Dentists Less Eager To Hire Male Dental Hygienists

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Some dentists would not hire a male dental hygienistOnly 70% of dentists said that they would hire a male hygienist if he were the most qualified candidate for the job, and 7% admitted they flat-out wouldn’t hire a man.

On the other hand, 17% said their dental practice currently employs a male hygienist.

""Public expectation dictates a female. I’d rather not be a trendsetter," said one dentist. But another said, “While I was initially skeptical, the male hygienists I’ve worked with are excellent and very well liked by their patients."

Female dentists vote no on discrimination

  • “As a female dentist, I have seen discrimination. Why should I discriminate on gender for my staff? I have had male dental assistants, but never had the opportunity to interview a male hygienist.” (New York dentist)
  • “Being a female dentist, I really don't think that gender is very important for a specific position. Technical ability and people skills are what counts.” (California dentist)
  • “I have worked with several male hygienists in the past. Very competent and willing to work with and female dentist.” (Nebraska dentist)
  • “What is the issue?? There are male dentists, are there not?? I am a female dentist and I have worked with a male assistant for several years!!"

Patients expect a woman

  • “In our society, most patients still expect a female hygienist, so why rock the boat?” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “Public expectation dictates a female. I'd rather not be a trend setter.” (Texas dentist)
  • “With me being the only male in an office of 11 females (including one female dentist), it would be too confusing to many patients to employ a male hygienist.” (Pennsylvania dentist)

Past failures

  • "I have tried it, but it did not work!!" (London, UK dentist)
  • “I had a male hygienists who was very good until he got caught-up with gossip and office politics, which was a shame, because he did a good job.” (Nebraska dentist)

Past successes

  • “While I was initially skeptical, the male hygienists I've worked with are excellent and very well liked by their patients.” (Minnesota dentist)
  • “I have hired male DA's and desk staff, and all have worked well.” (Massachusetts pediatric dentist)
  • “One worked at my practice for several years. I would hire another if needed!” (Minnesota dentist)
  • “I worked with one before and many patients preferred him!” (Illinois dental office worker)

I love my male hygienist

  • “He has been an integral part of my practice for 12 years. My patients, male and female, think the world of him and the excellent care he delivers. He is a real asset to my patients and my practice. I have a part-time female hygienist, also. She is excellent, as well, but most patients-of-record request the ‘him’ rather than the ‘her.'” (Louisiana dentist)
  • “I have employed male hygienists for over 40 years and they have been very positive assets to my practice. We currently employ 4 full time hygienists at this time. Three female and one male.” (California dentist)
  • “I have had male hygienists in my office before. Some of them are very gentle and caring… more so than some female hygienists I have had in the past.” (California dentist)
  • “My dental assistant is male. The clients love him.” (Bermuda dentist)
  • “My male hygienist has been with me almost 9 years. He is wonderful."
  • “Our hygienist is a wonderful addition to our practice, and the patients really like him."
  • “We have a Male dental Assistant who is very qualified and is very professional.” (General dentist)
  • “The male hygienists I've seen in practices that have them have all been excellent. The patients, staff, and the dentists like them very much.” (Ohio prosthodontist)

Gender doesn’t matter

  • “We have employed male RDH's in the past. It's the personality and qualifications that matter, not the gender of the employee.” (Maine dentist)
  • “I thought we were professionals, looking for the best people to do the job. Sex has nothing to do with it!"

Go, male hygienists!

  • “Bring ’em on!!!” (North Carolina dentist)
  • “Not enough of them.” (Texas dentist)

Maybe it’s better with men in the mix?

  • “I think they are more accepting of the authority of the dentist, get along better in general with the staff and don't have as much ‘attitude’ as female hygienists do. Many female hygienists, quite frankly, are prima donnas and act as such.” (Kentucky dentist)
  • “Changes the mix in the office in a good way…..It is interesting to see the way patients accept our new situation. I really have not had any problems. The women think it is cool and the men have someone to talk to about baseball and cars.” (New York dentist)

Male hygienists temp

  • “I've had some male temps in the past. Some patients had a hard time being comfortable with them.” (California dentist)
  • “We had a temp, and he was great.” (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • "A male hygienist temps at our office presently.” (Washington dentist)
  • “I have had several as temps. some good , some not so good.” (General dentist)
  • “I have had several male hygienists, mostly temps."


  • “Seems that they would be more likely to leave and less likely to work part-time.” (outside the US dentist)
  • “There is no difference other than the stereotypes. Patients see no difference only the staff and other female RDH feel intimidated thinking the male
    counterparts will be treated better…not true."

Propriety favors female hygienists

  • “Worried what may happen with female patients… Don't need the uncertainty. He would not be assisted as a male dentist almost always is.” (Connecticut dentist)

Maybe they’re all in the military

  • “I worked with male hygienists in the military, and they were excellent.” (Texas dentist)
  • “My guess is that the pool of male hygienists in the USA and CA is an extremely small one, approximating nonexistence, but perhaps a number of armed forces trained hygienists exist."


  • “There seem to be more male hygienists and assistants on the west coast.” (Illinois periodontist)
  • “Hey! The girls are into all other disciplines, why not let the boys do hygiene? The guys I know in nursing are as good as the lady RN's."
  • “No problem with males. I haven't know any that were particularly good (unless they were periodontists). I have known a lot of hygienists that weren't that good either.” (General dentist)


Note: Survey sample included 123 respondents.

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