Do Patients Prefer Male or Female Dentists?

Do Patients Prefer Male or Female Dentists?

Dentistry is a field that women have only recently joined. In fact, demographics show only 3 percent of dentists were female in 1980. While increasing numbers in recent years (some studies show about 19 percent of dentists are female today) is certainly good for gender equality, it also brings up an interesting question. Do patients perceive a difference between the sexes when it comes to dentistry? The answers might surprise you.


Treatment Differences

To understand how patients view male and female dentists, it would be good to touch upon the subtle differences between the treatment each provides. While obviously each dentist has a certain philosophy and protocol they follow, the types of treatments they prescribe can have small, but significant differences based on personal preference. In 2011, researchers from the Dental Practice-Based Research Network Collaborative Group conducted a survey of both male and female dentists who were members of the Dental Practice-Based Research Network. Researchers asked these practitioners specific questions about the various treatment plans their practices provided. Using the data from these surveys, researchers created statistical models and came to some interesting conclusions.


The study found that as a whole, female dentists were more likely to have a treatment philosophy focused on prevention. For example, female dentists recommend at-home fluoride and preventative therapy much more often than their male counterparts. Although there was little difference between how they diagnose problems or how much they charge, there was a significant emphasis among female dentists on this type of precautionary care.


Patient Satisfaction

This difference in treatment philosophies may be why patients rate their satisfaction with male and female dentists separately. Drs. H. Douglas, S.T. Reisine and M.H. Cipes surveyed patients of 26 dentists (13 men and 13 women) to evaluate what the patients thought of their dentists.


On the surface, there were few differences between the patients of male and female dentists, such as no correlation between the demographics of the patients and the genders of the doctors. There were, however, significant differences in how satisfied the patients felt. Patients of female dentists were much more pleased with the cost of and access to the private dental practices. In other words, when considering the cost of their treatment and their access to the practices, patients were more content with female dentists than they were with male dentists.


In a field where gender discrimination was still commonplace not long ago, these studies have positive messages for young women seeking a career in dentistry. At Dentist in Colorado Springs, CO, we too support the gender equality that is becoming a reality and celebrate what the female dentists of the past conquered to make the field what it is today.



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