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The Dental Hygienist, circa 1922
Alfred Civilion Fones (1869-1938) a graduate of the New York College of Dentistry in 1890, is credited with developing the profession of dental hygiene. After securing his degree, he returned to his birthplace, Bridgeport, Connecticut, to practice dentistry with his father.
While attending a meeting of the Northeastern Dental Society in 1899, Fones attended a lecture by D.D. Smith of Philadelphia on periodic oral prophylaxis. He was so impressed by the lecture that he learned the techniques and integrated oral prophylaxis into his practice.
By 1905 the beneficial changes in his patients were evident. Also evident was the time consuming nature of performing these preventive services.
In 1906 he outlined a course of study and taught his assistant, Irene Newman, the skills of scaling and polishing teeth and instructing patients on personal oral care. She took over these duties in Dr. Fones' practice, freeing him to perform the many other services of dentistry.
In November of 1913 he opened the Fones Clinic for Dental Hygiene. The all volunteer faculty was impressive with the deans of the dental schools of Pennsylvania and Harvard, seven professors from Yale and two from Columbia and three New York specialists. Of the thirty-three original enrollees, twenty-seven graduated and were given diplomas on June 5, 1914.
Among them were Mrs. Newman and Mrs. Fones. Connecticut was the first state to pass laws licensing and governing dental hygiene and Mrs. Newman was issued license number one, and so became the first Dental Hygienist in America. She also became the first president of the first dental hygiene association, the Connecticut Dental Hygienist
I have chosen 1922 as the period for Anne Crawford's rendering of The Dental Hygienist. From this time to the 1950's, the dental hygienist wore all white uniforms with a cap similar to those used by the nursing profession.
The original painting is oil on canvas, eighteen inches by twenty-four inches.