Morris Park Dental Celebrates National Women’s Month

Did you know that March is Women’s History Month? Here at Morris Park, we have many women who make our practice whole, and we want to honor them and thank them for their hard work and for helping to make Morris Park Dental the excellent practice it is. While we have many talented females in Front Desk and Administrative roles, as well as Dental Assistants, we want to give a special shout-out to the female dental professionals our patients see for their clinical work: Our talented General & Cosmetic Dentist, Dr. Elena Holtzman; our Orthodontist, Dr. Maryam Hashemi; and our Dental Hygienists, Nicola Reidy and Rosetta Violetti.

Female Dental Professionals by the Numbers

Before 1970, the number of women in dentistry in the United States was virtually nonexistent, the lowest percentage in the Western world. In the 1960’s and 70’s, the women’s rights movement took off and an increasing number of women entered the dental profession. That number has steadily increased over the years.

It took a long time for women to become a consistent presence in dental schools. In 1970, only 1% of dental students were women. Initially, most dental schools would only take one or two women per year. There were also a few universities that did not permit any female dental students. Harvard, the first university-based dental school founded in 1867, did not accept women until 1952. Today women make up almost 50% all dental students.

In the 1970’s, fewer than 3.3% of American dentists were women. Today women make up 25% of practicing dentists, and in 2008 women accounted for 24% of deans and interim deans of dental schools. Geraldine Morrow, DMD, become the first female president of the American Dental Association (ADA) in 1991. The ADA projects that by the year 2020, women will make up 28% of the dental workforce. However, dentistry is behind other areas of medicine, where more than 30% of U.S. physicians are women.
While female dentists were eager to serve in the military, women were not even permitted to serve as medical professionals in the Army, Navy, and Air Force until 1949, by act of Congress.

It might seem incongruous then that other professions within dentistry are dominated by women. Currently, more than 90% of Dental Hygienists and Dental Assistants are women. Like nursing, dental hygiene is largely considered a “female” profession, even though male dental hygienists and assistants are undoubtedly qualified as well.

Our Dental Professionals

It is undeniable that women have come a long way in bridging the gender gap in dentistry, and we are proud to employ a number of talented female dental professionals:

Dr. Elena Holtzman: General & Cosmetic Dentist

Dr. Elena Holtzman is a General & Cosmetic Dentist, and can perform a wide array of treatment, whether you are experiencing a toothache, pain or sensitivity, are looking to get a more aesthetically appealing smile, or just need your six-month check-up. Dr. Holtzman loves helping her patients smile. Her services include: dental emergencies, dental crowns, porcelain or chairside bonded veneers, white composite fillings, bridges, dentures and partials, Invisalign, and Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance Therapy.
Dr. Holtzman is also an Invisalign-certified provider, which means she can help you get straighter teeth with invisible clear aligners (rather than traditional braces).
In addition, Dr. Holtzman has special training in creating Sleep Apnea appliances for her patients who have Sleep Apnea Disorder, which is characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Many patients find that the traditional CPAP therapy (a machine that covers you nose and mouth and forces air into your mouth) is claustrophobic, loud or uncomfortable, and may disturb their spouse’s sleeping as well.  Dr. Holtzman can help you get the good night’s sleep you deserve with Oral Sleep Apnea Appliance. This oral orthotic device is fitted to your mouth specifically and should be worn while you are sleeping to help keep your airway open.

Dr. Maryam Hashemi, Orthodontist

Dr. Maryam Hashemi is an orthodontic specialist who will get your smile in line! Children and adults of all ages use her services for traditional metal braces, when they have crooked teeth which are too severe to be treated with Invisalign. Dr. Maryam Hashemi is a graduate of Columbia University who will make you or your child feel at ease in her chair. You can trust your smile to Dr. Hashemi.

Nicola Reidy and Rosetta Violetti: Our Dental Hygienists

Our Registered Dental Hygienists, Nicola Reidy and Rosetta Violetti will get your smile cleaner, healthier and whiter in no time! Nicola and Rosetta are caring and concerned about their patients, and will make you feel at ease. Both Nicola and Rosetta work closely with the general dentists and specialists of Morris Park Dental to make sure their patients come in for their routine dental cleaning visits, whether they need a regular dental cleaning every 6 months, or they are on a higher frequency periodontal maintenance program even 3 to 4 months. They can also perform deep cleanings (periodontal scaling & root planing) to remove heavy buildups of plaque and calculus below the gumline. Even a regular cleaning can remove surface stains and get your teeth looking whiter, but if you want to get a noticeable difference, you can make an appointment with Nicola or Rosetta for Zoom In-Office Teeth Whitening, which will get your teeth up to six shades whiter!

Women’s Dental Needs

Do women have different dental needs then men? Yes, they do. Men and women all are susceptible to cavities, need to brush and floss daily, and need to get our teeth cleaned twice a year. On the other hand, women do have different needs in their dental care then men need for their teeth.

Hormonal Needs

Recent studies have shown that women have a higher chance of gingivitis then men due to hormones levels. The soft tissues become inflamed from hormone levels. Certain types of bacteria also increase when these hormone levels are elevated. When the bacteria cause problems like gingivitis, a robust program of good oral hygiene is in need.


One hormonal change that can affect teeth in women is pregnancy. Many women experience more sensitive gums during pregnancy.  Gums can become sore, inflamed, and bleed. Some women suffer from gingivitis during pregnancy and may need extra dental check-ups and cleanings. If women do not care for teeth properly during pregnancy, they may suffer from pregnancy tumors inside the mouth. These tumors do disappear after the baby is born, but it can affect the baby’s birth weight. During pregnancy, women can crave acidic foods and may vomit more, which wreaks havoc on teeth. Visiting a dentist during pregnancy can help wonders.

Oral Cancer Prevention

Even though men do suffer from oral cancer, those cancers are mostly due to tobacco and alcohol use. Women nowadays are showing increased numbers in oral cancers. Some are from also tobacco and alcohol use, but studies are finding another correlation that is affecting women. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common STD in women, which could cause oral cancer. During your 6 month dental checkup, your dentist and hygienist will check for oral cancer.

Whether you need a cleaning, dental restoration, or orthodontic work, the female dental professions of Morris Park Dental have you covered! Our female dentists are making strides in the profession, and no one is better suited than them to give our female patients the treatment they need!

Give us a call to schedule an appointment today at (718) DR-SMILE (718-377-6453)!