Friday, 6 November 2015
I am a dentist and I am a girl
So the other day a patient who I had never seen came in because a bridge that a dentist had placed years ago was getting loose. Before I got in to see him, he asked my assistant if I was male or female. When she said I was female, he said he was told he was going to be seeing a man, and he would prefer that. My assistant said, "Dr. Jess knows what she's at, don't worry." And the man said that he just wanted someone with more experience. My assistant informed him that Dr. Jess and Dr. Jon graduated at the same time so have the exact same amount of experience. So he said he just though a man would know more about bridges is all.
I didn't hear this conversation, and when I came in, the patient explained to me that he had a loose bridge, that his previous dentist was the best, and asked me if I thought I could fix it. Ummm, yeah, I guess I can fix your old beat up bridge. He proceeded to tell me how to do my job. He said I should make sure things were dry. That is the key. And then the second thing is to make sure that the bite is right. You really need to be able to bite right, and then the bridge will be good, he said. That is seriously like telling a cook that the key to cooking a good chicken is to turn the oven on.
Days later, I go in with a patient who had severe dental anxiety when she first started seeing me 6 months ago. She heard about me from a friend, started seeing me for minor fillings, and has now had lots of dental work by me. This particular day we were doing an extraction. The tooth was totally bombed and was definitely going to be tough to get out. Anyway, she asked me if I was up for this extraction. I was like, yes, of course. She was like, it just doesn't seem like you are strong enough to take this tooth out. I laugh. Haha. She asked if there was someone who I could go get if I need backup. I laugh again. Hahahaha. She was like, no seriously, I just don't really want you to have to put your knee on my chest to get this tooth out because you aren't strong enough. Oh my.
I have written about this before. I am really not upset about this kind of thing. But I think it's worth sharing experiences and maybe, maybe, these two particular patients will feel more confident that a woman can be a dentist.