Today, no one bats an eye when greeted at the dentist’s office by a female dentist. It wasn’t always this way, though. Prior to 1970, fewer than 3.3% of dentists in the United States were women. That statistic has significantly — and understandably — jumped since then. Women currently make up nearly half of all dental students at US colleges today and at least 25% of all practicing U.S. dentists. In Israel, 44% of all new dentists entering the field are women.
Dentistry is a profession that encourages compassion, listening and nurturing, which are more innate in women. In fact, studies show that females, on average, rate motives of caring and helping more highly than men do, which makes dentistry is a great fit. Women also have a higher aesthetic sense, which helps them craft a perfect smile for their patients. Additionally, as women typically have smaller hands than men, it is a bonus in dentistry, making the patient experience all the more comfortable.
A History of Women in Dentistry
Looking back, history has many pioneering women to thank for paving the way for today’s female dentists. For example, in 1866, Lucy Beaman Hobbs Taylor was the first woman ever to earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree. Another trend-setter was Emeline Roberts Jones, considered to be the first woman to practice dentistry in 1855 after her husband allowed her to join his practice. She continued the practice herself after he passed away in 1864. These are only two of many courageous women who opened the door for today’s women in dentistry.
More Female Dentists: a Win-Win for All
Dentistry certainly has changed since the mid 19th century. For instance, today’s technology has enhanced dentistry overall, for patients and dentists alike. This is especially the case with female dentists, who combine science and innovation with their honed listening skills and gentle, nurturing nature to more efficiently treat the whole person. Plus, as female dentists have a heightened esthetic sense and pay keen attention to detail, they heal their patients with greater care than ever before. This comes as no surprise, as, overall, women in the medical field are known to be better listeners and encourage more open and equal exchanges with their patients than their male counterparts.
So, what could be better than a woman working to improve and enhance their patients’ oral health and quality of life? Three women opening a new practice together!