Dental University interview questions and answers.

University admission panels will want to feel that you do have a strong passion for becoming a dentist and you can convey or prove to them that this is indeed the case. Dentistry is a very diverse profession which uses art and science to make patients lives better. It will require your team working skills, communication processes and logical deduction. The admission panel themselves will be clinicians and will be extremely passionate about what they do. The interview process can be considered as the second stage of the selection process. By attending an interview, you will have already shown the university that you have the adequate grades, your personal statement looks good and you have a high enough UCAT score that meet their requirements or their cut off point. Overall, the admissions panel will be closely scrutinizing and seeing your communication skills, your enthusiasm and of course your knowledge including the insight into dentistry of becoming a dentist.

Dentistry Interview university preparation question: Tell us why you want to become a dentist?

We come across so many students who either shy away from this question in their preparation or surprisingly have not even given it much thought. It is astonishing to hear that this is the case when students initially come to us for advice and interview coaching tutoring. But this is a question that tells them, the interviewers, the reason why you are sitting in the chair in front of them and trying to persuade them to offer you a place at the university. There are a number of proven ways in which you can answer this question. You can talk about this answer from a broad angle point of view or using a unique example. Therefore, to answer the question in a broader term, you will need to know about how dental conditions impact a patient’s general health and conversely how dental diseases can affect their overall health. To give you an idea, let’s look at diabetes in relation to oral health. Although periodontal diseases cannot cause diabetes, diabetes can make a patient’s existing periodontal disease worse and make treatment less successful. It has also been found that periodontal disease can make it more difficult to control blood sugar. There is therefore a two-way interaction taking place between an oral condition and a systemic disease. Dentists are in a position to advise on an oral condition which is affecting general health but they also have the knowledge to understand how a systemic disease affects oral health. Another aspect you can also talk about are the skills necessary to become a dentist and how you have those skills required. These skills will be around communication, being empathetic, having leadership qualities, having an interest in human biology and of course being able to work in a team.  Finally, you can focus on the specific aspects of becoming a dentist such as aesthetics, the deviating of pain and restoring function.

Questions which demonstrate that you have the insight into dentistry.

When students come to us initially for interview preparation and tutoring sessions for dentistry, we are always surprised as to how little actually they have gained from their work experience or general reading into dentistry. For instance, they know very little about the specific diseases that being a dentist you will be treating. These diseases include dental caries, periodontal disease, occlusal issues and diagnosing oral cancer. Students also are often totally unaware of the roles of various team members within a dental practice such as the dental hygienist, dental therapist, practice manager and practice nurse. During our dental interview preparation courses, we make students aware of the various facets of dentistry which you may be asked to demonstrate during your interviews. The various facets include conservative dentistry, endodontics, periodontics, oral surgery, paedodontics, Orthodontics, oral medicine, implantology, fixed prosthodontics and removable prosthodontics.  In addition students should know the common terms used in dentistry such as TMJ, occlusion, composite, gingivitis etc etc. You will rigorously get tested on your work experience if you attend an interview with The Manchester Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health (interview type MMI) and with The School of Dental Sciences,  University of Newcastle  (interview type TRADITIONAL.)

At Sheffield Dental School, these questions were asked:

“How can the Sugar Tax tackle dental disease?”

In order to answer this question, you will need to know the reason why the sugar drinks industry levy came about. In particular, when was it introduced and the evidence for its effectiveness. You will also need to be aware of the drawbacks and any evidence which suggests the levy on its own is not enough or even ineffective. It will be important for you to have a good overall view on this topic and then give a summation of your own opinion at the end. University Expert have made a separate sheet on the Sugar Tax in our tips section. Birmingham School of Dentistry (interview type MMI) were also asking questions on Sugar taxations.

“What are your weaknesses?”

Everyone can talk about the various strengths such as being patient, hard-working and enthusiastic but they are less inclined to talk about their weaknesses. In order to answer this question, you can talk about a specific incident that has occurred which highlighted a particular weakness within yourself. Another way to approach it is to mention it as a general trait within you. With both of the above scenarios, you will give an example and importantly what you did once you recognised your limitation. It is vitally important that you think about this possible question coming up because you do not want to shoot yourself in the foot by mentioning a trait of yours which is absolutely vital and necessary in becoming a dentist. You do not want to be talking about the fact that you don’t work well as part of a team, you do not want to enter a conversation about your lack of manual dexterity because you are applying for a profession which is practically based or where communication is paramount.  Otherwise, if you do get asked this question, you should feel extremely comfortable introducing a good answer.

“Why have you chosen this particular University?”

This should be an easy question to answer and often comes up as an icebreaker to get you going. When you are answering this particular question, you should be knowledgeable about the information that the dental school presents on the website. In particular, look at the brochure and what aspects do they particularly emphasise with the dental school. Also, look up any particular research that the dental school hones in on. This will definitely impress them and last year, one of our students mentioned about the work that the QMUL  London – Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry Queen Mary University of London dental schools are doing on oral carcinoma which we obviously prepped him on and his interviewer was extremely impressed. Before you go in for your interview, you should already have done research on the particular teaching style and the structure of the dental teaching curriculum. You can of course also mention the wider role of a particular university in providing a good lifestyle for students such as the town or area where the university is. In addition, you can mention the facilities available to students in the way of pastoral care and student union activities. Although the evidence is empirical, there was a feeling that being asked this question meant the panel were likely to consider you favourable at Queen’s University Belfast School of Dentistry ( interview type MMI.)

“How do the general public perceive dentists in this country?”

 In order to answer this question which turned up at The Manchester Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health interviews, it is important to keep it simple and positive. You could begin by answering this question from your own experience of going to the dentist. In a wider area, you can talk about how 50% of the population does not go regularly to the dentist and the reasons why this is so. You should then finish the answer by providing suggestions to improve this situation.

“What interests you the most about dentistry?”

Before you think about answering this particular question, it is important to realise that the interviewer will usually have made dentistry a part of their life and that’s why they are so passionate about the profession. They will want to know if you have the same enthusiasm and the qualities. But then, dentistry will be their hobby rather than a mundane nine-to-five job. They will want the same passion and vigour from you in your answer. So when they ask you this question, you will have to use some of the skills that you have and put them across to them. You will need to have a good reason why you chose dentistry such as the alleviation of pain, improving patients smiles and genuine really making a difference to patients. Bristol Dental School and Cardiff Dental School expect that you have knowledge on recent dental advances. At this conjecture, you can mention dental papers or journals you have read and what was interesting for you.

“Which Dental publications or Journals have you read?”

This question in itself assumes that you already will be familiar with dental literature, articles or journals. It is popular at the London – King’s College, Faculty of Dentistry (interview type MMI.) If you look at your interviewers in a blank manner, they would be correct in assuming that you have not done your research properly and therefore you are lacking in knowledge and insight into dentistry. Some of the publications that you could mention are the British Dental journal, the Probe, Dentistry magazine, the Dentist and Private Dentistry. You should be ready to talk about an interesting topic that you have read in one of these journals. If you can also quote some scientific papers or research then they will be even more impressed with your answer. It is not uncommon to get asked about current news items so be ready.

“What has been your most important achievement to date?”

When you are asked this question, they are not that interested as to whether you came top of your county in a particular sport, but more about where you were at a particular point and where you got to further down the line. The interview panel will want to know how you got from A to B and what skills you used during the process. Don’t forget to mention why this particular goal was so important to you. In addition, you will need to mention any new skills that you had to acquire on the way to your goal and naturally that would have been with certain setbacks. How did you cope with these setbacks and how did they make you an improved person eventually. Then you can tell them how you are going to progress further.  If you are having difficulty in answering this particular question, do you give us a ring and we can guide you further.

Summary of dental interview tips and techniques

Do start your interview preparation early. At the very least, start your interview preparation as soon as your UCAS application has been submitted. Make sure you have a structured syllabus printed out even before this point in time so that you eventually will have all the bases covered. If you know that you have all the bases covered, it will give you confidence when you go into the interview. At some point also, find out exactly how one dental school that you have replied to differs from the other dental schools that you are also applying to. Finally, ask questions that you are unsure of: ask other dentists, other students who have been through the process, school tutors and experts like us of course.

Dentistry interview questions on the Sugar Tax

Here is a brief guide on how to answer questions on the Sugar Tax if asked at your dental interview. Firstly, the proper name for the Sugar Tax is the Drinks Industry Sugar Levy on sugar-sweetened beverages. If possible in your interview, you should mention the drinks industry sugar levy rather than the word Sugar Tax. It was introduced on the 16th of March 2016 in a surprise fashion by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer. Government advisers told the government that there is no place for carbonated drinks in a healthy diet as in addition these carbonated drinks contribute to dental and general health problems. This is proven. When you get asked the questions on the Sugar Tax, you need to know that this is a banded volumetric tax of added sugar into carbonated drinks. It may also interact with the Common Agricultural policy and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This sugar Levy was introduced to incentivise soft drinks companies to reduce the amount of sugar into their drinks or to become zero sugar. However opponents quite rightly stated that the drinks industry is only a part of the overall obesity problem in the UK. Interestingly, in Mexico where this was introduced some time previously, the evidence is that the demand in sugary drinks does reduce but the actual exact effect on obesity and tooth decay is not proven. The Sugar Tax is a banding system and extra tax is paid according to the amount of sugar in the actual drink itself. There are three bandings for this. If a soft drink contains less than 5 grams per 100 ml of sugar, then the drinks company does not pay any extra tax on this. For soft drinks containing between 5 to 8 g of sugar per 100ml then the extra tax payable is equivalent to the basic rate of tax. In the highest category, if a drink contains more than 8 grams per 100ml then this is in the category of the high tax rate.  The idea therefore is that either the drinks manufacturers will increase the prices to reflect the extra tax starting pay hence dis-incentivizing the consumer to buy these products or the drinks industry will reduce the amount of sugar in the drinks in order to pay less tax on them.

Although this ruling was introduced in 2016, the actual starting date for this did not occur until 2018 i.e. 2 years later. This was partly due to the drinks industry having talks with the government and them saying that they required more time to alter their products accordingly. However, it is no secret that sugar in carbonated drinks reaps huge profits for these companies as sugar is cheap; it has a large shelf life, is easy to market and increasingly used in sports drinks.  A prominent member of the 1st large soft drinks manufacturers openly stated that sugar is the “new tobacco” as everyone is aware of the pounding that western governments are giving to the tobacco industry. Students should be aware of how the government came to these three bandings of the Sugar Tax. It was influenced by the UK Front Of Pack Nutrition labelling which refers to pre-packed products sold through reflected retail outlets. This is the so-called traffic light system whereby consumers engage whether a product is healthy or not according to the amount of certain nutrients. This traffic light system does have an Upper Green threshold of 2.5 g per 100mg of low sugar foods to qualify. In this regard, the 5 g per 100ml that was proposed in the Levy is half of the amount stipulated as the UK front of pack nutrition and traffic light system for Foods so the drinks industry will not be too worried about its implications.

Sugar Tax and Dental Health

Research papers show that once sucrose solution of 2.5% or more is introduced into the oral cavity, dental plaque pH will drop below the critical level of 5.5 and demineralization of enamel occurs. Let’s now see how the 2.5% sucrose solution in studies correlates to the Sugar Tax banding amounts. Experts were surprised to learn that 5 g per 100 ml or 50g per litre is equivalent to 12 teaspoonfuls of sugar in a drink. 12 teaspoons of sugar is equivalent to 50 g of sugar. The problem here is that although this is tax-exempt but it will cause tooth decay or dental caries. In this regard, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer shot himself in the foot in saying that this Levy will reduce dental caries accordingly. However, he was mainly concerned about the obesity aspect of high sugar drinks.

(The 5g per 100ml of sugar content is equivalent to 4.7% of sugar. 8 g per 100ml is equivalent to 7.4% of sugar)

Sugar frequency consumption

 The other problem with this soft drinks Levy is that it does not take into account frequency of sugar consumption. Dentists know that as well as the amount of sugar, it is the frequency of sugar consumptions that patients need to be aware of. Just to illustrate a simple example, you can drink a can of coke all in one go and that only counts as one dental caries attack in that one day. However, if you have a can of soft drink at your desk and sip it at regular intervals during the next 12 hours, this one can now counts as many, many attacks on your teeth. So if you have consumed the same amount of sugar over a day, one style of drinking will not have that much effect  to your teeth but the other style of drinking will be devastating. Another major problem with the soft drinks Levy is that the sugar is only part of a problem in oral health because carbonated drinks are also acidic even when there is no sugar in them.  The acid leads to dental erosion which is extremely common in children even without the sugar. Dental erosion causes tooth surface to be lost contributing to caries susceptibility, decreased aesthetics and tooth sensitivity.

 Let’s now look at the sugar Levy in terms of obesity. We have already stated that 12 teaspoons full of sugar are present in a litre of carbonated drink which is roughly 3 teaspoons full of sugar in a cup of tea. The problem here is that once you start to have a high level of sugar in your soft drinks, this naturally also leads to an addiction to a general diet with high sugar content. Sugar is an addictive substance shown by many studies worldwide.

 The Carbohydrates and Health report by the scientific advisory Committee on nutrition show that sugar intakes are associated with an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes concurrent with increased body mass index in children and teenagers. The cost of obesity and type 2 diabetes to the NHS is huge.

Popular drinks such as regular Coca-Cola have 10 grams of sugar per 100ml and a drink such as Fanta will also have around the same amount of sugar at 10 g per 100ml. However, manufacturers reduce the sugar in some countries so even if the exact brand is the same, it depends on which country it is being manufactured in and we will discuss this. Many experts believe that the government should have produced a volumetric tax starting from a very low level than the 5g/100 ml.

Sugar price  fluctuations

One factor that the government did not consider is that the price of sugar is continually being reduced throughout the EU. The EU common agricultural policy determines to a large extent the price and availability of sugar. This means that when more sugar is available, the EU will reduce the sugar price. The other side of the equation is that outside of Europe, instead of using sucrose, the manufacturers use high fructose corn syrup as a means of sweetening food and drinks.  The price of high fructose corn syrup is now at a stage where it can compete with European sugar, so when the price reduces, the soft drinks industry will not even bat an eyelid with the Sugar Tax proposals.  This is also closely related to the transatlantic trade and Investment partnership. This is essentially a trade agreement between the European Union and the United States with the aim of increasing trade and economic growth between the two. Within this is the investor-state dispute settlement system which allows a company to raise concerns if it feels that a government has contributed to the initial trade agreement . This is to stop the government influencing profits accordingly. However, it counteracted the drinks industry sugar Levy in a negative way. At your dental University interview, you may be asked for your overall view on the Sugar Tax. You should quite rightly say that you welcome a levy on sugary beverages although it is not perfect. It will disincentivize consumers from buying high sugary drinks and this will have beneficial effect in reducing obesity, type 2 diabetes and dental decay. However, the policy needs further refinement in order to be made more effective at reducing obesity and dental caries. For instance, more labelling like tobacco packets have and a quantitive tax rather than a banded one. As always, consumers need to be also educated through prevention advice. Dentists are the ideal professions to educate their patients accordingly.

More dental interview questions and answers

Here is a selection of common interview questions that have been used by UK dental universities in order to select their applicants. Some of these questions occur more frequently than others however it is useful to be aware of all questions that can be asked. These questions may occur in the traditional type of dental University interview or the MMI type. With each type of question, before you answer you should try to get what the underlying theme is alluding to and the exact knowledge that is being tested by the interview selection panel.

Question 1

A 23-year-old patient attends your NHS dental practice and after you have examined them, you tell him that everything is fine and there are no problems with his oral health. However, just before he gets out of the chair he suddenly mentions that he is concerned about the slight discoloration of his upper right front tooth which is also slightly out of line. He would like to know if you could treat this on the NHS. (This occurred in Liverpool School of Dentistry interview type MMI) and a similar question at University of Dundee Dental School (interview type MMI.)

Answer 1

This is a fairly common question that occurs in all the various guises. The university is looking to see if you are aware of NHS guidelines with respect to cosmetic NHS dental treatment. They have specifically mentioned that he is 23 years of age as the guidelines for orthodontic treatment depend on the age of eligibility. This is also a case where a patient may not be expecting the answer that you are about to give and how you deal with this as the patient would not be entitled to NHS orthodontic alignment nor is purely cosmetic dentistry within the remit of NHS treatment.  It is a bit of a case where you have to deliver bad news to a patient or someone. As part of answering this question you may want to touch very briefly on conditions that may cause the patient’s tooth to be discoloured and how modern dentistry can provide solutions to this as well as to correct alignment.

Question 2

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?

Answer 2

When you answer this particular question, you will need to initially show the panel why manual dexterity is important after you have given them the definition of course. The skills of manual dexterity can be demonstrated to them as in a hobby that you routinely carry out such as origami, calligraphy, henna artistry or model making. If you cannot do this, you can still show them the time when your manual dexterity came into importance. A recent student was invited for a dental interview. His answer to this question was by saying that his laptop fell on the floor which caused the case to open and some of the components to fall out. He described how he collected the parts, some which were very small, back together and reassembled them into the laptop. However you have to use an example that is individual to you otherwise you will not sound convincing to the panel. ( This occurred during the Leeds School of Dentistry, University of Leeds: interview type MMI, Glasgow Dental Hospital and School (interview type MMI) and with Liverpool School of Dentistry (interview type MMI.)

Question 3 from: Glasgow Dental Hospital and School MMI interview type

 As a newly qualified NHS dentist, you have a busy job in a new practice which is located in a deprived area. What do you think are the main issues you will face when treating the patients here?

Answer 3:

You should answer this question in two parts. There will be general problems that you will face when treating patients at this practice within the area. For instance, the patients may have a poor attendance record and therefore you could suggest ways in which you could improve patients’ attendance and reduce DNAs (did not attends.) You may also wish to mention that patient compliance may be poor.  The second part of the answer should be around more specific issues in relation to the extensive dental disease that you may be faced with. In addition, you may have more than the average number of patients wanting to come in as same day emergency treatments. Once again you would mention ways in which you would tackle these two situations such as zoning the appointment diary.

Question 4 from: University of Dundee Dental School, interview MMI type

You are a clinical dental student and on this particular morning, one of your fellow dental students mentions that they may be coming up with a flu. They have a high temperature and feel really unwell. He insists that he attends the clinic to see his elderly patient otherwise he may not get signed up for his final exams as he is behind already. How would you advise him?

Answer 4

In answering this question, you will have to demonstrate that you are aware of one of the principles which is to always put a patient’s interests above yours. It also raises a longer-term issue as to why he is so far behind with this work. Finally, this may be a case where there is a conflict between what you say and what you would like to happen.

Question 5 from: Wales College of Medicine, Dental School interview type MMI questions included the following.

An emergency appointment has been booked in with you to see a patient. He was in an accident in the city centre and was attacked. He has some damage to his upper tooth and gums and you accordingly treat this. The following day the police contact you asking for his dental records and how would you respond.

Answer 5

This is a question which will test your understanding of patient confidentiality. You will need to talk about the General Dental Council guidelines on confidentiality and on occasions where it can be breached without consent from the patient. It would be prudent to notify the patient beforehand and in addition if you are unsure, you should call your indemnity organisation.

Question 6

A child comes to your practice for her routine orthodontic appliances review/adjustment appointment. However you notice that it is broken and it has been broken already two times this year so far. You also know that the child is not keen on the orthodontic treatment however the mum overrides her decision to end the treatment part way through. How would you have a conversation with the child and her mum?

Answer 6

The answer to this question must refer to the issue of consent and in particular Gillick consent can be mentioned.  You should also mention how you intend to bring the issue up of repeated breakages and what could happen if it keeps on recurring. As always, you should make sure you put in the patients interests first and also demonstrate the correct level of communication.

Question 7

It has come to your attention that the receptionist who works at your dental practice has posted a video on social media/Facebook.  The video shows a lunchtime meeting in the practice where everyone is having fun as they are celebrating another team member’s birthday. This video will be visible to members of the public and as a dentist of the practice, how would you proceed? (An interesting but potentially difficult interview at Bristol Dental School was the following question.)

Answer 7

In order to fully answer this question, you will need to show the panel that you are aware of the GDC guidelines with respect to social media. You will also need to show that as a member of the profession, you need to be acting in accordance with your status at all times even away from the practice in order to maintain confidence in your role.

Question 8

This question came up in the interview at The Sheffield, School of Clinical Dentistry. The scenario was that you are asked to discuss if all dental students at UK universities should exclusively work for at least 5 years after qualifying. Give your reasons why?

Answer 8

Firstly, you should say that there is a shortage of NHS dentists in some parts of the country. You can briefly mention the reasons for this. Usually with either traditional panel based or MMI type of “role-play” scenarios, there is no right or wrong answer but you have to give a logically deduced conclusion. Arguments to agree with the proposal could be that taxpayers heavily subsidise dental University training which is expensive and therefore graduates should give this back to society. However, there is another side as well. This could be that the NHS does not offer many treatments and therefore a dentist may want to specialise in these types of treatments. Another argument could be that you may wish to work in a particular area where there are no NHS practices and therefore you are limited to working in private practices. You could of course also mention the fact that the tuition fees will still be ultimately paid by you. As a safe conclusion, you could say that it is a good idea to ask dentists to work for at least two years following qualification in the NHS and after that they are free to choose as they wish.

Questions on your personal background

Before you even attend the dental interview, you need to be 100-percent familiar with your personal statement that they will have in front of them. Questions around personal background will be directed towards your interests and hobbies. This will also involve questions around resilience which they are looking for. These questions could be dressed up as a strength and weakness type of questions or when you have failed in something and how you handled it. It is imperative to have two examples which make you come across more realistic. As always, don’t answer word-for-word but have a general idea in your mouth and mind on how you are going to answer this question. In this way you will come across as being much more natural and your answers will be more fluent and less rehearsed. One question that has actually come up and sometimes trips of students is when they ask you, what aspect of your personal statement you would rather not they really ask you. In actual fact, this is simply a question about your weaknesses. Other questions on your extracurricular activities would be such as how you relax and what do you do if you are under extreme stress.

Interview Questions around insight into dentistry.

 It is actually quite remarkable how students walk to the interview with not much understanding of dentistry. All applicants have to show enough confidence they have a general understanding of dentistry but many have not enough to satisfy the examiners at this level. Questions around this aspect may be such as being asked why you are interested in dentistry. What qualities do you have that will make you a good dentist? What career opportunities are available as a dentist when you qualify? Why did you choose dentistry over other healthcare professions such as medicine? What are the latest developments occurring within dentistry that interest you? Tell me about your work experience? Also, what qualities does a dentist need? What is your understanding of the disadvantages of becoming a dentist? The negative aspects of the profession frequently turn up. Tell us what you know about the difference between NHS and private dentistry?  What aspect of dentistry appeals to you in particular?

Here is how to answer the question, “Why do you want to become a dentist?”

This question can come in other guises such as, why do you want to study dentistry? What made you decide to apply for dentistry? Why do you think you are suited for dentistry? Why do you think you are suited to become a dentist? What are the qualities in a dentist that you find attractive? What are the qualities in a dentist that you think you have?

 Before we answer this question, we will highlight some points that you think you should and also not ponder on to give to the interviewer. Your answer should be quick and concise; therefore definitely it should not be a long boring answer. In addition, you should not mention that you were thinking about doing medicine but “I thought that it would be easier to get into dentistry” which is not even true in any case. The subject of financial rewards should not enter the lines of the panel. Finally, you can mention family members are in the profession but you should still have made your own mind in the journey to deciding whether dentistry is the right choice for you or not.

Your answer should have some key ingredients which are the mentioning of science and biology. Dentists work with teams and patients so therefore your answer should incorporate this accordingly. Dentistry is a caring profession so you should get this across to the interviewers. Practical side of dentistry should be highlighted together with the lifelong learning aspect. Your answer should be fairly balanced with both strong aspects of becoming your dentist about perhaps also the drawbacks. When you make your answer, you should refer to any resources as appropriate such as your dental work experience, talking to other dental professionals, dental courses that you may have been on, relevant dental reading such as in the British Dental Journal and even the University open days.

Dentistry interview question:  Tell me about dental caries?

 In answering this question, you will not be expected to provide a detailed account of all the internal processes of dental caries however there are some basic information aspects which you should get across.  Initially, mention that it is the most common dental complaint together with gum disease that you will be treating and that patients will seek your advice for. In this answer, the role of sugar as fermentable carbohydrates should be mentioned. Correlated with this is the role of bacteria in your mouth which break down the sugar to produce acid. The acid produced then attacks the enamel mineral of the tooth and produces dental caries. Finally, you should be aware that this process of dental caries takes time to develop into cavities and does not occur instantly. If possible, you should mention that the collection of plaque forms a mesh over the surface of the tooth and this is a sticky film which can only be removed by tooth brushing. The role of fluoride could also be mentioned if asked in that it is used as a preventative measure against dental caries by making the enamel more resistant to dental caries. The London – Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London (interview type TRADITIONAL) will want you to mention newer advances in the diagnosis and treatment of dental caries.

Undergraduate Dental Interview questions that you could be asked on dental implants.

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

When you answer this question, you will be by default expected to have a basic knowledge of dental implants. For instance, you will need to demonstrate that you understand that dental implants are an alternative to replacing teeth other than dentures and bridgework. Currently on the NHS, dental implants are only available to certain patients such as oral cancer and therefore the availability is very limited. When you formulate your answer it is important as always to give a balanced viewpoint. This balance to your point would include mentioning that yes under ideal circumstances, a patient who loses a tooth or teeth, should be offered dental implants as an alternative to bridge work and dentures. However, at the same time, dental implants are not suitable for everyone and in certain cases, a bridge or a denture is better for the patient. One of the disadvantages of dental implants compared to denture or bridge work is the relatively higher cost. In this regard, the NHS only as finite resources and therefore it may be better to use those resources on other aspects of oral health care such as prevention programs. Not all dentists can perform dental implants and therefore there also could be a problem with manpower availability if implants were to be more widely available. Finally, dental implants can also fail and they need higher maintenance compared with other treatments such as dentures and bridgework. In this regard, patient compliance is paramount. Overall, you could say that the current provision of dental implants to certain patients undergoing medical treatment is probably the best circumstance so far.

Some dental universities in the MMI interviews or panel interviews are keen on exploring what you know about dentistry in as a stressful profession. This is not trying to downgrade the profession but actually it’s about knowledge that like all professions, there are good points and bad points. In this way, you are not going into a profession with a blinkered viewpoint. An example of this type of question could be something like, “Could you tell us the importance of how your personal life affects you as a practicing dentist?”

 When you are thinking about how to answer this question, initially you could mention the General Dental Council’s nine principles and two of them in particular mention that as a dentist “you must always put the interests of the patient above yours” and also to make sure that “your personal behaviour maintains the patients confidence in you and the dental profession.” It immediately gives the notion that your personal life should not affect your work as a dentist and if it does, you will need to address that in the best way possible. If your work life balance is being affected, you always have the option to seek further advice. As part of this, you could talk about a particular situation where it was difficult for you to study and concentrate on your work. It would be a good idea to talk about how you recognised it, if you managed to overcome the issues and finally how you learnt from the experience. The common traps that students fall into are not recognising how being a dentist can be a stressful profession or even understanding the causes of stress in being a dentist.  The panel certainly does not want to get any indication that you don’t understand that so it is so vital for you to keep your emotions in check when treating patients. They will also want to have reassurance that you have avenues that help you to cope with stress and difficult emotions in general. Finally, it helps to add that you must also seek professional advice from your GP or the BDA if you feel patients are being compromised in their dental care.

Always make sure early on, which interview type you are heading for. Example: The School of Dental Sciences, University of Newcastle interview type is TRADITIONAL in contrast to The University of Plymouth, Peninsula Dental School which uses a MMI interview type. The MMI dentistry interviews are also used at Queen’s University Belfast School of Dentistry and the Birmingham School of Dentistry.

When is the best time to prepare for your interviews?

Although some of our students have started booking the interview preparation sessions the next day after submitting their UCAS application, a common question we get asked is “When is the best time to prepare for my interviews?”

 To answer this question for you, it is best to know about how the interview process works. These interviews will start typically ANYTIME from November all the way up to March. We are already past ½ way through October when the UCAS deadline is due so theoretically an interview could only be 3 weeks away.  Although typically the universities give you up to 4 weeks to prepare, we know from experience that sometimes, by the time you get your notification, this can be as little as 2 weeks.  This is a problem because we know that two weeks is nowhere near enough time to prepare fully for your interview process….  Hence the need for EARLY preparation.  We also need to take into account the individual needs of students and it has frequently happened in the past where the preparation time clashes with some important end of unit tests or exams at school and this is where panic starts to set in.  THEN, Do you ignore your school assessments?   OR Do you compromise your interview preparation?

 The second point to recognise is that the Interview consists of “Core Knowledge” and “Presentation Skills.”

 The Core Knowledge consists of topics or information expected from you by the university.

 The Presentation Skills are those that determine how you come across with your answers including the core knowledge to your interviewer.

 You need both to secure your place.

To be confident at your interview you need time to learn and absorb the techniques………………… That is why we have designed our interview course………. This is the same course which has worked for many of the students just like you.

 What you will get in the training course includes Mock interviews, feedback analysis, Core content/knowledge training, Tricky and Difficult question techniques, MMI and Panel preparation, Personal Statement awareness and much more.

 When you start early, the sessions will be easily manageable….. just one session a week and once you have been notified of the interview, we can then fast forward to get you fully 100-percent already.

If you’d be interested in having a first session with us, just let us know even if you don’t want to commit right now.  If during the program, you decide not to continue for any reason, we will give you a full pro-rata refund on unused sessions so we can’t be any fairer than this.

 The number one reason for students stumbling at this last hurdle is the lack of confidence and this is due to lack of early preparation. The second reason is that they don’t know how or when to start preparation.  That is why we do all the work for you.

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