People on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum often face micro-aggressions and discrimination, especially when trying to make an appointment. One example occurs when a patient tells their dentist that they have to call their spouse to confirm their appointments. The well-meaning dentist reassures them that they can call the office at any time, even if their spouse isn’t available to answer the phone.
This type of discrimination can have serious health implications for LGBT patients, such as a lack of access to affordable oral healthcare. LGBT people are also more likely to use tobacco products, which increases their risk of gum disease and tooth loss. Additionally, they may be afraid that their insurance company will deny or delay coverage based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
In response to these barriers, students at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine have created a resource guide that provides tips for LGBTQ-inclusive patient care. One of those students is Riley, president of the Penn Pride Alliance and a third-year student. In this article, we speak with Riley about what a dental practice can do to be more inclusive for LGBTQ patients and why it’s important. We also discuss some of the ways in which this community is already being served by the dental profession. Read on for more!