1923

Women activists who had been working as hygienists for years help get the state of Washington to recognize and license the profession. 

1959

The University of Washington launches one of the first endodontics programs, focusing on root canals and the health of dental pulp, in the world. 

1971

The state becomes the first to allow hygienists to practice restorative duties and administer anesthesia and nitrous oxide

1982 

The Dental Fears Clinic is the first on the West Coast to treat people with dental anxiety through behavioral therapy. 

1992

Two local dentists and an engineer develop the first electric toothbrush to use sonic vibrations to loosen plaque. It’s bought by Philips and sold as the Sonicare.

1995

Washington’s Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) program, designed to provide care to low-income children under six, is the first of its kind in the country. Other states follow suit.

1995

John West, a Tacoma endodontist, cocreates the ProTaper Gold, a super accurate drill used to prepare a tooth for filling during a root canal.

2016

Local maxillofacial prosthodontist Jeffrey Rubenstein is among the first to use virtual 3D modeling to rebuild jaws and implant teeth after traumas like car accidents. 

2018

Bills in the state legislature seek to certify dental therapists, increasing patient access to oral care. Therapists would be to dentists what physician assistants are to doctors.

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