Screenwriter Alyssa Nutting tweeted about her daughter crying at the dentist office. Because other than inhaling laughing gas and getting into a giggling fit, what other emotion would you expect from a vulnerable child subjected to sharp instruments and drilling sounds?
This girl's anxiety stemmed from a bigger threat. Much to her dismay, the dentist was a man, and her confusion over the lack of a female dentist tending to her sparked a fiery conversation online about gender representation in American healthcare.
"My daughter started crying at the dentist office bc the dentist 'is a boy,'" Nutting said in a tweet on Monday. "The dentist said sorry, there are no girl dentists at this office' and my daughter looked at me and said 'why did we come here.'"
Some understood her daughter's plight, believing that a mother entrusting her child to someone of the same gender is of utmost importance.
Some lauded the girl's assessment from the dental chair.
Others believed that catering to a child for every inconvenience is something to monitor.
This mother said life is full of distressing situations but kids shouldn't be favorably accommodated for every setback. "My kid is uncomfortable with any dental work at all, but has to handle it! LIFE is uncomfortable."
One parent shared her own experience to prove that, sometimes, those subjected to life's misfortunes turn out fine.
Some were less forgiving and had a more aggressive point of view.
There were some who viewed the girl's observation as something that undermines gender equality among dentists.
Could the girl be on to something? The Fairfield Post reported the advantages of choosing female dentists over their male counterparts based on research data.
The article from May 26, 2015, said female dentists were better at dealing with prevention.
PBRN researchers found females had a much greater preference to offering cavity prevention regimens to their patients. They would offer these recommendations much earlier than their male counterparts too. Many of these solutions were at-home fluoride and other treatments for both pediatric and adult patients. This individualized care empowered patients and saved them money in the long run.
According to the report, the Washingtonian pointed out that women make better dentist because they're better at listening to their patients, alluding that female dentists are more attentive.
Interestingly, size does matter.
Researchers also found women have smaller hands which is more comfortable for the patient. When it comes to doing extractions or major work in your mouth, a smaller hand is actually better and less invasive.
Nutting's daughter could've been intimidated by the enormity of the male dentist's big hands performing his invasive checkup.
Although there have been some strides in the industry, only 31% of dentists in the U.S. are female as of 2017, according to the American Dental Association.