100 Years of Dental Hygiene in Washington State

By Hollie H. Reese RDH

                                                   DH 100 Year Anniversary

Dr. Alfred Fones is often credited as the “Father of Dental Hygiene.” Dr. Fones was a dentist in Connecticut who trained the first ever dental hygienist – his assistant and cousin, Irene Newman. In 1913 Dr. Fones created the Fones School of Dental Hygiene in Bridgeport, Connecticut.


In Washington state the law RCW 18.29 licensing dental hygienists was passed on February 9, 1921. The Washington State Dental Hygienists’ Association (WSDHA) was created right after the law was passed in 1921. That makes this year 2021 the 100-year anniversary of the creation of the law to practice dental hygiene in Washington state, and of the WSDHA. Washington state issued its first dental hygiene license to Elizabeth H. Proctor in March of 1923. She was the president of the WSDHA for six terms.


For a more detailed history of dental hygiene in the state of Washington and the WSDHA please see: http://wsdha.com/index.php?submenu=_about&src=gendocs&ref=History&category=_about


As we look back over our 100 years of practice of dental hygiene in Washington state let us also look forward. We have seen many changes in our profession over the years, and have seen several changes within the last year facing the challenges of COVID and a worldwide pandemic. As a profession we have always been able to adapt and overcome the difficulties we face to protect our patients, bringing a brighter and healthier future to the people of Washington.