Women’s History Month: Women in history have made great strides towards improving the function of dentistry. Furthering research, providing outstanding services, and facing all obstacles head-on for their passion to compete in the dental industry with their male peers. Miraculously, women in the dental field have extracted teeth in secret, visited remote villages by dog sled needing dental help, and challenged universities across the world for their rights. Today, we’re celebrating women’s history month and taking a look at 3 women who impacted dentistry around the world.
#1: Clara W. MacNaughton: The First Involved Female Dentist
As far back as the 1800s, Clara was an involved activist for women’s rights in America. Her involvement was so noteworthy that in the late 1800s, she became one of the first female dentists known. Clara graduated from the University of Michigan in 1885 and after opening her own practice, became the Vice President of the Michigan State Dental Society. Because woman suffrage was so important to her, she eventually moved her dental practice from Michigan straight to Washington, D.C. Her practice was solely focused on women and children where she happily used her gender role to be seen as nurturing and understanding towards all of her patients.
Clara also made international headlines as she frequently traveled for dentistry work. In fact, in 1889, she became the delegate to the International Dental Congress in Paris. A few years later in 1893, she became heavily involved in the World’s Columbian Dental Congress in Chicago, Illinois. While dentistry was her passion, she also lobbied for female physicians and female staff in women’s prisons.
#2: Emeline Roberts Jones: The First Female Practicing
Born in New England, Emeline married a practicing dentist, Daniel Jones, in 1854 at the young age of 18. He carried the belief that women were not equipped to deal in dentistry because of their figures being “frail”. Emeline couldn’t have disagreed more. She studied dentistry in secret, diligently. Amongst her secret works, she had successfully filled and extracted hundreds of teeth. After coming forward with her accomplishments, her husband allowed her to begin practicing alongside him. She was only 19 at the time.
At the age of 23, she became his treasured business partner, and when she became widowed in 1865, she took over their practice completely before starting her travels through Connecticut and Rhode Island before finally settling near New Haven. Her career as a dentist lasted nearly 6 decades when she became an honored member of the National Dental Association in 1914.
#3: Ida Gray: The First Female African-American Dentist
Growing up as an orphan, Ida Gray had to overcome many obstacles in her underprivileged childhood. When Ida was in high school, she met Dr. Jonathan Taft and began working in his office while in school. Studying under Dr. Taft, she had enough training to attend the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 1887 and promptly graduated in 1990. After graduation, Ida became famous for seeing both black and white patients in Cinncinati and Chicago. Once she opened her practice in Chicago, she inspired one of her long-time patients, Olive M. Henderson, to become the city’s second black female dentist.
As excited about civil and women’s rights as she was about dentistry, Dr. Gray became vice president of the Professional Women’s Club of Chicago and the Eighth Regiment Ladies’ Auxiliary. These groups worked hard to grow and maintain the rights of women of color in their professional endeavors.
Celebrate Women’s History Month Us!
Anyone, regardless of gender or upbringing, can make significant changes in their job field. We recognize these powerful women, among many other, who bravely faced circumstances to stand up for their passion of becoming a dentist. They paved the path for amazing women in the dental field nowadays and for future generations. For this month, and every month, we are happy to support our amazing women in our practice and practices around the world.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’d like to put a smile on your face at your next dental visit. Contact our professional and pleasant staff here at Mountain View Dental for all of your dental health needs. If you have concerns or want to schedule an appointment, give us a call today at 385-324-3557!