7 Important Women in the Dental Industry
Celebrating Women in Dentistry Today and Everyday
Every year when Women’s History Month comes around, it is a time to reflect on the many empowering women in history that have helped us get to where we are today.
This year, we are showcasing the many women that made history because of their career in the dental industry. We encourage you to do your own research on these women and their stories, but below we showcase some of our key finds.
Dentistry has come a long way since the beginning. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), “Forty years ago, only 7% of dental school graduates in the United States were women. In 2017, according to the ADA Health Policy Institute, that percentage was up to 49%.”
7 Important Women in the Dental Industry
Mar 8, 2021 | News
By Savannah Pederson
Emeline Roberts Jones
You may recognize this name as she was the first woman to practice dentistry in the United States. She was married to a dentist and studied and practiced in secret until he allowed her to practice with him starting in 1855. She enjoyed a dental career that spanned six decades and received various recognitions and awards. For more information on Emeline, check out this informative site here.
Lucy Hobbs Taylor
Lucy Hobbs was the first American woman to earn a degree in dentistry. She was a school teacher who applied to medical school, was rejected, and then privately studied dentistry under the dean of the Ohio College of Dental Surgery. She was finally admitted to the senior class of the College of Dental Surgery in the fall of 1865 and graduated in February of 1866 – proving if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! Learn about her journey here.
Ida was the first black female dentist. She graduated from University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 1890 and practiced first in Cincinnati and later Chicago. She was well known for treating both black and white patients, and even inspired one of her patients to become a dentist. This patient, Olive M. Henderson became Chicago’s second black female dentist. Talk about building up other women! Read more here.
Minnie Evangeline Jordan
Minnie was the first dentist to really focus on and develop pedodontia. Dentistry had been her second career after being an elementary school teacher. She graduated from the University of California in 1898 and by 1901 she had developed a course on “Care of Children’s Teeth.” From there, she dedicated much of her career to pedodontia, including starting a clinic at an orphan’s home, developing a clinic for children at the School of Dentistry at the University of CA, running her own practice as strictly a pediatric office starting in 1909, and publishing the first book in English on pediatric dentistry in 1924. Learn more about her pedodontia journey here.
Did you know that the dental hygiene profession is really only about 100 years old? Ms. Newman was the first trained dental hygienist! She began doing dental prophylaxis on her cousin, Dr. Alfred Fones’, patients. He was the one who trained her. This was in 1907. Learn more about the history of dental hygiene here.
Sister Tabitha Babbit
Sister Tabitha Babbitt was a member of the Harvard Shaker community and is remembered as an 18th century inventor and tool maker. She is most known as the inventor of the circular saw, but what is perhaps lesser known is that she is credited with being the first to develop a process for manufacturing false teeth!
Dr. Morey practiced dentistry along side her husband and is thought to be the first person to place a “skeleton tooth”, which we would now know as a dental crown or cap. This was an important revelation in dentistry, as it started the move away from extracting or destroying existing teeth and instead finding ways to restore or fortify any existing teeth for patients.
A Sincere Thank You!
As we’ve shared in this blog, women have made significant contributions in the short time they’ve been allowed to truly participate in the industry. As we continue to see a steady rise of women in leadership roles within the industry, let’s not forget about these amazing women that have helped us get to where we are now.
“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” – Maya Angelou
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