Fall/automne 2004

“A Real Girl and a Real Dentist”: Ontario Women Dental Graduates of the 1920s

Tracey Adams
Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Western Ontario.
Published October 1, 2004
How to Cite
Adams, Tracey. 2004. “‘A Real Girl and a Real Dentist’: Ontario Women Dental Graduates of the 1920s”. Historical Studies in Education / Revue d’histoire De l’éducation 16 (2), 315-38. https://doi.org/10.32316/hse/rhe.v16i2.335.


This paper explores the educational experience and professional practice of women who entered the dental profession in Ontario in the 1920s. During this period, dentists were educated in Toronto: initially, at a school affiliated with the University of Toronto, and after 1925, at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto. While few women entered the dental profession until recently, there was a notable influx of women into the profession in the early 1920s. This article reviews the factors that contributed to women’s involvement at this time, and provides an overview of their academic and social experiences in dental school. Professional records indicate that most, if not all, of these female dental students practised their profession after graduation, and many had very lengthy careers. The article discusses the significance of marriage patterns and the characteristics of women’s professional practice.