Women Dentists: Changing the Face of Dentistry
Women currently make up nearly half of all dental students and 25% of practicing dentists. Before the 1970s, only 3% of dentists were women. Independent-minded women struggled to obtain degrees, establish practices, and be respected as professionals.
Jessie Castle La Moreaux, DDS, treats a patient in her office. Photo courtesy of Rockwall County Historical Foundation.
Marie Hyman, DDS, in her office with a patient. Photo courtesy of National Archives (photo number 165-WW-245B-6).
Jeannine Nordeen, DDS, and an assistant with a patient. Photo courtesy of National Archives (photo number 111-SC-680025).
Bonita Neighbors, DDS, consults with patient Nelly Sanders. Photo courtesy of University of Michigan School of Dentistry.
We like the fact that women within our own university are highlighted within the exhibit [and] that women from diverse backgrounds were emphasized.
U-M Gradutate Student Visitor, April 2013
I thought the best part was the individual displays of the very accomplished women and information about their different areas of expertise.
U-M Graduate Student Visitor, April 2013
Here are four women who changed the face of the profession. Click on each link to learn more about these impressive dentists.
Clara W. MacNaughton
Vida Annette Latham
Click here to view an interactive timeline about the history of women dentists.
This online exhibit features only a small portion of the material in our Women Dentists Exhibit. Watch for future updates on these topics:
- The four women profiled above, and other impressive women in dentistry
- Are women fit for dentistry?
- Women dentists in the military
- Minority women dentists
- Choosing a dental specialization
- Women's dental organizations
To view this and other exhibits, visit the museum in the Kellogg Building on the University of Michigan campus. Click here for directions to the museum.
Special thanks to:
James S. Hayward, DDS; Sharon L. Brooks, DDS; Debbie Lawhon, Curator, Rockwall County Historical Foundation; Jeanne McGuire and F. Patrick McGuire, DDS; Gillian Payne; Dr. Scott Swank, Curator, National Museum of Dentistry; Marilyn Woolfolk, DDS.
Kathy Daniels, Collections Coordinator.
Shannon O’Dell, Curator & Director.
Research: Krystal Thomas; Molly McGuire; Lindsay Smith.
Exhibition Design and installation: Hutchinson Studios, LLC.
Graphic Design: Tooth & Rag, LLC.
Exhibit Research and Script: Brynn Raupagh.