Top 20 Dental Hygienist Interview Questions & Answers in 2024

Editorial Team

Dental Hygienist Interview Questions & Answers

This article lists the top 20 dental hygienist interview questions that are commonly asked. It also includes a sample answers for each question to help you get ready quickly for your upcoming interview.

1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?

The response to this question will help the employer to gauge your motivation and motivation for this role. In your answer, verify your dedication to this role and express interest in it.

Sample Answer

“I went through many reviews online regarding your organization. The majority of the people mentioned how your team supports each other. In my opinion, teamwork is very crucial in having a successful dental practice. I am seeking to join a practice where people support each other. Additionally, since I was a kid, I have always wanted to be a dental hygienist. I am people-oriented and friendly hence this job is the right one for me.”

2. What Are The Roles Of A Dental Hygienist?

The interviewer wants to know whether you are aware of the duties of a dental hygienist. In your answer, demonstrate a solid understanding of what a dental hygienist does in relation to the job description.

Sample Answer

“A dental hygienist performs several tasks such as cleaning the teeth, applying treatments on the teeth, examining the teeth and gums to check for irregularities or decay, adding to patient charts, providing education and information, and maintaining the tools and equipment used.”

3. What Are The Qualities That A Dental Hygienist Need To Be Successful?

The employer asks this question to assess whether you are conversant with the qualities of a good dental hygienist. In your response state several qualities of a good dental hygienist as you relate to the needs of the employer.

Sample Answer

“Besides being responsible and reliable, a good dental hygienist should have strong interpersonal, communication, organizational, time management, decision-making, and problem-solving. He or she must be compassionate, details oriented, and professional. It is also important to possess hand-eye coordination, critical thinking, motor and dexterity skills.”

4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage Them?

Your answer to this question enables the interviewer to know what you consider a challenge and if you can handle stressful and difficult situations. The best strategy of responding to this question is by providing a challenge that points to your skills and explains how you solved it.

Sample Answer

“In the beginning, working for long hours doing repetitive tasks was a big challenge to me. I would find myself performing precise movements that susceptible caused pain in my wrists, shoulder, elbow, lower back, and neck. Dental cleaning required me to be seated in dental stool making me hunch over and this caused back pain. However, I shared my problem with my supervisor. Within few days the hospital bought dental chair headrests. Dental headrests enabled me to properly position patients in dental chairs and I could now work quickly and comfortably. Additionally, the dental headrests offered comfort to patients hence reducing their anxiety during the dental treatment procedures.”

5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Dental Hygienist?

The employer wants to know how you prioritize your work. Describe the routine job of a hygienist’s duties, such as examination of teeth and gums for signs of any disease, partial periodontal therapy, sealant, and fluoride application, diagnostic tests, x-rays, assisting dentist, etc.

Sample Answer

“I normally start my day by reviewing the charts of my scheduled patients. I get to know what every patient needs and how I can prepare well for their visit. After I have gained an understanding of how my day will be like, I set up the treatment room for patients. On an average day, I would have to see a minimum of ten patients and perform an oral examination, cleaning patients gums and teeth, applying fluoride and other treatments,  educating patients on dental education, taking x-rays, conducting cleaning and bleaching, disinfecting tools, and equipment, updating patients records and assisting the dentist with tasks.”

6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience

The interviewer asks this question to assess whether your background experience matches the needs of the company. In your response, summarize your work history as you connect to the expectation of your potential employer.

Sample Answer

“I have been a dental hygienist for two years now. My work involved helping patients to prevent dental decay by cleaning their teeth and providing them with education on how to care for their teeth and gums including the effects of diet on oral health. During this time, I have gained a lot of experience in the examination of teeth and gums for signs of any disease, partial periodontal therapy, sealant, and fluoride application, diagnostic tests, x-rays, assisting dentists, etc. Given a chance, I will use the expertise, knowledge, and skills I have gained to make this role a success.”

7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Is Required For This Role?

The response to this question allows your interviewer to understand the strategy and mindset you will put into use while performing your duties. Explain some of your soft skills and strategy you will use when interacting with patients and other staff members.

Sample Answer

“Dental hygienists must be keen to details to follow specific protocols and rules to assist dentists diagnose and treat a patient. He or she must also be able to work with or without the direct supervision of a dentist. A good dental hygienist must be good at working with hands since the work is done on a small part of the body which needs him or her to have fine motor skills to use precise instruments and tools. A dental hygienist must also be considerate while working with patients since some of them may be sensitive to pain while others may have fears of undergoing through the dental treatment.”

8. What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee In This Job?

The recruiting team asks this question to evaluate your ability to deal with challenging situations. As you answer this question, state one of the difficult tasks from the job description and demonstrate how you can use your abilities to handle it.

Sample Answer

“The biggest challenge I foresee in this role is fee reduction from insurance companies. This will make more dentists become fee-for-service offices. This means that only patients who can afford to pay for dental treatment will get the services.  To avoid patients from being overburdened by the challenges of raising money for periodontal diseases and tooth decay, I committed to educating them on how to keep off from such diseases. I can help them improve their brushing and flossing as a way of keeping them proactive.”

9. How Do You Stay Motivated In Your Work?

This question helps the interviewer to understand your motivations as well as getting insight into your personality. The best way to answer this question is to state some of the things you value in your profession and demonstrate how that makes you fit for the job.

Sample Answer

“Proper oral hygiene may appear like a simple thing. However, many people are unaware of how to care for their teeth properly including the consequences of failing to do so. I am passionate about educating patients on how they can prevent themselves from periodontal diseases and tooth decay. I enjoy educating them on how to brush and floss effectively.”

10. Describe a Time When You Failed in This Role and The Lesson You Learnt?

The recruiter wants to know whether you can acknowledge your shortcomings and learn from your mistakes. To answer this question, describe the situation, the choices you made, and the outcome. Then talk about how that experience taught you.

Sample Answer

“During my early days in this career, it was excited to perform. I would have to see more than twenty patients in a single day. I developed Musculoskeletal Issues but still couldn’t share my problems. I would experience pain in my wrists,  lower back, neck, shoulders, and elbow. My walking style began to change and my boss noted that something was wrong. He called me into his office and questioned me. He was very friendly and this compelled me to speak up. The following day, he ordered dental chair headrests. Dental headrests enabled me to properly position patients in dental chairs and I could now work quickly and comfortably. Additionally, the dental headrests offered comfort to patients hence reducing their anxiety during the dental treatment procedures. The situation taught me to be honest to myself including managing my work pressure.”

11. Why Do You Feel You Are The Most Suited For This Role?

By asking this question, the employer wants to know you deeper. Explain your educational background and work experience and personal traits that fit in this position.

Sample  Answer

“I hold a  degree in oral health science. I have also worked as a dental hygienist for two years. I believe I would be a great dental hygienist at your dental practice because I am a friendly, team player, and organized professional who is committed to delivering patient care. I am also committed to supporting my workmates every day. Given a chance, I would become an asset to your team.”

12. Share with Us Your Greatest Achievement.

The interviewer wants to know what you consider as success. Share your proudest achievement.

Sample Answer

“ One of my greatest achievements was when I successfully educated students on maintaining dental hygiene. According to the report that was given to me by the principal of that school was that students had been attending school regularly unlike before. Most of the students had been suffering from periodontal diseases hence not being able to attend school regularly.”

13. Describe The Signs And Symptoms Of Gingivitis? What Are Some Of The pieces of Advice Can You Give To Patients With Gingivitis?

The response you provide to this question will help the interviewer gauge your knowledge of common conditions, their causes, and their treatment options. While answering the question, emphasize your in-depth understanding of gingivitis.

Sample Answer

“Typically, gingivitis shows itself in the form of red gums with a puffy appearance. Individuals may also experience bleeding gums when they brush or floss. Those with gingivitis can also experience tenderness in their gums and might notice they have bad breath. The advice I’d give to patients with gingivitis is to up their flossing habit to every few days if not every day and make it a point to brush their teeth for two minutes twice daily.”

14. How Can You Handle A Patient Who Is Concerned About The Mercury Used In Their Filling?

The interviewer wants to gauge your communication skills. In your response, showcase your knowledge and the ability to communicate in a way that patients will understand.

Sample Answer

“I would begin by acknowledging his concern. I would then explain that silver fillings, or dental amalgams, are made up of a mixture of mercury, silver, tin, and copper, with mercury making up the majority and acting as the binding agent. While mercury on its own is harmful, when combined with other materials, the mercury becomes essentially harmless. The mercury you are exposed to from your filling is significantly less than what you’re exposed to in your everyday environment, and there is nothing to worry about.”

15. One Of The Important Qualifications In The Dental Field Is Paying Attention To Details. Explain Your Orientation To Detail.

The interviewer asks this question to test your ability to paying attention. Explain your orientation to details in connection to the job at hand.

Sample Answer

“My attention to detail is what pushed me to this industry. I believe that there is no room to overlook any information when examining and cleaning teeth, gum, and mouth. I can increase efficiency on the dental team for I take my time to offer a thorough examination and cleanings. Communicating to the dentist about my preliminary observations during the cleaning makes for a more focused exam.”

16. How Do You Motivate Uncooperative Patients?

The interviewer asks this question to determine your ability to stay level-headed in high-stress situations. In your answer, demonstrate that you can handle conflict and resolve situations without having to involve superiors.

Sample Answer

“Regardless of the situation, I always maintain a positive attitude. In my opinion, being hostile to a patient only makes a patient become more defensive. I always ensure that I have eliminated confusion when handling an uncooperative patient. Over the years, I have discovered that patients are argumentative if they fail to understand what is being asked of them. No matter the situation, I explain the diagnosis, treatment procedures, and patients in a language the patient can easily understand.”

17. In A Dental Setting, How Do You Work With Patients Who Are Often Nervous And In Pain?

This is a technical question that is testing how you perform dental procedures. In your response, demonstrate your problem-solving and communication skills.

Sample Answer

“I have always used a friendly and relaxed approach anytime a patient visited our clinic. This eases their anxiety. I explain to the patients the procedure that will be involved in their treatment before I can begin to attend to them. I also tell them to stop me at any time if they feel pain. I view putting the patient at ease as one of my primary duties. When someone comes in stressed out, I assure them that we want to make them as comfortable as we can. I realize that people in pain are often not cheerful and do not want to talk much, but I don’t let that bother me, and I focus on helping them find relief. Once the patient’s mouth is numbed up, I check in with them periodically to make sure they are not hurting. When patients know that I am empathizing with their situation, they can relax more easily.”

18. Which Would You Recommend To Patients, Water Flossing Or String Flossing?

The employer asks this question to gauge your knowledge based on their procedures. In your response, demonstrate that you know the benefits of both methods.

Sample Answer

“Besides being a traditional method of flossing, string flossing is the best choice. However, I recommend the appropriate method based on the needs of the patient. For instance, if a patient is struggling with dexterity, younger, or is consistent in flossing, I recommend water flossing since it is an easier method for such patients.”

19. What Is The Role Of A Dental Hygienist As Far As Nutritional Counseling Is Concerned?

This is a technical question that the interviewer asks to test your knowledge as a dental hygienist. Demonstrate that you are a well-rounded person in this field.

Sample Answer

“Nutritional counseling is an important part of patient education. The patient’s oral health is also affected by what he eats or drinks. It is  a responsibility of a hygienist to inform a patient about the right things to eat including how eating the wrong stuff could affect their oral health.”

20. What Major Ethical Issue Faces Dentistry Today?

The employer may ask this question to determine your involvement in this industry. This is a simple question that you can answer having been in this field. If you are not sure of the best answer to give, take an educated guess surrounding patient confidentiality or the proper storage of online documents.

Sample Answer

I believe that an  ethical issue could be the safe and confidential storage of patient information with all of the technological advancements and system hacking that has been happening as of late.”


Apart from knowing what you’re likely to be asked during the interview, the interviewer will be keen to see whether you are confident and sure about what you say. So, be confident and make the interviewer understand that you possess what they are looking for.