Skip to main content
Paid Post


Barnabas Day, considered the father of professional dentistry in Ontario, is born.


Nine dentists meet in Toronto to form an association to fight the problem of unqualified dentists and lobby the Ontario legislature to regulate the profession.


An Act Respecting Dentistry is passed by the Ontario legislature, putting control of the profession into the hands of the board of directors of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario. The college becomes the sole authority to grant licences to practise dentistry in Ontario.


Dr. Caroline Wells becomes the first female member of the ODA and the first female graduate of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons (RCDS).


The ODA forms a permanent educational committee to promote public awareness of the value of oral hygiene, while also finding ways to care for the teeth of the poor.


Ontario’s dentists answer the call to serve in the First World War, enlisting in the Canadian Army Medical Corps.


Four ODA members launch a dental clinic to treat new army recruits in Toronto. Its success leads to the creation of the Canadian Army Dental Corp.


Canada’s economy is ravaged by the Great Depression. Ontario’s dentists provide care at reduced or no cost for the growing number of poor and unemployed.


Ontario Dental Association creates a benevolence committee to raise emergency funds to help members struggling in the Depression. Some dentists sell their homes and move their families into the back of their practices to live.


Dr. Robert Reade, an ODA member, partners with fellow dentists to open a free clinic in the Ovaltine plant in Peterborough, Ont. ODA also persuades Ontario government to secure a railway dental car that they staff to bring treatment to isolated northern communities along the Canadian Pacific Railway lines.


ODA encourages members to help Canada’s war effort by enlisting in the Canadian Dental Corps. Many join one of 24 dental companies that serve in France, Iceland, Sicily and Italy. A total of 33 personnel die in active service.


Canadian and American governments begin to study the effects of water fluoridation on tooth decay. Tests show children who drink fluoridated water have 60 per cent fewer cavities than those who do not.


With the Baby Boom comes a mission to increase dental health education and preventative care programs. ODA and Canadian Red Cross launch a pilot program in Niagara region to educate parents and treat children’s teeth. Children’s dental health improves and the program marks a turning point in dental public health in Ontario.


City of Toronto begins fluoridating water.


ODA proposes a plan to make dental care available to all children 18 and younger. Also, the Ontario Ministry of Health creates"Murphy the Molar," a public education campaign to get children to brush their teeth.


A capitation insurance payment plan is introduced in Ontario, allowing insurance carriers to pay dentists a flat rate for each patient, regardless of treatment. The plan also forces patients to see dentists selected by their insurance carrier, limiting their personal choice. The ODA launches a campaign highlighting the plan’s drawbacks and, two years later, capitation fails to make an immediate or lasting impact.


ODA backs Electronic Data Interchange, which allows dental offices to directly submit their patients’ dental insurance claims.


Finance Minister Paul Martin says he is considering taxing health and dental budgets in the next federal budget. ODA and Canadian Dental Association launch a campaign opposing the move and the move is not included in the 1995 budget.


The ODA launches Your Oral Found in dentists’ waiting rooms across the province, it includes articles on dental care tips and myths and helpful nutrition and lifestyle information.


Today, the ODA represents more than 9,000 dentists and is Ontario’s primary source of information on oral health and the dental profession.

Visit for more about the ODA and the history of dentistry in Ontario, including additional photos and video.

This content was produced by the Ontario Dental Association. The Globe and Mail was not involved in its creation.
Report an error
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies