We used to live in a time where no women were able to pursue a profession in dentistry or dental education. In fact, according to the ADA, only 1.1% of dental students were female in the year 1968. But, now more than ever, there’s been a dramatic increase in the female presence in almost every facet of the medical field. Women have made outstanding strides and successes since past times of adversity, and the first women in dental care broke barriers to ensure girls today would be able to excel at their profession.
Women Who Shaped Dentistry
In observation of Women’s History Month, we want to highlight and remember the courageous, trailblazing women who overcame obstacles and paved the way for millions of aspiring dentists. To understand how far women have come in this field, it’s important to look back at the history of some of the most important female figures.
Emiline Roberts Jones
Emiline Roberts Jones was the first woman to practice dentistry in the United States. Her husband, who was also a dentist, didn’t believe a woman was well suited for a job like this. Not to be denied, Emiline kept her studies in secret and proved her skill and ability by successfully extracting hundreds of teeth. After working as his dental assistant, she was nationally recognized as the first women dentist and earned a place on the Woman’s Advisory Council of the World’s Columbian Dental Congress in 1893.
Lucy Hobbs Taylor
In 1866, Lucy Hobbs Taylor was the first woman to receive her doctorate in dentistry from the Ohio College of Dental Surgery. Before this, she was denied admittance to the Electic Medical College in Cincinnati because of the common thought that a women’s place was not in a medical profession. Lucy decided to open a practice of her own and spent her later years doing charitable work for women’s rights. Due to her profound impact, the American Association of Women Dentists honors exceptional female dentists with the Lucy Hobbs Taylor Award each year.
Ida Gray Nelson Rollins
Ida Gray Nelson Rollins was the first African American woman dentist. In the year 1890, she graduated from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and received her doctorate. This was an incredible step not only for gender barriers but racial barriers as well. She campaigned in many women organizations and served as Vice President of the Professional Women’s Club of Chicago.
To all our female doctors, Dr. Monti, Dr. Pepper, and Dr. Soares, your continuing representation in the field of dentistry continues to defy odds and weave paths into places of influence for women everywhere. For women to achieve equality, we truly believe that past and future women leaders must be visible as experts, which is why we are dedicated to helping patients through improved quality and compassionate dental care.
Receive high-quality dental care from our extraordinary women doctors. Call our friendly staff at (661) 251-0200 today!