3 Female Dentists Who Changed Dental History

Every year, National Women’s History Month is celebrated in March. So, we at Stadium Dental and Orthodontics wanted to take this month as an opportunity to share the inspirational stories of three women who changed dental history for the better. So, in today’s blog, your Rancho Cucamonga, CA, dentist will tell about three famous women who changed the course of dentistry and have inspired generations of women to enter the dental profession.

1. Emeline Roberts Jones

Emeline Roberts Jones became more than notable in dental history in 1855. A year prior, she had married a dentist named Dr. Daniel Jones, who refused to let her study dentistry, even though she was interested in it, because he believed that the hands of women were too weak, clumsy, and frail, and thus not fit for any kind of dental work. So, she studied in secret and began practicing in 1855, becoming the first practicing female dentist at only 19 years old, when she secretly filled and extracted many hundreds of teeth. When Dr. Jones found her out, he allowed her to work with him, and the two practiced dentistry as partners while Emeline gained a great following and a reputation for being a highly skilled dentist.

2. Lucy Hobbs Taylor

Lucy Hobbs Taylor became famous eleven years after Emeline became the first female dentist to earn her doctorate in dentistry. Lucy grew up an orphan, and always made time to study, which is when she discovered an interest in medicine and dentistry. She applied for two colleges, but unfortunately was denied from both the Eclectic Medical College and, later, the Ohio College of Dentistry, because women were prohibited from studying dentistry. After the second rejection, Lucy began to study dentistry with a professor from the Ohio College of Dentistry, a man named Dr. Jonathan Taft. She learned from him and began practicing dentistry at her own practice in 1861. Eventually, the Ohio College of Dental Surgery did away with their discriminatory gender policy, and Lucy graduated with her DDS in 1866. She married around the same time, and taught her husband about dental work, so he followed in her footsteps and they practiced together for 20 years.

3. Ida Gray

Ida Gray overcame incredible hardships to become the first African-American woman to become a dentist in 1890. She was orphaned as a child and attended segregated schools in the southern U.S. before heading to Chicago for high school, where she met Dr. Jonathan Taft, the same professor Lucy had met years before. Ida studied dentistry with Dr. Taft and was allowed to enter the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 1887, and she graduated as the first African-American woman with a DDS in 1890. She opened multiple practices that were highly successful and well known for the fact that Ida would treat the dental issues of both black and white patients. At her practice in Chicago, she so inspired a patient named Olive M. Henderson that Olive became the second African-American woman to open a dentistry practice in Chicago.

Be Inspired to Take Care of Your Dental Health

Be inspired by these amazing women to take great care of your dental health. If you have any questions about your oral health routine, or if it is time for your six month checkup and cleaning, schedule a visit with your Rancho Cucamonga, CA, dentist today by calling Stadium Dental and Orthodontics at (909) 476-9678. We proudly welcome patients from Rancho Cucamonga, CA, as well as Ontario, Fontana, Upland, Rialto, and the surrounding communities.