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J Am Dent Assoc. 2011 Apr;142(4):429-40.

Differences in male and female dentists' practice patterns regarding diagnosis and treatment of dental caries: findings from The Dental Practice-Based Research Network.

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  • 1Department of Community Dentistry and Behavioral Science, College of Dentistry, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.



A number of articles have addressed differences in productivity between male and female dentists, but little is known about differences between the sexes in practice patterns regarding caries management.


In this study, the authors surveyed general dentists who were members of The Dental Practice-Based Research Network (DPBRN) and who practiced within the United States. The survey included questions about dentists', practices' and patients' characteristics, as well as prevention, assessment and treatment of dental caries. The authors adjusted the statistical models for differences in years since dental school graduation, practice model, full-time versus part-time status, and practice owner or employee status before making conclusions about sex differences.


Three hundred ninety-three male (84 percent) and 73 female (16 percent) dentists participated. Female dentists recommended at-home fluoride to a significantly larger number of their patients than did male dentists, whereas male dentists had a preference for using in-office fluoride treatments with pediatric patients. Female dentists also chose to use preventive therapy more often at earlier stages of dental caries. There were few differences between the sexes in terms of diagnostic methods, time spent on or charges for restorative dentistry, and busyness of the practice.


Female DPBRN dentists differ from their male counterparts in some aspects of the prevention, assessment and treatment of dental caries, even with significant covariates taken into account.


The practice patterns of female dentists suggest a treatment philosophy with a greater focus on caries prevention.

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