March is Women’s Empowerment Month, and today is National Dentistry Day. So here at Byte, we wanted to talk with one of the dentists in our network who truly embodies women’s empowerment. Meet Roz Saedi, DDS, and Dental Outreach Provider Consultant for Delta Dental.
Roz started working with Byte in the middle of the pandemic, but her history with transforming smiles—and looking up to in female role models—goes all the way back to her childhood.
Why did you get involved with dentistry?
I grew up really understanding the importance of oral health. My mom made sure I had dental checkups every three months. I was the only kid in elementary school that would go into the dentist on Halloween.
The dentist on Halloween? Why was dentistry so important to your mom?
My mom always wanted to be a dentist. She lived in Iran, but instead of being able to pursue a higher education, she knew the government was going to turn, and she would have to leave the country. Because of that, her parents pushed her to get married instead of going to school.
I really saw in my mom’s eyes how important it was for a woman to have a profession. While she’s very happy, she showed me in many ways the other things she could’ve also had in her life had the circumstances been different.
And so you chose dentistry?
I wanted to help people, and as a woman, I wanted to have an empowering profession. I’m also very crafty. Dentistry was the marriage of everything—a medical background, my creativity, a professional career—it was a very good for me.
According to the ADA only 34.5% of dentists are women. While that’s up from 24% in 2010, it’s still pretty male dominated. Do you think dentistry is a good field for women?
I think women in dentistry just makes sense. We have a gentle touch and are empathetic. So many people are afraid of the dentist—you’re in a vulnerable position, supine, and strapped in with the mouth wide open. I’ve found myself able to set them at ease.
I graduated from dental school at USC in 2014, and for my graduating class it was actually 46% male and 54% female. So, women in dentistry is on the rise and it’s only going to increase.
How did you get involved with Byte?
For many years I worked in a private practice, but then the pandemic hit. Our office was in Santa Monica, and in those early days of the pandemic we closed our doors because of the state mandates. I couldn’t just sit there. I had to do something.
People started reaching out to me for teledentistry opportunities. I saw the opportunity with Byte to review ortho cases remotely. I personally have had clear aligners, and I think they’re so, so effective. With Byte, I could bring that treatment to even more people.
How does your work empower you as a woman and help you empower other women?
While I’m still reviewing cases with Byte, I actually left my private practice earlier this year and now work on Delta Dental’s medical program policies. When I was in private practice, I saw a lot of single moms with multiple kids, and they just couldn’t afford to put all of their kids in braces. So many of those teens had cases that weren’t complex, and at-home aligners would’ve helped so much to better their alignment.
Byte makes it possible for women like them to feel empowered to provide their family with care that is affordable and effective, and it gives their teens confidence in their smiles.
Q: What advice would you give a women interested in going into dentistry?
For the longest time, I thought I could only work in a private practice seeing patients. I wanted to do more than just help up to 15 people day. When I discovered the opportunity with Byte, I realized you can do so much more in dentistry. It’s a broad field, and women have a great advantage. Use your intuition. Use your empathy. Just don’t send your children to the dentist on Halloween.