When it comes to health, wellness, and beauty, most people want the best doctor and the best dentist caring for them. I hear more and more friends and patients tell me they have decided they will choose only female healthcare providers. And it’s not just my female patients. Men and women alike are putting preference in women to care for their health and the health of their families.
Glove Size: What can I Say? I wear extra-small gloves. My hands are much smaller than my male colleagues’ hands, and small hands is a benefit to my patients. It gives me an advantage because it’s easier for me to maneuver. It’s easier for me to reach hard-to-reach areas, and it’s easier for me to deliver fine quality in a tiny working space (aka – your mouth).
Soft Touch: This might go along with hand size, but we (female dentists) typically have a delicate touch. Patients experience this as a more gentle experience. Dozens of patients tell me stories of “the time he (their former dentist) practically had to put his knee into my chest while he was forcefully working on my teeth.” To be honest, this story is hard for me to believe, but I have had so many patients tell me similar stories that it must actually happen. I can’t imagine how frightening that must be, and I assure my patients that we will never have experiences like that in my practice.
Ears That Work: IMO, listening is an important part of my job. In any medical or dental situation, the information spoken by the patient is extremely important. Patients experience senses differently from one another. When you’re describing your symptoms, your description can be miles apart from how another person describes the same problem. If my ears are not open and intune to what you’re saying, I’ll miss important information, and it could result in lower quality care for you. Maybe men have equally capable ears, but it seems like patients complain a lot about doctors simply not listening to what patients are saying. As a dentist, the more I listen to you, the more clues I gather about the health of your mouth and teeth. And, as a cosmetic dentist, the more I listen to you, the more I can visualize exactly what you want for your smile. Listening to you gives me the edge I need to give you results beyond what you ever thought possible.
Compassion: I hate shots. For as long as I can remember I always have. I wish I didn’t. I wish I had more courage about it. I wish I could be like my friends who think shots don’t hurt. But I’m a wuss when it comes to shots. It dawned on me when I was in dental school that I was going to be giving a lot of shots to a lot of people. And I decided I needed to learn how to be the best shot-giver ever. I studied a lot of techniques, and found some tricks that really work. And my patients really appreciate it, because my shots don’t hurt (most of my patients are surprised they don’t feel the shot at all). This is just one example of the things I do to improve your experience in my practice. Historically, people don’t like going to the dentist. I’ve examined the things they don’t like, and I’ve made changes in my practice to improve the overall experience for my patients. (read more on this in my blog “the UN-dentist”)
ego: Instead of EGO. Let’s face it, some cosmetic surgeons and dentists have huge egos. Your smile becomes more about your dentist than about you. Smart confidence goes a long way in my ability to deliver the results you want for your smile. I can’t stand when someone is being condescending to me, and patients hate it when doctors have that “air.” I feel the need to check my ego at the door, so I can truly listen to your wants and needs. I know a lot of dentists who believe they know better than their patients, and they end up delivering the same smile over and over to every patient they treat.
Nerd: OK, that isn’t a female-only characteristic. But it is an important factor in choosing the best dentist or the best cosmetic dentist. The fact that I love learning the newer, better treatments is a benefit to all of my patients. I am driven to deliver the best in the care I provide. The only way I can succeed is if I am a continual student and always seek opportunities to be better.
There you have it. A small-handed, soft-touched, compassionate, confident (but not ego-maniacal), nerdy, good listener. If you ask me, that describes a person that most people want as a healthcare provider. And from my experience, the list describes quite a few more women than men. Perhaps this explains the trend that, when it comes to your health, more and more people are choosing women to be in charge.