Work-pattern differences between male and female orthodontists

Jeffrey J Blasius, Eung-Kwon Pae
American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics 2005, 128 (3): 283-90; discussion 290-1

INTRODUCTION: Traditionally, most orthodontists have been men. In recent years, however, the number of women in dentistry and dental specialties, including orthodontics, has increased dramatically. Because practice patterns of male and female orthodontists might differ, they should be evaluated so that our schools can produce enough providers for the future.

METHODS: Questionnaires were mailed to 798 orthodontists; the response rate was 68.8%. Questions about practice behavior and productivity were designed to assess sex difference with respect to age, marital status, and number of children.

RESULTS: Number of children appeared to be a good predictor of days worked per week and length of leaves of absence for female orthodontists. Solo practitioners dominate the field of orthodontics, irrespective of age or sex. Although women were less likely than men to be practice owners, only 20% of the women responding were not in an ownership position. Women were slightly more likely to be involved in a group practice, they worked in fewer offices than men, and they employed fewer full-time and part-time people. Female nonowners were more likely to take longer leaves of absence. Overall, women worked slightly fewer days per week and spent fewer hours per week in direct patient care. Annually, they devoted 25 fewer days to practice than men, but, when adjusted for leaves of absence, men and women worked similar numbers of weeks in 1999.

CONCLUSIONS: Among orthodontists, work patterns of men and women differ somewhat, but these differences might not be as significant as other factors; more study is required.

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