3 Famous Female Dentists Who Made History

March marks National Women’s History Month each year, and we at Barbour Dental wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate the stories of three female dentists who made history by blazing the trail for all women who wished to enter the dental profession, like our very own Dr. Barbour! In today’s blog, your Kahoka, MO, dentist will tell about the lives of these three amazing women who became famous for going where no women had been allowed before.

1. Emeline Roberts Jones

Emeline Roberts Jones famously became the first ever practicing female dentist in 1855. A year prior, she married a dentist named Dr. Daniel Jones, who denied Emeline the right to study dentistry when she asked him, because he wrongfully believed the usual idea of the time that women’s hands weren’t fit for dental work because they were too frail and clumsy. However, in 1855, at only 19 years old, Emeline decided to study and practice secretly and managed to extract and fill hundreds of teeth before her husband found out, at which point he allowed her to practice jointly with him, eventually making her his partner when she was 23. She earned her glowing reputation as a skilled dentist and continued their practice even after Dr. Jones’s death and while bringing up their two children as a single mother.

2. Lucy Hobbs Taylor

Lucy Hobbs Taylor made great waves in the dentistry profession when she became the first woman to receive a doctorate in dentistry in 1866. After discovering her passion for medicine and dentistry, she applied first to the Eclectic Medical College, and then to the Ohio College of Dentistry, but was denied entry into both because she was a woman. She went to a professor from the latter, Dr. Jonathan Taft, who taught her enough that she began practicing dentistry in 1861 before the Ohio College of Dental Surgery changed their policy on gender and allowed Lucy to enter, where she earned her DDS in 1866. She went on to inspire her husband to follow in her footsteps, and they opened a joint dental practice which they ran for 20 years.

3. Ida Gray

Ida Gray had to overcome innumerable challenges to make history in 1890 as the first African-American female dentist. Ida was born in the South, orphaned, and made to attend segregated schools for all of her life, but found her way to a high school in Chicago, where she was met by Dr. Jonathan Taft, as well. Dr. Taft taught Ida dentistry, and she was admitted into the University of Michigan School of dentistry in 1887 and graduated in 1890. Her accomplishments were widely talked about, and, when she opened her practices, she also became well known for treating all patients, black and white. Ida’s story was so inspirational that one of her patients from Chicago, Olive M. Henderson, decided to become the second African-American female dentist in that city.

Make Your Dental Health Issues History

At Barbour Dental, we hope that you are inspired by these three amazing women to make your dental health issues history! We are always happy to answer all of your questions and help everyone to achieve their optimal oral health. So, if you have any questions, or if you are due for your six month checkup and cleaning, contact your Kahoka, MO, dentist, Dr. Barbour, at (660) 727-4746 today.