
  • Describe a situation where you worked with people from different backgrounds. How did you ensure effective collaboration?
  • Tell me about a time when you faced a significant challenge or obstacle. How did you overcome it?
  • Describe a time when you failed in a leadership situation. What did you learn from that experience?
  • Can you provide an example of a conflict you observed between a healthcare practitioner and a patient? What did you learn from that experience?
  • Tell me about a time you succeeded in achieving a goal. What strategies did you use to ensure your success?
  • Describe a situation where you had to educate someone on a complex topic. How did you approach it?
  • Describe an experience where you had to work as part of a team. What role did you play, and how did you contribute to the team’s success?

Ethical & Situational Dental School Interview Questions

Question 1:

How would you handle a situation where a patient is anxious or fearful about a dental procedure?


Scenario-based questions or ethical dilemmas are also common MMI questions, and are purposely asked to assess your ability to think critically, demonstrate empathy, and apply your knowledge and skills to real world situations. I recommend answering these questions with a thoughtful and empathic response that addresses the patient’s concerns while maintaining professionalism and providing high-quality care.

During this question in my interviews, I recalled seeing my mom in the dental chair freaking out about the needle, the drill, the instruments and just overall being a difficult patient. I remembered how the dentist acknowledged her feelings, letting her know it was normal to be anxious and reassuring her that he would try to make the experience as comfortable as possible for her. He explained the procedure in simple terms and reminded her she would not feel any pain once the anesthesia kicked in. He also offered her a stress ball to squeeze to alleviate the anxiety. She then allowed him to work, and he would constantly check to see if she was handling it well. His tactics worked well and he proceeded to complete the procedure in peace. That day I decided that I would be that type of dentist one day and I made it clear in my response.

I recommend mentioning your willingness to acknowledge the patient’s feelings and validating their concerns; this will demonstrate empathy. Then, I would mention the importance of taking time to listen to the concerns, answer any questions, while providing information and education about the procedure in an understandable manner. I would also discuss pain management options to the patient and then throughout the process aim to establish trust and rapport, creating a supportive environment. You can also finish by following up with the patient with a phone call just to let them know you are available. By providing a comprehensive and empathic response to this situational question, the committee will see your ability to address patient anxiety and provide high-quality care in a compassionate manner.

Question 2:

How do you plan to maintain professionalism and boundaries with patients?


These types of questions address your understanding of professional ethics, ability to establish appropriate boundaries, and your commitment to maintaining a respectful and professional relationship with patients.

I answered this particular question by stating that maintaining professionalism is a top priority for me, as sometimes I am too easy going. I mentioned the value of patient autonomy and involving patients in the decision-making process in order to keep things clear and avoid misunderstandings. Remember you want to avoid behaviors that could compromise patient confidentiality. I also mentioned that with proper communication, adhering to HIPAA regulations and other legal and ethical guidelines, I would demonstrate professionalism and devotion to ethical behavior. Information in dentistry is always evolving, so I also stated that it was critical to me to stay updated on current best practices and ethical guidelines, showing my commitment to providing quality care while maintaining professionalism. Honesty and clarity go a long way with these types of questions.

Technical Dental School Interview Questions

How would you diagnose and treat a patient with a particular dental condition (e.g., periodontal disease or tooth decay)?


This question is directly related to what you know of dental diagnosis and treatment protocols, as well as your ability to apply that knowledge to a real-world scenario. It also evaluates your communication skills, since sometimes giving bad news is not easy. When asked this question, I tried to remember that we need to keep a positive attitude confronting difficult diagnoses. The committee isn't expecting you to know all the details of the diagnosis, but rather how you would break down information to the patient.

Explain the diagnosis, the signs and symptoms of the disease, what habits (or lack of) led to the development of the disease, and discuss and show through x-rays, mirror, what the disease looks like. This will provide an informative discussion that creates trust for the treatment planning. Then I spoke about how I would present the possible treatment plans and options, recommending the best outcomes possible within the status of the disease. I would then emphasize the importance of patient education and discuss long-term management and maintenance of the patient’s oral health following treatment. This includes oral hygiene practices, regular dental check-ups, etc. Again, my recommendation would be to focus on how you would like to be treated as a patient, and demonstrate that empathy to be the provider you wish you had.

These questions can be related to MMI policy questions and other questions about dentistry as a field, so be prepared!

More Dental School Interview Questions About the Field

  • How would you describe the relationship between science and dentistry?
  • What will be the most challenging part of your dental training and career?
  • What problems do you predict dentistry will face in the next 10 years?
  • What technological advancements are you most looking forward to in dentistry?
  • What do you know about managed care?
  • How should the government get involved with health care?
  • What current event in dentistry have you been following?

Personal Dental School Interview Questions

How do you plan to balance the demands of dental school with other commitments?


This question is evaluating time management skills, organizational abilities, and priorities. When answering, you want to demonstrate your awareness of the demands of dental school and your commitment to managing time effectively to balance those demands with other responsibilities.

I personally answered this question by mentioning my agenda where I broke down my weekly schedule, to-do lists, priorities, and organizing the tasks into manageable steps. I informed them that my life goal was to graduate dental school, and so it would always be my top priority to complete the coursework and clinical responsibilities. However, I also mentioned the importance of my yoga practice, family time, and outdoor activities that also do me well. This way they can have a better picture of who I am as a person. I mentioned that, luckily, one of my strengths include flexibility and adaptability in managing competing demands, so whenever I would have to readjust my schedule, I would.

I recommend you do the same, as this is a valuable attribute to have as a candidate. I also recommend mentioning that if you were to find yourself needing help in managing your time, you would seek help. I remember telling the committee that when I am feeling overwhelmed I made sure to ask for the right resources to handle all the cards in my hand at that time. The committee displayed comfort and satisfaction in knowing that I had the maturity to know when to ask for help.

More Personal Dental School Interview Questions

  • What is the most rewarding experience of your life?
  • Do you have any particular population you would like to work with?
  • What are three things you want to change about yourself?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • What is your biggest regret?
  • What was your first trip to the dentist like?
  • What excites you the most about dentistry?
  • Describe a situation in which you felt like a fish out of water.
  • What is your most important experience that did not involve dentistry or academics?
  • What motivates you to excel?

Is a dental school advisor right for you? Here's how one can help:

10 Dental School Interview Questions and Answers

Dental School Interview Question #1

Prompt: What qualities are most important in a dentist?

Question #1 Expert Answer

Dental School Interview Question #2

Prompt: Describe any inconsistencies or weaknesses in your record or application.

Question #2 Expert Answer

Dental School Interview Question #3

Prompt: How have you overcome a personal conflict?

Question #3 Expert Answer

Dental School Interview Question #4

Prompt: What field of dentistry do you prefer?

 Question #4 Expert Answer

Dental School Interview Question #5

Prompt: Why have you picked dentistry?

 Question #5 Expert Answer

Dental School Interview Question #6

Prompt: How did you choose your major?

 Question #6 Expert Answer

Dental School Interview Question #7

Prompt: What do you read for fun?

 Question #7 Expert Answer

Dental School Interview Question #8

Prompt: What steps have you taken to find out more about dentistry as a career?

 Question #8 Expert Answer

Dental School Interview Question #9

Prompt: How do you study/prepare for exams?

 Question #9 Expert Answer

Dental School Interview Question #10

Prompt: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Question #10 Expert Answer


1. What is one of the most common dental school interview question?

There are many common dental school interview questions, but perhaps the most common would be “tell me about yourself” or “why dentistry?” The commonality of questions in some sense depends on the interview format; for example, different types of MMI questions you need to know might be different from ones you would receive in a panel interview.

2. How should I prepare for a dental school interview?

The best way for you to prepare is to conduct mock interviews with a peer, ideally a professional or expert. You want to simulate the interview environment as closely as possible so you can learn to perform in the conditions of the actual interview. Review common questions, including MMI practice interview questions that are less common so you’re unlikely to be caught off guard.

3. What format are dental interviews conducted in?

There are four different type of interview formats that you need to consider: one-on-one, multiple mini interview (MMI), panel interviews, and group interviews. The most common format is one-on-one, but you should still visit the website of the institution whose interview you’re preparing for so you know what to expect and how to prepare. Some regions might be more likely to use a certain format; for example, dental schools in Canada commonly use panel interviews.

4. How long are dental school interviews?

You can expect most interviews to be around 20−30 minutes, but this will vary by school. Some schools will host interviews over several days, while others incorporate a variety of formats over the course of a single day.

5. How big are class sizes for most dental programs?

Class sizes are generally between 50 and 100 students, but again, this will vary by institution and class size isn’t necessarily a measure of how likely you are to get accepted if you receive an interview request. For example, the University of Texas School of Dentistry had 1617 applicants, 279 of which were interviewed. Of applicants who were interviewed, 106 were accepted. You will need to review dental school acceptance rates to gauge competitiveness, in addition to proportion of interviewees who were accepted in a given year.

6. What do I do if I don’t know the answer?

When you don’t have an answer prepared, the best you can do is to remain calm. Try to identify the type of question: is it personal, situational, ethical, policy-based, or quirk? Use the answer strategies you practiced during your mock interviews.

7. Will I have a chance to meet faculty members after the interview?

Some schools will allot time for applicants who were interviewed to meet faculty members and ask questions. You should find out who is expected to be there so you can plan to ask specific questions, perhaps about their research if you’re interested in that.

8. What do I do if I’m struggling to prepare and I lack confidence?

Use a dental school interview preparation service! It’s okay if you’re struggling; reach out to someone who can help you, who knows what it takes to prepare for this admissions procedure, which is understandably stressful for many. You can also look at MMI preparation services for interviews that are conducted in this format.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

Want more free tips? Subscribe to our channels for more free and useful content!




Apple Podcasts