James Brown claimed this is a man’s world, but with the number of female dentists rapidly increasing, it’s estimated that 31 percent of the dental workforce will be comprised of women by the year 2020.
Among women dentists leading the industry is Dr. LaJuan Hall, of Brentwood Children’s Dentistry. Hall, who has been practicing dentistry for more than 20 years, began her career in the Army in 1982. She later graduated from the UCSF School of Dentistry with a doctorate in dental surgery and graduate certificate in pediatric dentistry.
“In the 1980s, I served in the Army Reserves as a dental specialist, and there were not any female dentists in our unit,” she said. “The male doctors were wonderful, but it would have also been wonderful to see a woman in a leadership position.”
According to Hall, during the 1980s, very few women majored in math and science. Those who did had to forge their way into male-dominated fields. In 1980, only 3 percent of dentists in the US were women.
“It is wonderful to see the numbers improving for women graduates,” said Hall. “As a result of my own experience, I am inspired to mentor young women and encourage them to study as much math and science as possible. Networking and leadership development are very important factors in improving those statistics.”
When asked what her proudest accomplishment is thus far, Hall said it is graduating from UCSF, one of the best dental schools in the country.
“My training has prepared me to successfully build a thriving dental practice and serve as a volunteer to help others,” she said.
Last year, Hall received a 150th Anniversary Chancellor’s Award for leadership and community service from the University of California San Francisco.
While the number of women dentists continues to rise, many patients specifically seek them out for dental care, thinking they are more gentle and empathic than their male counterparts.
“I’ve never seen anyone so caring and so good at what they do,” said Brentwood resident Julia Brazina.
Brazina brought her 6-year-old daughter, Emma, who was terrified of the dentist, to Hall’s office after being told that her daughter could only be treated – even for simple x-rays – under general anesthesia by other dentists.
According to Brazina, Hall made the experience a positive one for Emma by introducing her to Mr. Biscuit, Hall’s dog, and letting her pick a movie. She also gave her a cozy blanket and had someone paint her nails while they completed an extraction.
“I was speechless and stunned,” said Brazina. “Emma loves Dr. Hall and can’t wait to go back for her next extraction. This is the only dentist we will ever take our kids to.”
Brentwood Children’s Dentistry is located at 2201 Balfour Road, Suite A, in Brentwood. For more information, call 925-308-7608 or visit www.brentwoodchildrensdentistry.com.