Group Dentistry Now (April 9, 2021): Dr. Anna McGuire has built a successful practice and earned a stellar reputation for dentistry near Dayton, OH all while raising three children and volunteering in her community. Rarely was the journey over the past two decades easy but she has a clear message for young women who might follow in her footsteps: “You can do it all.”
“I remember when I was in dental school or even before going into dental school, in my mind I could do it all,” Dr. McGuire said. “I’m still the same kid who doesn’t see a barrier of being a female versus a male. You’re a doctor. I don’t see a barrier because of age. I don’t see a barrier because I’m mixed-race compared to a Caucasian or an African-American. I don’t see any of that. The biggest thing is not having those barriers in your own head.”
Dr. McGuire, who practices at Stonecreek Dental Care in Kettering shared her thoughts as part of a Women in Dentistry (WinD) panel with three other North American Dental Group (NADG) supported female clinical leaders. The virtual event – Challenges, Opportunities, and Growth Within Leadership Roles – was held in late March and capped NADG’s celebration of Women’s History Month. WinD is an initiative started by NADG in 2019 to empower women in dentistry and advocate for equity.
Dr. McGuire was joined by Dr. Anna Warnock, of Complete Dental Care in Shadyside, OH and Dr. Mary Ann Hollis, of Grove Dental Associates in Lombard, IL as panelists. The event was moderated by Dr. Farah Kar, an orthodontist at Braces Braces in Atlanta, GA, who shared her own insights for an audience that included doctors, hygienists, and dental students. The women covered a variety of topics during their discussion from what advice they would give to young women considering careers in dentistry to how best to balance work and raising a family.
The comments from the women come amid a developing crossover in dentistry.
While the profession is still dominated by males, the number of licensed female dentists has steadily risen over the past two decades and is currently at an all-time high. Last year, 35-percent of the 201,000 dentists in the United States were female, according to the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute (HPI). Compare that to 16-percent in 2001.
“It is amazing when you look at a timeline and you look at the last 5, 10, 15, 20 years and how suddenly there’s been such a huge change,” said Dr. Kar. “Obviously, we need more change, but it has been amazing to watch.”
And there is reason to expect that there will be more change with data revealing the majority of students in the pipeline to become dentists are women. In 2020, nearly 52-percent of pre-doctoral dental students in the U.S. were women and about 51-percent of the class of 2019 dental graduates were women, according to HPI.
As the number of female dentists increases, so too does their voice in shaping the future of dentistry and role as leaders in dental service organizations (DSO). Dr. McGuire and Dr. Warnock are both NADG partners and regional dental directors. Dr. Hollis is an NADG partner and dental director for her group in the Chicago-area. And Dr. Kar is an NADG partner. NADG’s non-clinical executive team also features two women leaders – Chief Marketing & Advertising Officer Teresa Hammond and Chief Operating Officer Kristen Kerns.
Dr. Hollis believes women approach dentistry differently than men and encourages future female dentists to not shy away from their instincts.
“I think we are very relationship oriented. I’m not saying we care more (than men) but we get more involved with our patients and we get to know them, we get to know their families, and we get to know what they want,” said Dr. Hollis. “I think sometimes people are hesitant and would think we don’t want to know. But that’s the most exciting part of dentistry for me, knowing my patients.”
Dr. Warnock says another benefit of the profession are the flexible hours that supports time away from work to raise a family.
“We do have the luxury of being in a profession where there is the ability to have balance. And when we get out of balance, more often than not it is self-inflicted,” Dr. Warnock said. “We put that pressure on ourselves. All of these things are jumbling in your head and let’s face it, as a new mom you are exhausted.”
“Enjoy the journey. Rest when you need it. Give yourself a break. Don’t expect too much from yourself. And take the help,” Dr. Warnock said.
Dr. Kar adds that if you wish to see improvement in the office or at home, be the change you want to see.
“It’s modeling. If you want to be a compassionate person then you need to model that,” Dr. Kar said. “If you want to be someone who is approachable and relatable, and you want your staff to be loving and caring then you need to model that.”
Women in Dentistry (WinD) is a group to empower women in the industry and build equity for all. Founded by North American Dental Group (NADG), WinD is committed to:
• Provide professional and personal development opportunities to enhance women’s leadership and clinical skills
• Enhance equity in the industry
• Inspire and mentor girls and females of all ages to pursue careers in the dental industry
For more information, please contact us at WinD@nadentalgroup.com.