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Interview Success: Mastering Your 'Why Dentistry' Answer to Stand Out from the Competition

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

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In the competitive field of dentistry, standing out during an interview is crucial to securing your dream job. One question that often separates the average candidates from the exceptional ones is: "Why do you want to be a dentist?". Crafting a compelling answer to this question can make all the difference in setting yourself apart from the competition.

In this article, we will delve into the strategies and techniques that will help you master your 'Why dentistry' response and leave a lasting impression on your interviewers. From understanding the motivations behind your career choice to highlighting your unique qualities and experiences, we will guide you through the process of creating a compelling answer that showcases your passion and commitment to dentistry.

The importance of a strong 'Why Dentistry' interview answer

Your 'Why do you want to be a dentist?' answer is an opportunity to showcase your passion and commitment to the field of dentistry. Dental school interviewers want to see that you have a genuine interest in dentistry and that you are motivated to make a difference in people's lives. A strong answer demonstrates that you have taken the time to reflect on your career choice and have a clear understanding of why you are pursuing dentistry.

A well-crafted 'Why dentistry' answer also helps interviewer committees gauge your long-term commitment to the profession. Dental school is difficult, and interviewers want to ensure that you have the dedication and drive to succeed not only in school but throughout your entire career. By articulating your reasons for choosing dentistry, you can reassure interviewers of your long-term commitment and passion.

Understanding what interviewers are looking for

To create a compelling 'Why do you want to be a dentist?' answer, it's important to understand what interviewers are looking for. They want to see that you have a genuine passion for dentistry beyond just a job or career choice. Interviewers are interested in your personal connection to the field and how it aligns with the values and goals of the dental profession. So let them know what got you started down this path. Everyone's journey to dentistry is unique, portray your story in your answer.

When answering the 'Why dentistry' question, interviewers also want to see that you have done your research and have a thorough understanding of the field. This includes knowledge of current trends, challenges, and advancements in dentistry. Demonstrating your awareness of these factors shows interviewers that you are well-prepared and invested in this field.

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Crafting your unique 'Why Dentistry' story

Your 'Why dentistry' answer should be personal and unique to you. It should reflect your own experiences, motivations, and aspirations. Every dental school admissions member asks this question in an interview. If your answer is not unique, your name won't stand out when it comes time to consider who will be accepted.

To craft a compelling answer, start by reflecting on your journey to dentistry.

  • Was there an event that sparked your interest in dentistry?

  • What inspired you to pursue this field?

  • Was there a specific event or person that influenced your decision?

Dentistry is a giving and service-oriented profession, so think about ways you want to give as a dentist rather than take when considering your motivation.

Once you have identified your motivations, weave them into a cohesive narrative that showcases your passion for dentistry. Highlight the qualities or experiences that have shaped your desire to become a dentist. Whether it's a personal experience with dental care, a desire to help others, or a fascination with the science behind dentistry, make sure to convey your enthusiasm and passion.

Incorporating your passion into your answer

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Passion is a key element of a strong 'Why dentistry' answer. Interviewers want to see that you are excited about dentistry and that you are driven by a genuine desire to make a positive impact in people's lives. When crafting your answer, emphasize the aspects of dentistry that ignite your passion.

For example, you can talk about the satisfaction you derived while shadowing from seeing how dentists help patients achieve healthy and beautiful smiles. Or you can discuss your fascination with the intricate details of dental procedures and how it fuels your drive to continuously improve your skills. Perhaps it combines all the things you've already been passionate about, such as: serving, working with your hands, being artistic, and being a lifelong learner. Whatever it may be, make sure to convey your genuine interest in dentistry throughout your answer.

What to include in your 'Why Dentistry' Answer

Now that we've discussed some background information, you may still be wondering, but what exactly should I say? Some things your unique answer can include are:

  • An intriguing story about how you became interested in dentistry

  • A shadowing experience that led you to dentistry

  • The aspects of dentistry you enjoy

  • How you hope to serve others as a dentist

  • Your passion for learning

Take inspiration from what we've listed above and make it your own. No matter what you decide to include in your answer, tell your story and make it stand out!

Avoiding common mistakes when answering 'Why Dentistry'

When answering the 'Why dentistry' question, it's important to avoid common mistakes that can weaken your response. One common mistake is being too generic or vague in your answer. Instead of providing a generic response such as "I want to help people," provide specific examples or stories that illustrate your genuine interest in dentistry.

Another mistake to avoid is focusing solely on dentistry's financial or status aspects. While financial security may motivate you, interviewers are looking for candidates who are genuinely passionate about the field and have a deeper connection to dentistry beyond the monetary benefits.

Practicing and refining your answer

Once you have crafted your 'Why dentistry' answer, it's essential to practice and refine it. Practice answering the question in front of a mirror or with a friend or family member. Pay attention to your delivery, tone, and body language. Aim to convey confidence and enthusiasm throughout your response.

Ask for feedback from others and make adjustments as needed. Consider recording yourself answering the question and reviewing the recording to identify areas for improvement. Even better, set up a mock interview session with us at Pre-Dental Advice! The more you practice, the more natural and polished your answer will become and the more confident you will feel during your interview.

Additional tips for interview success

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In addition to mastering your 'Why dentistry' answer, there are several other tips that can help you succeed in your dental interviews. First, thoroughly research the dental school you are interviewing with. Familiarize yourself with their mission, values, and any recent developments or initiatives. This will demonstrate your genuine interest and dedication to the opportunity.

Second, prepare thoughtful questions to ask the interviewers. This shows that you are engaged and interested in learning more about the program or organization. It also provides an opportunity for you to gather valuable information that can help inform your decision if you receive an offer.

Lastly, remember to present yourself professionally and maintain a positive attitude throughout the interview process. Dress appropriately, arrive on time, and engage in active listening and respectful communication. These small details can make a big difference in leaving a lasting impression on your interviewers.

Resources for interview preparation

Preparing for dental interviews can be overwhelming, but there are many resources available to help you succeed. If you have a question about interviews, check out our Facebook page or our Forum where you can anonymously post your question and get honest feedback. Want to learn more about a school before you interview? Check out Grad School Grades! Also, check out our list of students at each dental school who are willing to answer your questions!


Crafting a compelling 'Why dentistry' answer is a crucial step in standing out during dental interviews. By understanding what interviewers are looking for, crafting your unique story, and highlighting your passion, experiences, and skills, you can create an answer that truly sets you apart from the competition.

Remember to practice and refine your answer, and utilize additional resources for interview preparation. With these strategies and techniques, you will be well-equipped to leave a lasting impression on your interviewers and increase your chances of interview success.

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