9 Insider Tips to Ace Your Dental Hygiene and Therapy Interview

December 29, 2023
Dr. Radhika
Dental hygiene image looking into a patient's mouth using a mirror

9 Tips | Ace your Dental Hygiene and Therapy Interview

Applying to Dental Hygiene and Therapy can be exciting, but the interview process can be a source of anxiety for many students. However, with proper preparation, you can confidently navigate the interview and leave a lasting impression on the panel.

I have worked with dental hygiene and therapy applicants by providing interview help for the last few years. I find a common issue is the lack of notice given. Some applicants are only given an invite two weeks before the interview day. This leaves them feeling overwhelmed with anxiety and unprepared!

In this blog post, we’ll provide valuable tips to help you ace your Dental Hygiene and Therapy interview.

Dental Hygiene and Therapy Interview Formats:

Before delving into the tips, it’s essential to understand the two standard interview formats: the Traditional Panel Interview and the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)

Traditional Panel Interview

  • This common interview format involves a sit-down interview with 2 or 3 interviewers and the applicant.
  • The interviewers may have your personal statement in front of them, and they will have questions that they will ask you.
  • Traditional interviews last between 15 – 30 minutes
Dental Hygiene Interview

Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)

  • The multiple mini interview typically consists of 10-12 mini interview stations, with a separate interviewer at each.
  • 2 stations are usually designated as ‘rest’ stations, allowing a 5-minute break, which helps you to relax and compose yourself.
  • At each station, there is an A4 sheet that you can spend 30 seconds reading.
  • The information outlines the task to be completed, with some instructions or a question that you will be asked.
  • This allows some thinking time and you can jot down some notes if that helps. You then begin the task or start speaking with the interviewer.
  • They are grading you on what you say and how you come across.
  • Now that we’ve outlined the formats let’s explore nine tips to help you excel in your Dental Hygiene and Therapy interview:

9 Tips - Dental Hygiene/Therapy Interview

Tip 1 - Research The Interview Format

Understand the specific format you will face – whether it’s a traditional panel or MMI. Tailor your preparation accordingly.

Some universities, like Bristol, will ask you to prepare something before the virtual panel interview, such as creating something from a kitchen roll tube or creating crystals by following an instruction leaflet that will be sent to you. During the interview they will ask to see this and will ask you to talk through the process.

Tip 2 - Know Your Application Inside Out

Be ready to discuss any aspect of your application, as interviewers may refer to your personal statement, grades, or experiences. This is essential during a panel interview where they may have your statement in front of you. 

Tip 3 - Practise With Mock Interviews

Simulate the interview experience by participating in mock interviews. This will help ease nerves and make you feel more confident.

If you’d like to book a mock with Dr Radhika (a dentist and application helper) – please contact her.

Tip 4 - Master Common Interview Questions

Prepare responses for standard questions about your motivations, experiences, and future goals in dental hygiene/therapy.

There will be skills-based questions and there may also be ethical scenarios.
Check out the Comprehensive Interview Guide for Dental Hygiene & Therapy

Tip 5 - Stay Updated on Dental Healthcare Topics

Demonstrate your commitment to the field by staying informed about current challenges within the NHS, such as the increasing difficulties of registering at a clinic and be able to talk about the implications of this.

Tip 6 - Develop Critical Thinking Skills

The MMI assesses your ability to think on your feet. Practice critical thinking and problem-solving to excel in this format. There may be a role play where you must show empathy and communicate effectively.

There is usually an ethical scenario as well – “There is a train heading at 90km/h down a  train track; on this track, a family is tied down and will be hit. If you press a button, the train will divert to another track where an elderly couple is tied down. Do you press the button?”

Tip 7 - Use the STAR Strategy

There are variations of this technique, but it involves talking about your experience by discussing the

Situation – Describe the event or situation

Task – Explain the task you had to complete

Action – Explain what your roles were

Result – Share the outcome and Reflect on what you learned or the challenges faced

Tip 8 - Prepare Examples That You Can Speak About

Speak about the patient cases you saw, maintain confidentiality – do not mention patient names.

Have some examples from your work experience that you can talk about, such as treatments you saw and how the team worked together. Think of the qualities you saw in the hygienist and therapist.

Tip 9 - Stay Calm and Composed

During the MMI, manage your time efficiently. Stay calm, composed, and focused on each task without letting the format overwhelm you. If you feel that you’ve done well in a previous station, it doesn’t matter; you can still ace the next station.

A panel interview should not overwhelm you. It is usually a nice and friendly conversation. They are not trying to trip you up. 


With these nine tips, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle your Dental Hygiene and Therapy interview. Preparation is the key to success, so start early, stay focused, and let your passion for dental hygiene shine through.

Prepare well ahead of time for the interview using the Ultimate Dental Hygiene and Therapy Interview Guide.

Get the Comprehensive Dental Hygiene and Therapy Interview Guide

This guide has helped numerous Dental Hygiene and Therapy applicants ace their interviews and score a place.

35-page PDF guide with everything you need to know

Interview help, guidance, questions & model answers

Ethical scenarios and answers

Past interview questions

University-specific advice

Tips and tricks to help you nail the dental hygiene and therapy interview

Tip: Use coupon code “RAD24” for 10% off