Practice Manager at Simply One Dental
It’s important to myself and my colleagues that we are there to support our patients. If we have better knowledge about their needs then we can be there for them.
Since we have become more pro-active about sexual orientation and trans status monitoring through Pride in Practice, we have definitely witnessed a marked increase in the number of our patients who are willing to share this information with us. This really helps us, as we don’t want to presume we know anything about our patients until they tell us. Hopefully when we are asking about medical histories, the more knowledge we have, the more we can help patients by asking appropriate questions and signposting them to specific services, if they are needed.
We want our LGBT patients to feel confident and safe when they talk to us. When they learn that we are an affirmative practice this makes it easier for them to talk to us about their oral health.
Many of our patients are young people in their teens and twenties and they don’t want us to make assumptions about their gender in any way. Having the option for them to identify as trans or non-binary has proved popular. Many of our staff are younger too and I feel they can relate to LGBT patients as they are often more knowledgeable about diverse identities. I do think more information on LGBT awareness is needed however, particularly with many older health care professionals. They might not be used to having conversations about sexual orientation or gender identity as this wouldn’t have been discussed as much, if at all, when they began working in their practices.
One area that I think is vital that we learn to talk about more is how our sexual health can affect the oral cavity (lips, lining of the lips and cheeks teeth, gums, the front of the tongue, the floor of the mouth and the roof of the mouth). The additional information we have received from Pride in Practice on issues such as HIV and testing etc. has certainly proved a real asset to us and this improves our knowledge and the support we can pass on to our patients too.