Women in Dentistry and Their 5 Defining Traits

How to Become a Leading Woman in the Industry 

Women in dentistry are equally as successful as men in dentistry. Nowadays, the women who thrive in male-dominated professions will admit that they owe a debt of gratitude to the women who came before them. Dentistry is no different. 

women in dentistry

We can trace the emergence of the prominent female dentists all the way back to the 18th century. 

Namely, Emeline Roberts Jones who is credited with being the first female dentist in the United States when she opened her practice in 1859.

Only a few years later in 1866, Lucy Beaman Hobbs Taylor graduated from an accredited dental college, becoming the first woman to do so. 

This type of courage blazed the trail that so many women walk down today. At the end of the 19th century, less than 1% of all dental students were women. 

Over the last century that number has steadily risen, but in the last 20 years there’s been a sharp rise in representation with an impressive jump from an 84/16 men-to-women ratio in 2001 to a 66.6/33.4 split in 2019. 

The number of women attending dental school has jumped in an even bigger way. In 1980, the total percentage of female dental students was 7%.  

But in 2017, the American Dental Association (ADA) Health Policy Institute said that number was hovering around 49%. 

Those numbers are impressive but they would disappoint in many European countries where it seems that being a dentist is predominantly female led. 

In 10 different European countries the total percentage of female dental school graduates is 70%.

However, where the numbers are lacking is in leadership roles. Currently, of all dental school deans across the US, only 18% are women. And in regards to state dental society presidents, only 28% are women. 

5 Key Traits of Leading Women in Dentistry

Dr. Kathleen T. O’Loughlin, executive chairwoman of the American Dental Association (ADA), has spearheaded the effort to recognize more leading women in dentistry.

In 2019, she was acknowledged for doing so by taking home the Association Forum’s 2019 Woman of Influence Award. 

“Over the course of my career, it’s been gratifying to see the growth of both women dentists and women leaders. We’re not done yet, and I’m excited to work with the next generation of women,” she said.

Given today’s progressive era, it’s without a doubt that more women are sure to follow in Dr. O’Loughlin’s footsteps. 

To that point, listed below are the top five key traits of women in dentistry. The big question is, does this describe you or a woman in the industry you know or work with?

  1. Good Problem Solvers
  2. Strong Ability to Lead
  3. Great Communicators
  4. Innovative Thinkers
  5. They Follow Through  

When you really think about it, cultivating these qualities is a skill. Possessing each one of these in tandem can often require tons of experience and sometimes even consulting an expert who has already conquered them.

Speak Directly to Female Experts in Dentistry

In the United States, it seems that the imbalances between men and women entering the industry was at one point quite spare. 

However, the accomplishments of women in dentistry have not been overlooked. Although tremendous strides have been made in the last 20 years, there is still work to be done. 

Leading the way for female leadership within the industry is Dental Whale. The organization’s top leadership consists of several leading women who have made massive strides in the industry.

To learn more about their team of female experts or to find out about 1-on-1 coaching sessions, visit www.dentalwhale.com/education.