Dental Hygienist: Who? Where? How?

My name is Selina Devlin,
I am Dental Hygienist and I'm here
to 'break mysteries' about this so
popular nowadays profession

Dental Hygienist: Facts from History (20.01.11)

I believe that everyone should be perfectly aware of what he/she is choosing. Have you made your mind about dental hygienist career? And do you want to know some additional information about this profession? It can help you to better understand this field and get added evidence that you're right when choosing it.

I want to share some historical facts with you. It's always interesting and useful to know the origins. As for me, it helps to get a full picture about something, to have a deeper understanding of the point. So maybe it would be useful for you, too.

Where did it start from? Dental hygienist profession didn't exist until the beginning of the 20th century. Some dental hygienist duties were fulfilled by the dentists. Some were not implemented at all. But as the time passed it became clear that dental hygiene is a vital thing. So what happened next?

There were a lot of attempts to raise the problem of dental hygiene, but they were all ignored by the dentists' society. Dr. Alfred C. Fones was the first to persuade others that some dental diseases can be prevented. He is considered to be “the father” of all the dental hygienists, because the first professional in this field was educated by him. How did it happen?

Dr. Fones had the assistant, Irene Newman. In 1906 he trained her to be the first dental hygienist in the world. Ms. Newman was doing dental cleanings and prophylaxes to Dr. Fones' clients. And the results of her work were really successful! That's why Dr. Fones continued working in the field  of dental hygiene. After a few years he opened the Fones School of Dental Hygiene in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Moreover, Dr. Fones accepted the main philosophy of dental hygienists. And the present specialists are still guided by this philosophy. Dr. Fones believed that dental hygienists should have two fields of work. They must work not only in private offices with people who can pay for it. Dental hygienists shouldn't also forget about those who could not afford private dental care. Dr. Fones and Irene Newman stressed on the importance of both clinic and public component. These days prevention and access to care are still the main points of dental hygienist philosophy.

The first state to legally allow the performance of prophylactic treatment was, as you can already guess, Connecticut. It happened in 1915.  Massachusetts was the next to allow the practice of dental hygienists, and then followed New York in 1916.

There is one more interesting fact. Do you know that dental hygienist career is more popular with  women? The origin of it can be found in history, too. Dr. Fones said that a man would not limit himself to this profession, but a woman would. Moreover, according to Dr. Fones, a woman would be conscientious in her work, honest and reliable. But nowadays Dr. Fones' opinion is not so urgent. Now this profession is good both for men and women. Dental hygienist career enables you to fulfill your ambitions doing a challenging job and earning good money. It is one of the most popular choices among school-leavers. I made the most out of my chance. And what about you?