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Changing the Ratio: Women in Dentistry

When you think about the stereotypical dentist, what type of person comes to mind?

If the first thing you think of is a male figure working alongside your dental chair, we understand, and we don’t hold it against you. The truth is that dentistry has long been a male-dominated profession.

According to the American Dental Association, as of 2020, 201,117 dentists were working in the United States. Of this 201,117, a whopping 65 percent were male. And maybe unsurprisingly, 95 percent of dental hygienists were female. Dental assistants also frequently tend to be female.

But, although men have long dominated the industry as dentists, more and more women are choosing the profession of caring for people’s oral and dental health over the last few decades. In fact, in the mid-1980s, only 23.7 percent of dental school graduates were women, compared with the 35 percent female full-time dentist population in 2017, according to an article published in Dental Economics.

As a matter of fact, the last two presidents of the American Dental Association were women, which is exciting news for those in the profession and those considering the profession.

Why Are More Women Choosing Dentistry?

One reason is that they’re natural caretakers. Note: We’re not saying that men cannot care with empathy or concern, but women tend to interact a little differently than men with their patients.

This is because women focus more on their relationship with their patients, fostering friendships more readily than men.

Again, both genders can evaluate and administer high-quality and comprehensive dental treatment and care to their patients. Still, many people believe that women are generally more supportive and focus on nurturing others.

The March 2017 Dental Economics article supports this idea. The article, titled “The shifting paradigm of dentistry: The predominance of women,” drew opinions from some female dentists as to why more women are breaking through the glass ceiling and choosing the field, changing the ratio of women in dentistry.

“I think women take more time with patients to address their concerns,” Dr. Thalia Shirley, DDS, owner of 360 Smiles in Dallas, Texas, is quoted as saying in the article. “We also look at the patient’s full life picture, not just the patient in the chair.”

Some patients also believe that female dentists tend to work with patients more often to meet their needs, even regarding finances and the limits of their insurance.

Another observation reported by some patients is that female dentists tend to look at the patient’s life holistically to learn about their experiences and how those experiences may have affected a patient’s teeth. This understanding allows women dentists to be more compassionate than some of their male peers.

Some women in dentistry feel as if women also tend to be less competitive than their male counterparts and tend to mentor younger female peers or work to get girls and young women to consider dentistry.

Many patients also report that women dentists are more gentle than male dentists, which is especially important to those who are living with dental fear or dental phobia.

At Restore Modern Dentistry, we understand that not everyone loves going to the dentist, so we make it a point to listen to our patients who are struggling with their fear of the dentist.

Many men are also aging out of dentistry, which makes more room for women to take the lead in the profession over the next five to 10 years.

In the U.S., 60 percent of all practicing dentists under the age of 44 are women, making it easy to see the opportunity for women to grow in the profession.

We recognize that the industry of dentistry is changing and that, being led by two women dentists, Restore Modern Dentistry is “the new face” of dental care. We think that diversity in dentistry is a great thing, and we are thrilled about the fact that more women are choosing the profession of caring for the oral and dental health and wellness of others.

When you’re choosing a dentist, for cosmetic dentistry or any other dental services, we recommend that you:

  • Get Referrals. Ask your friends and family what dental practice they love. Ask us for our referrals, too!
  • Research Credentials. First and foremost, we recommend that you search for board-certified dentists. This tells you that the person you choose has the skills, training and experience to take care of you. It would also be best if you searched for claims of malpractice or disciplinary actions. You can search your state’s board of insurance and licensing board websites to find information on providers.
  • Read Patient Reviews. Read what other people have to say about your dentist by checking Google or Yelp. This is a great way to get insight into how a dentist practices general dentistry and how patients feel about their care.
  • Know What Your Insurance Covers. Knowing what your dental insurance covers is essential when selecting a dentist. Check out your provider’s website to determine who takes your insurance. We also recommend checking out your benefits to see what coverage you have. You should weigh and consider your dentist’s experience, outcomes and reviews when making your selection.

You learn more about our fabulous dentists and amazing team here. We’d love to hear from you. Call us now to schedule an appointment or exam.