Am I Wrong for Wanting a Female Dentist?

I wanted the opinion of a male dentist because I’ve been accused of being sexist. I have always preferred a female dentist. Actually, I’ve always preferred a female medical practitioner of any kind. I was a victim of sexual assault in my teen years and am very uncomfortable around men in certain situations. I have to have my wisdom teeth removed. Apparently, it should have been done several years ago, but my last dentist never mentioned it. I want to be put out for the procedure. My current dentist doesn’t perform sedation of any kind. I asked for the names of some good oral surgeons. All the names she gave me are male. I asked her for a female one and she said she didn’t know any so couldn’t give me a recommendation for that. I called my insurance but they said there aren’t in my network and I was being a bit sexist for requesting a female. But, the idea of being out without a female terrifies me. Do you think I’m wrong? What do I do if I can’t find one?


Dear Miriam,

Woman asleep from sedation dentistry

I don’t think you’re being a sexist, especially with your history. If other people don’t understand that it doesn’t matter. Your insurance is there to serve you not the other way around. Though it will be nearly impossible for you to find a female oral surgeon, for reasons I’ll explain in a moment, I do have a solution for you. Only 2% of oral surgeons in the country are women. We have no idea why women don’t find the field appealing, but they don’t.

Sedation Options

Instead of looking for a female oral surgeon, I’d look for a female sedation dentist. You’d be the perfect candidate for oral conscious sedation. It relaxes you completely. While most patients end up sleeping through the procedure, you are still conscious. You can react to the dentist and even talk to him if you want to. But, don’t panic. It is still pain-free.

You will need someone to drive you to and from the appointment as well as stay with you throughout the day. You’ll be a tad unsteady on your feet. Plus, you didn’t mention your age. You did say you should have had this done earlier in your life. You should be aware that the older you are when your wisdom teeth are extracted, the more chance there is for complications. That would be a second reason to have someone stay with you.

If you truly want to be put out, like with traditional surgery, or on the off chance you can’t find a female sedation dentist, that doesn’t mean you can’t get your work done. You could use a male oral surgeon but insist they have women present during the procedure. Truthfully, most surgeons have women on their team already. But, if they don’t, given your particular situation they should be willing to add one if they don’t.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steven Collins.