Transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people continue to experience health care disparities despite increasing visibility and acceptance. As far as is known, no information exists regarding their experiences with oral health care providers. In this study, the authors intended to understand how TGNC adolescents and young adults interface with their oral health care providers.
A total of 36 participants, including patients 14 through 24 years of age and their caregivers, were recruited from the Transgender Health Clinic at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio. Interviews were conducted using a semistructured interview guide. All interviews were transcribed verbatim, coded, and analyzed for major themes using grounded theory methodology.
Overall, participants reported positive experiences with their oral health care providers. Those with negative experiences reported that the problems were corrected rapidly. Some participants reported issues processing insurance. Several indicated that stress and anxiety related to gender identity could be reduced via use of certain strategies.
TGNC adolescents and young adults have minimal difficulty receiving oral health care. Oral health care providers can make minor modifications to intake forms and office design to improve patient experience and reduce stress and anxiety related to gender identity in the health care setting.
Although TGNC adolescents and young adults may not need oral health care specific to their identity, taking steps to provide a safe and comfortable treatment setting can improve patient experience for this vulnerable population.