Lincoln dentist hopes to inspire future women to pursue profession | Local

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There was by no means any query whether or not Dr. Susan Christensen could be a dentist — she was raised to be one.

Counting numbers and the ABC’s weren’t the one issues she realized early on in life. Christensen’s mom, who labored as a dental hygienist, taught her methods to sew, cross sew and write the wrong way up and backwards — all high-quality motor abilities that her mom mentioned would assist her turn into an important dentist.

“I felt like I used to be form of groomed for it,” she mentioned.

Now with greater than 40 years of expertise, Christensen works to instill the identical lifelong ardour for dentistry in different ladies.



When Dr. Susan Christensen first began her dentistry profession, the career was closely male-dominated. The speed of feminine graduates from UNMC Faculty of Dentistry has elevated from 9% within the early 80’s to 56% this 12 months, in line with UNMC. 




“I am a giant supporter of encouraging ladies to do something,” Christensen mentioned. “Go on your goals and keep in mind you possibly can nonetheless do all of it. You may have an exquisite profession, fantastic dwelling life and an exquisite household all of sudden. Don’t let anybody inform you what your limits are.”

Christensen comes from a protracted line of male dentists in her household, together with her grandfather and father.

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Eastview Household Dental — now at 5640 South St. — was first opened by Christensen’s grandfather in 1922 and celebrated its one centesimal anniversary earlier this month. Christensen’s father later owned the apply.

She teamed up together with her father at Eastview Household Dental instantly following her commencement from the College of Nebraska Medical Middle Faculty of Dentistry in 1981 they usually turned the primary father-daughter apply within the Midwest.

“It has been such a privilege to work right here,” Christensen mentioned. “I’m so happy with my household. I simply completely adore them. I obtained to look at my dad and grandfather love dentistry and that made it very easy for me to do the identical.”

When she first began her profession, the career was closely male-dominated. The speed of feminine graduates from the UNMC Faculty of Dentistry has steadily elevated from 9% within the early 80’s to 56% this 12 months, in line with UNMC.

At first, not everybody was prepared to permit a lady to work on their enamel, she mentioned. However that did not cease her.

“Individuals would name and say, ‘Wait, is that this a lady? I am going to wait a 12 months to see your dad as an alternative,'” Christensen mentioned. “However now I actually really feel prefer it’s flipped blocks.”

Christensen focuses on empathy, compassion and kindness, which she believes has been a giant issue within the change in narrative. Her niece by marriage, Erika Etzelmiller, who will graduate from dental college in 2024, agreed.

“I believe it is little issues the place folks won’t suppose you are as certified since you’re a lady in dentistry, however as quickly as you are in a position to do an excellent job on them lots of instances they notice that ladies do make nice dentists as a result of we’re naturally very empathetic and good caregivers,” Etzelmiller mentioned.

Etzelmiller plans to hitch her personal father at Pine Lake Dental as soon as she graduates from UNMC and can be following in her grandfather’s footsteps — similar to Christensen.

Whereas Etzelmiller’s class is over half feminine — in contrast to Christensen, who graduated with eight different ladies — she has nonetheless skilled folks doubting her option to turn into a dentist.

“While you inform folks as a lady that you just’re in dental college, they robotically assume you imply hygiene college or dental helping college,” she mentioned. “I believe that whereas the numbers of candidates in dental college proper now replicate extra women than boys, society nonetheless thinks of a dentist as being a male.”

Exterior of the workplace, Christensen travels internationally to lecture on orthodontics and is an adjunct professor for UNMC, Spear Training visiting school and a fellow within the Worldwide Faculty of Dentists. She can be a member of the Nebraska Dental Affiliation, American Academy for Beauty Surgical procedure and American Dental Affiliation.

Oftentimes when lecturing, she has ladies ask how she has managed to keep up a profitable profession and a tight-knit household.

The important thing, Christensen mentioned, is discovering stability.

“One thing’s obtained to provide,” the mom of three and now grandmother mentioned. “So what if the laundry is not at all times executed on time and also you didn’t repair the right meal for your loved ones? One thing’s obtained to provide if you wish to be an important spouse, mom, practitioner and member of the family.”

Joann Herrington has been a affected person at Eastview Household Dental for greater than seven years and mentioned she’s caught with Christensen due to her kindness, background and curiosity in others.

“She cares about her sufferers,” Herrington mentioned. “I’m very, very a lot in awe of what she has executed in her life particularly in a subject that was completely dominated by males when she entered it. However it’s additionally clearly her ability that drew me to her. She’s the most effective dentists. I do not simply let each good particular person drill on my enamel.”


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