As a dental provider, you have an opportunity to become an ally and advocate for LGBTQ health equity. Showing your practice supports LBGTQ patients is about more than making changes to your office. It's about getting involved in the LGBTQ community.

Supporting LGBTQ health equity in dentistry impact us all.
Figure 1: Supporting LGBTQ health equity in dentistry impact us all.

What Drives Inequity in LGBTQ Dental Care?

LGBTQ health inequity has been a topic of discussion for some time. These individuals face more barriers to healthcare in general than their heterosexual cisgender counterparts.



Both actual discrimination and the fear of it can prevent LGBTQ individuals from getting the care that they need. An estimated 51% of trans-identifying patients report fear that they will be denied medical care, while about 9% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual patients feel the same way.


LGBTQ patients are more likely to delay necessary dental care and treatment due to cost when compared to their heterosexual counterparts. They're also less likely to have dental insurance that would help them afford care.


Accessing dental care in the first place can be particularly challenging for LGBTQ individuals, especially transgender individuals. One-third of these patient's report being denied medical care or harassed while seeking it.


Forty-six percent of LGBTQ workers report that they are not out at work. That means there are fewer openly LGBTQ providers who would put these patients at ease.


None of these issues are something that any single provider can fix alone. If you want to build LGBTQ health equity for your patients, you should collaborate with other providers to change the system.

There are many ways to become an ally for LGBTQ patients and team members.
Figure 2: There are many ways to become an ally for LGBTQ patients and team members.

Becoming an Ally for LGBTQ Health Equity 

There are things that you can do to boost health equity in your office. Training your staff on LGBTQ issues, using gender-neutral language, and symbolism that shows you are an ally are all effective ways to reassure your patients. But these steps only address LGBTQ health equity at a practice level. Dentists who want to be part of the overall solution need to work for systemic change. There are a few different ways that you can do that.

Volunteer at LGBTQ Health Clinics

The industry has already recognized the lack of care focused on LGBTQ patients who don't have resources. There are LGBTQ health clinics focused specifically on this community and they need dental experts as part of their teams. Dentists can volunteer at these clinics or offer slots at their practice to provide services free of charge.

Participate in LGBTQ Outreach Events

June’s status as Pride Month should give you opportunities to participate in LGBTQ outreach events like festivals, parades, and other activities. Dentists can get involved by offering free consultations or screenings, providing resources and information, and sponsoring events.

Advocate for LGBTQ Patients

Some LGBTQ patients report they have to educate their medical providers on LGBTQ issues. To advocate for them, you must understand the problems they face and the health disparities that affect them. Be knowledgeable and take steps to address them. Speak out against discrimination and support policies designed to improve health equity for these individuals.

Join LGBTQ-focused Organizations

LGBTQ organizations offer a directory of allied medical providers for patients in need of care. By working with these organizations, you can be included on these lists to overcome the fear of discrimination that often acts as a barrier to treatment.

Here are some organizations to consider becoming a part of;



  • The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC): This is an organization that focuses on LGBTQ businesses. Joining the NGLCC can help providers work with others throughout different industries to support a wider range of community needs.


  • Resources from the American Dental Association’s D&I Initiatives: The American Dental Association has developed a five-year diversity and inclusion plan built around driving LGBTQ health equity, among other issues. Dental providers can access a wide range of resources and suggestions including panel discussions, blogs, and networking opportunities.


  • Out & Equal Workplace Advocates: This global nonprofit is specifically focused on helping to promote LGBTQ equality in the workplace. It offers educational resources, training, and networking events.


LGBTQ health equity is something that we can all work on.
Figure 3: LGBTQ health equity is something that we can all work on.

Aside from these national and global opportunities, there may also be local LBGTQ causes you can get involved with. Research the organizations in your community to see if your support may help to drive health equity.

LBGTQ health equity is not something that can be tackled by a single practice alone. By joining organizations, advocating for your patients, volunteering your time, and immersing yourself in the community, you can help build a future where everyone feels comfortable seeking out and getting the care they need.