Work-Life Balance For Female Dentists

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We know the dental industry is changing. Take, for example, the rise in dental service organizations (DSOs) and group practices, an aging population, an increase in specialty practices, and the impact of technology.

Did you also know that for the first time, the number of male and female dental school graduates is about equal? Women are changing the face of dentistry, and with it, they’re changing the requirements of what it means to be a successful dentist. Women are adapting their careers to their life, not the other way around. Here’s how they’re doing it, and what it means for the future of dentistry.

Follow these guidelines for general work/life balance in dentistry, from our blog: “Work/Life Balance for New Dentists.”

Flexible Schedules

According to an ADA study, female dentists work an average of 32.8 hours per week, compared to 35 hours for male dentists. Work/life balance is not just a women’s issue, but more often, women tend to take on greater roles in caring for the family. One of the ways women dentists are making their careers work for them is with a nontraditional staffing model.

In most cases, this means owning a group practice with other dentists to share the workload. The other route is the DSO. Either option allows dentists to work three or four days a week, or shorter days, and still advance in their career. An added benefit to dental practices with non-traditional staffing is the option to add another day, like Saturday, because the staff coverage is spread out enough. In turn, this creates opportunities for more revenue, because a Saturday appointment is very attractive to patients. Plus, with DSOs, there are added benefits, like continuing education and management training.


Whether a woman dentist owns her own private practice or works in a non-traditional staffing environment, delegating is a must. There are only so many hours in the day, after all. Examples of areas where women can delegate responsibilities – personally or professionally – include (but certainly aren’t limited to):

  • Childcare
  • Errands
  • Cleaning and household responsibilities
  • Financial management (hire a CPA and/or financial planner)
  • Personnel management
  • Scheduling

In addition, hiring a dental assistant or an associate is a great way to leverage time in the office – and expand your team with another knowledgeable dental professional.

Set Boundaries

Time is a valuable asset. It’s important for women who are juggling multiple responsibilities to set boundaries and protect their time. Here’s how other women took back more of their time:

  • Gave up or limited social media and TV
  • Say “no”
  • Block off time for specific tasks, like paperwork
  • Limit socializing at work

Follow Their Lead

Dentaltown began a Women In Dentistry series earlier this year, profiling successful and inspiring female dentists. Read more about them below:

Reflections on Leadership, Balance, and Giving Back – March 2017

Lessons Learned Through 30 Years of Practice – May 2017

Multi-Office Success Story – June 2017

Women dentists can achieve work/life balance with a combination of creative scheduling and proactive planning. As women continue to reinvent dentistry, the industry can respond to and adapt to consumer trends.  After all, dentistry is one of the best careers!