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 Australian Dental Association (ADA), as of 2021, 84% are employed in private practices, 50% work in group private practices, 25% work in solo private practices and 6% of dentists work in public clinics in Australia.

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 health in Australia.

Women graduates in dentistry now outnumber men. Figures from the Department of Health show that in the 20-34 year age group, 55% of dental practitioners are now female.

Why Are More Women Shifting 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.

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.

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.


As more women are now studying dentistry, in the future, dental practices with all female practitioners will become more common.

Women involved in dentistry are as capable as men, whose team includes three female dentists and one male. However, we can still sometimes feel that patients prefer a male practitioner. This is not a concern for myself and my practices, but I strongly believe that more work needs to be done in this area.

In addition, the working hours of the female dentist normally drop once they start a family, which could also have an impact on the practice revenue and finance overall. It is not as simple as bringing a new dentist to compensate for your shorter working hours as patients often only want to see you.

Skepticism about a woman’s ability to do the job is usually quickly overcome by providing good treatment. I think this idea that male dentists are more skilled is far less common now compared with 20–30 years ago. Female dentists are generally now being treated as equals by patients and peers and by their male counterparts when they perform the same clinical tasks.

In addition, more women are engaging in the ‘political’ side of dentistry. They are becoming involved in organisations like the ADA and the State Branches, on Committees, and on Councils and are making a very positive contribution.


Do women in dentistry bring a different sensibility to the job? Women bring friendliness, compassion, nurturing, and consideration to their dental practice. It is not that male dentists don’t have these traits, but we tend to raise women to show these gentle, caring qualities more openly and easily.

Female touch stretches beyond developing supportive and patient-sensitive relationships. Female dentists may also pay a little more attention to the fine details of the practice to create a less clinical atmosphere. They certainly try to create a calm and familiar environment for their patients to help manage their anxiety and make their visit as relaxing as possible. Practice ensures that comfortable furniture, relaxing music, friendly greetings, and personable conversations help make the patient feel welcomed and at ease.


There are also less obvious dividends.

Female dentists are generally very good at verbal communication and explaining procedures. A great many patients now prefer females some even observe that we have smaller hands that help make dental procedures more comfortable!

It is pretty obvious when practice is run by a woman because it has a more inclusive approach and relaxed atmosphere. Being a good dentist is all about establishing relationships and I think women do that very effectively. It’s very satisfying to build up rapport and trust with people that help them improve their dental health. It gets a huge buzz when they help cure someone of severe dental anxiety so that coming to the dentist is no longer something to fear.


Notwithstanding all of the above women’s equitable representation and special contributions in dentistry the traditional business model remains pretty much intact, with the emphasis on technology, techniques, risk management, science, cost efficiency, and the shifting requirements of insurance companies and employers with the net result of prejudicing a healthy doctor-patient relationship.

What is true of the business model of dentistry is no less true of dentistry as a whole the way it is taught and the way it is practiced. The “scientific” model still reigns, despite some reforms and a growing consciousness of holistic health and the needs and interests of a diverse population. Even though, as noted above, dental schools have changed admissions criteria to recruit and cultivate more women and minorities, they still have not moved away from the hierarchical, scientific paradigm toward a more humanistic, holistic, and wellness approach that incorporates science and treatment as an equal not hegemonic component among other promising therapies.

While much remains to be done, appreciable progress is being made as some dentists are performing relationship-based dentistry and oral/systemic medicine with a focus on health and wellness instead of disease. The conclusions extracted from “relationship-based dentistry” seminars and forums agree largely with the author’s findings: Women have some social and biological relationship advantages in Dentistry, but the selection and training process in dental schools tends to negate this advantage. This selection and training process favors people with analytical, deductive aptitudes in science, engineering, tactics, and techniques, as well as a “thing” instead of a “people” orientation. The theoretical foundations for a paradigm shift are in place. The call for a more relationship-based, health-centered dentistry that includes the nurturing voice of women is loud and clear its time has come.