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Prior to 1980, female dentists were a minority in an industry dominated by male dentists. Fewer than 3% of dentists were female in 1980. Today, women represent an estimated 19% of the dental workforce in the United States. A larger percentage of dentists are females in Costa Rica.
Many female and male dental patients alike are considering Costa Rica for affordable dental care. Many of these patients are choosing female dentists for their care. Why? A female dentist is more likely to have a comforting presence and offers more a more calming bedside manner. This calming effect lowers the stress felt by anxious dental patients and makes them feel more comfortable and at home. What other reasons do patients offer for their preference for female dentists in Costa Rica?
Female dentists are more likely to discuss conditions with patients and more caring. They are perceived to be less rushed when speaking with a patient. Female dentists have been described as making decisions based more on “sensitivity” (personal values, empathy and thoughtfulness) than men, who base decisions on more “rational” traits (judgment, steadiness, objectivity).
Researchers have found that female dentists take a more conservative approach to restorative dentistry. A more conservative approach often results in less pain and less expensive solutions.
More compassionate care is the norm among female care providers. Dr. Oriana González at Sonria Dental Boutique feels that this rings true.
“When I meet with a patient, my first instinct is to listen and understand how the patient lives. I ask myself, ‘How can I improve his or her life.’ I always seek the most reasonable, cost effective and minimally-painful method to achieve my optimal results. Are there teeth that can be preserved?”
For dentists like Dr. Gonzalez, conservative treatment is always the rule. She listens to her patients and then recommends the best treatment plan, customized for the specific needs of each patient.