3 Notable Women In Dentistry Who Made An Impact

March is in full swing, which means that we’re already in the midst of National Women’s History Month! That being the case, we at Lake Orion Family Dentistry wanted to take this opportunity to tell you the stories of three women who left a notable impact on the field of dentistry. So, in today’s blog, your Lake Orion, MI, dentist will discuss the achievements of these three women as a tribute to all women in dentistry.

1. Emeline Roberts Jones

Emeline Roberts Jones was the first woman to ever become a practicing dentist. Born in New Haven, CT, in 1836, she began her journey into dentistry when she was 18 years old, the year that she married her husband, a dentist named Dr. Daniel Jones. Unfortunately, when she told her husband that she was interested in studying dentistry, he denied her, believing the common (but obviously incorrect) idea that women’s hands were too frail and clumsy for dental surgery. So, Emeline decided to study and eventually practice dentistry without her husband’s knowledge, becoming the first practicing female dentist in 1855, at which time she extracted and filled hundreds of teeth. When her husband discovered this, he let her practice dentistry alongside him and made her a partner in his practice when she was 23. Emeline became revered as a skilled dentist with her own patients, and continued as a dentist even after her husband’s death while raising their two children on her own.

2. Lucy Hobbs Taylor

Eleven years after the world saw Emeline Roberts Jones become the first female practicing dentist, Lucy Hobbs Taylor would become the first woman to earn a DDS. Born in 1833 in New York, Lucy grew up as an orphan, supporting herself and her nine siblings by working throughout her childhood while still making time to study. As an adult, she became interested in dentistry, and applied to the Eclectic Medical College. Because of her gender, she was not allowed to attend, so she studied with a supervisor there until applying to the Ohio College of Dentistry. She, once again, was rejected because of her gender, but began studying with Dr. Jonathan Taft, a professor from that college. She began her own dentistry practice in Cincinnati in 1861 and was finally admitted to the Ohio College of Dental Surgery, earning her DDS in 1866. She later went on to inspire her husband to take up dentistry, and they worked together for another 20 years.

3. Ida Gray

Ida Gray, who was born in Tennessee in 1867, has a similar backstory to Lucy Hobbs Taylor, also having grown up an orphan. Unfortunately, Ida also had the added difficulty of being forced to attend segregated schools due to the color of her skin. She persisted, and, while in high school in Chicago, she ended up also meeting Dr. Jonathan Taft, who tutored her in dentistry. In 1887, Ida was admitted into the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, from which she graduated in 1890, becoming the first African-American female dentist. She became well known for accepting both black and white patients, and found success in both Cincinnati and, later, in Chicago. One of her Chicago patients, Olive M. Henderson, was so inspired by Ida that she became the second African-American female dentist in their city.

Change the Course of Your Dental History

These three women directly and positively impacted the lives of every person who has gone into the dental profession since. At Lake Orion Family Dentistry, we want to directly and positively impact your dental health at your checkups and cleanings. To schedule an appointment, call Lake Orion Family Dentistry in Lake Orion, MI, today at 248-693-6213.