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Women in Dentistry: Beyond the Chair

As a woman practicing in dentistry, you have the added pressure to always be extraordinary, to live up to the expectations set by those before you. Expectations that were built in a world in which you were not always granted a seat at the table, nor could you always freely share your voice. So much progress has been made since then as women have paved their own pathway through the dental field. We, at Tokuyama Dental America, are incredibly proud of all the women in dentistry and especially those that we have the pleasure of working with. To best honor their work and unique experiences, we asked a few key opinion leaders to share their story, along with the challenges they face in a once male-dominated profession.

image1(Figure 1, Stock Image of Woman Cleaning Teeth)

Passion Behind the Practice

What inspires you? What is that drive that gets you out of bed and into the office, day in and day out? We asked Dr. Melissa Seibert what inspired her to take the plunge into the world of dentistry, and she was able to recognize that “having a beautiful and healthy smile can do so much for someone’s quality of life. It can raise their self-esteem and enable them to reflect happiness back into the world.” She stated, “As a dentist, I have the unique opportunity to help patients have the smile they’ve always wanted.” Dr. Jersy Chen similarly notes, “there’s an indescribable sense of reward and empowerment in making such positive impacts on their(patients) lives, and that's what fuels my dedication to what I do every day.” For Dr. Sable Muntean, her inspiration is more of a who than a what. Growing up with a father who is a dentist and being around the dental industry from such a young age she saw “the love for the profession he had and couldn’t help but follow in his footsteps as I found the same passion for it in me.” While many are guided by the change they bestow onto their patients, Dr. Kaylee Salesky was initially driven by her own experience as a young patient. She shares, “I was inspired to become a dentist after I first got my braces off. Seeing my smile was one of the first times that I felt confidence in myself, and I wanted to be able to provide that same confidence for other people.”  Various paths guided each of these women into dentistry and through these paths, they have taken to inspiring other young women to follow in suit. 

 

Giving Back Lifts Us All

As a community, we all have a chance to break down past societal norms regarding traditional gender roles in the workplace. One way to do this is by continuing to lift women up and giving them more platforms to share their voice. 
Dr. Carla Cohn encourages other women “through her continued education events and her social media” and setting them up for success. She adds, “it is one of the most satisfying and gratifying parts of what I do here, that I have made an impact on someone else.” From her side, Dr. Muntean is extremely proud to be a part of an organization called igniteDDS which allows her “the privilege of speaking around the country to pre-dental and pre-doctoral students, as well as dentists of all ages to share her story and knowledge to elevate others.” Dr. Chen takes a more personal approach and has been “mentoring predominantly female pre-dental college students, many of whom come from local New York City colleges and my own alma mater, Cornell University. It brings me immense joy to see a growing number of women showing interest in what was historically a male-dominated profession.” Dr. Vondrak takes a community approach by working with a non-profit called Restored Wings. She explains that “this is an organization set up to help women who have been victims of sex trafficking. We put together personal hygiene kits and teach classes on oral health.”
Finding meaningful avenues to give back can be challenging, but it's crucial to make a positive impact in our communities. Ways you can get involved:

  • Donate or sponsor organizations such as Smiles for Success. They provide cost-free dental care to women graduates or other community agencies.

  • Become a mentor through a local association or your alma mater, like Dr. Chen.

  • Create social media content like Dr. Cohn to inspire the next generation.

  • Volunteer at a local nonprofit clinic.

By continuing to create space for women across dental platforms to have a voice, we can inspire others to pursue careers in dentistry and drive growth within the field.

Taylor Nelson
Taylor Nelson
My name is Taylor Nelson, and I am deeply passionate about the art of building relationships. As the professional relations specialist here at Tokuyama, I thrive on the connections I forge and the bridges I build between people and organizations. Writing has always been my medium of choice, as I believe in the power of words to inspire, inform, and unify.

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