Gender differences in career and practice patterns of PGD-trained dentists

Kathryn A Atchison, Carol A Bibb, Karen H Lefever, Ronald S Mito, Sylvia Lin, Rita Engelhardt
Journal of Dental Education 2002, 66 (12): 1358-67
This study compares differences by gender in the practice patterns and professional activities of general dentists, specialists, and dentists with Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) or General Practice Residency (GPR) training. The UCLA School of Dentistry surveyed a random sample of 6,725 dentists graduating from dental school in 1989, 1993, and 1997 as part of an evaluation of the impact of federal funding on postgraduate general dentist (PGD) programs. The survey asked about current practice, services referred and provided, and professional activities. Of the 2,029 dentists (30 percent) who responded, 49 percent were general dentists with no specialty training; 7 percent had AEGD training; 20 percent had GPR training; and 24 percent had specialty training. General dentists were more likely to be in private practice (p < 0.05). AEGDs, specialists, and females were more likely to report faculty positions as a secondary occupation. General dentists were more likely to be practice owners than AEGD- or GPR-trained dentists. The mean number of patients seen was highest for specialists. Females reported fewer patients than males, and this difference was significant for GPR-trained dentists. With respect to services, GPR-trained dentists reported significantly more biopsy procedures, conscious sedation, periodontal surgery, and implants than general dentists. AEGD-trained dentists reported more conscious sedation than general dentists. GPR dentists were more likely to volunteer time than general dentists without specialty training. PGD training appears to result in different types of employment and specific practice patterns that strengthen primary care dentistry. We further conclude that there are gender differences in the types of practice, patients seen, and services provided. These findings occur in addition to training differences.


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