Friday, May 8, 2009


I've always wondered why it seems like there are so few female dentists. I have speculated that perhaps it's one of those professions that is still dominated by men due to stereotypes (the whole men-are-dentists-and-women-are-hygienists thing). Of course, this possibility has always rather ticked me off.

But yesterday, as my [male] dentist was leaning way over my face to apply sealant to two of my back molars, I realized the true reason DDS is primarily a male title. And that reason is breasts. In the dental world, they're an occupational hazard. Seriously. If my dentist had been a woman, her breasts would've been resting against my face--even if they were moderate-sized breasts. Perhaps there's some sort of chest-size limitation placed on dental-school applicants, and most women are over the limit.

I know what you're thinking: But hygienists work on your teeth too, and they're almost always women. And some of the hygienists who've cleaned my teeth in the past could perhaps even be described as buxom.

Yes, this may be the case. But hygienists, even when cleaning your back teeth, do not have to contort their bodies in the same ways--or insert as many instruments into your mouth at once--as dentists do. And the task of cleaning someone's teeth, while requiring delicacy, precision, and thoroughness (and sometimes involving sharp implements), does not carry the same mandate of perfection--and the same potential for causing significant pain and blood loss--as the task of drilling into someone's root canal or injecting copious amounts of Novocain into someone's jaw does.

While many female hygienists have had to hunch over me in the past, their bodies within millimeters of my shoulder, not one of them has ever bumped me in the face with her chest. And that's exactly what my dentist (did I mention that he's male? and breastless?) did to me yesterday.

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