Dentistry has changed, especially in recent decades. I’m not just referring to advances in technology and treatments. I’m talking about the fact that the number of women in dentistry has skyrocketed. Where women dentists used to be a rarity, now more than half the dentists in the US are women. In fact, it’s been that way since 2014! As a marketing agency that works exclusively with dentists, we have witnessed this amazing surge of female dentists first hand. Over the years, we have noticed that more of our clients are female owner practitioners or dental practices with at least one female associate.
The number of women entering the dental field each year is expected to keep increasing, and that means, more women either owning their own practices or in leadership positions within the industry. I have been known to jokingly say that, as a female entrepreneur who focuses on a niche market — dentists — maybe it would pay to narrow my focus even further to just women dentists. I joke about it, but in my mind, I know that, with the steady rise of women in the field, there is and will continue to be a need for someone who has real-world experience in dental marketing and who can also relate personally to the challenges and the advantages of being a woman business owner.
I believe that women are uniquely suited to dentistry because we are, for the most part, naturally empathetic and often more capable of splitting our focus without diminishing our effectiveness. I don’t want to sound like a traditionalist, but it is true to this day, even with all the advancements that we have made, women are more likely to take on the majority of the household responsibilities than our male colleagues do. It’s a challenging position to be in, but it is also an advantage, because we learn quickly how to prioritize. We become expert multi-taskers and delegators. Being in charge of a household and a business at the same time is also an incredible lesson in time management. All of these qualities are extremely useful in dentistry. It’s not to say that men aren’t great at all of these things, but I think that women might just be a little better at them.
The male dentists I work with are highly professional and typically very successful doctors. I’ve been fortunate to be able to find male clients who are open minded and who believe that working with a woman brings a unique and welcome perspective to their practices. I wouldn’t give them up for the world. My female clients, however, are really special. They understand that to be successful in a traditionally male-dominated field like dentistry, you have to be tenacious and willing to make sacrifices, but you also have to be honest with yourself and admit where you’re most vulnerable. Then, you surround yourself with people who will make you less so.
The women dentists I work with have one big thing in common. They are all great team builders. They are excellent at finding others who are on their wavelength and connecting with them. I see that these women support other women in the field and other women in general, often banding together in one form or another, whether through employment opportunities or business networking, or even just socially. I think, for my female clients, it feels more like a community, and they see the value in supporting and promoting each other rather than just being purely competitive. I’m not saying that women dentists aren’t competitive. They most certainly are, but they also understand that women supporting other women is how we create more opportunities today and in the future.
I’m proud to be a female entrepreneur, and I am proud of my female clients. It takes courage to be your own boss, especially when you find yourself surrounded mostly by men. Women dentists are making waves, and that’s a good sign that the industry is changing for the better. I am glad to be a part of that change, helping women dentists grow their practices and carve out their own niches for themselves. In a climate where there have been some pretty dark days, I look to my female clients and I see a very bright spot that just keeps getting bigger and bigger.