Dentistry is among the top 5 best professions for women globally. To confirm whether the same applies to women in India, I met two amazing warm and jovial women who have been practicing this craft for 15 years now. Dr Vaishali Sawant and Dr Shilpa Mittal have both have completed their studies in a prestigious institute like the GDC, Mumbai. They then had further exposure to dentistry while practicing in the first world countries. Dr Vaishali pursued her FDSRCS from UK and Dr Shilpa successfully completed her certification in cosmetic dentistry from NYU, USA.

According to them, Dentistry is a great career option for women to pursue due to the following factors:

  • It allows a controlled work environment as your office can be located close to your house and the best part is that you have flexible work hours. Most modern dental clinics work with a prior set appointment schedule.
  • As women, we need to take sabbaticals and dentistry allows it. We can adapt our working hours to suit the changing needs on the domestic front.
  • On a lighter note it’s a common joke about women’s obsession with colour specifics, however this precisely works to our advantage here. As dentists we need to see 64 different shades of “Pearly Whites.”
  • Given the notoriety that dentistry has faced, it’s always nice to feel gentle hands while you visit to the dentist.
  • Warm and empathetic approach that comes naturally to women is also an added advantage.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

On asking the flip side of the profession, Dr Mittal jokes that it’s all "manual labor". However on a serious note they both feel that starting a modern dental clinic can be quite capital intensive as you find yourself reinvesting continuously - there is a lot of plough back for a conscientious dentist. It’s an ongoing process of upgrading and updating ourselves.

According to them, given the advent of newer materials and treatment options, only 20% of what they learnt in college is now applicable. Black silver fillings are replaced by tooth coloured fillings, removable dentures are replaced by fixed implants. Braces and wires are soon getting replaced by aligners.

The Movement of teeth affects the lower half of the face. When a young girl goes in for an orthodontic treatment, it’s not just that her teeth get aligned but her lower half of the face takes a better form as well.

Cosmetic dentistry helps you to change the shade, shape of not just your teeth but also your gums. Dr Sawant enlightens us on how Derma Fillers and Lip Plumper’s can enhance your smile. From bleaching that can make teeth brighter and whiter to veneers that give you a complete smile makeover. Smile makeovers are very rewarding, they say that it actually changes the person’s personality- they start smiling more and are perceived as confident and friendly.

Apart from pure cosmetics they caution women to not to ignore dental health, especially post 35 years of age. Pregnancy and hormonal changes greatly affect gums. Missing molars (grinders) or even worn off teeth decreases the lower facial height and can add age to your face as well. Conditions like Diabetes, Thyroid issues and Osteoporosis also result in receding of gums. Regular Dental visit can slow down their bad effects.