Women and men are different

She's more focused on prevention, according to researchers.

A recent study has found female and male dentists differ in treatment choices. After answering a survey about aspects of care they provided, researchers discovered female dentists were more likely to recommend at-home fluoride treatments for children. Women also tended to treat more children than male dentists.

The study included 393 male and 73 female dentists. All were members of The Dental Practice-Based Research Network. This is a group of dentists and researchers in several areas of the United States, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The study appears in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, and an online copy can be seen here.

Female dentists were more likely than males to offer any type of fluoride treatment to adults. But women who had been practicing dentistry the longest were the least likely to offer fluoride to adults. Those who had recently graduated from dental school were the most likely.

For treatment of decay between teeth, female dentists tended to be more conservative than male dentists. They recommended preventive treatment at stages of decay when male dentists tended to recommend filling the tooth.

Researchers also found that recent dental school graduates were less likely to recommend fillings for early decay on chewing surfaces of teeth. This was true for both males and females.

The study found that male and female dentists assessed risk for tooth decay in much the same way. They also spent equal amounts of time placing fillings and doing root-canal treatments. They worked in equally busy offices.

Other studies have shown that more recently graduated dentists are less likely to recommend fillings. They also are more likely to recommend preventive treatment at early stages of decay. In this study, women on average were more recent graduates of dental school than men. The study took account of these differences in comparing male and female dentists.


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