A Brief History

Prior to July 15th, 1891 various itinerant dental practitioners served the dental needs of the people of Prince Edward Island. They would set up shop for a period of time in hotel rooms they had rented for the summer or winter. There were also some practitioners in the latter part of the 19th century who located in Summerside or Charlottetown having moved from New England or one of the other maritime provinces.


In 1891, the provincial government introduced the first legislation in the province to regulate the dental profession, and the act required registration and the attainment of certain educational and practice standards. In 1902, this was amended and the Prince Edward Dental Society was incorporated with a Council to be formed from members of the profession to oversee the regulation and licensing of the dentists of PEI. The Provincial Secretary of the government still signed the certificates and assessed the qualifications although a Registrar of the council was to be named who kept in " the PEI Dental Register " the names of those who qualified.

In 1904, the legislation was again amended and, at that time the sections relating to the assessment of qualifications were repealed and the self-regulation powers of the council were established. The Council was now the body to determine qualifications for licensure and the regulation of the profession and government was no longer involved.

Over time there were some minor changes to the legislation but in 1932 the entire act was modernized as well as incorporating the " Dental Association of PEI " and detailing more fully the by-laws. The regulatory body was still the Council but it was named a council of the general membership. The legislation then changed very little until 1953 when it was altered to allow the licensing of dental hygienists and specialties of dentistry. In 1974 it was again opened and further regulations were added but there have been no further amendments to the present time.

Outside legislative changes, through amendments to the by-laws, dental assistants were granted intra-oral duties and the Council, being the regulatory body was separated totally from the professional association in 1985. With a part-time Registrar and for the first time, non-dental laypersons were given representation on the regulating body. This separation allowed there to be a visible split between the protection of the public and service to the profession of dentistry on PEI.

Today, 100 years after the original act to form the Association there are 65 dental practitioners in PEI including 7 specialists, a far cry from the original 15. PEI has been honored the last 15 years to have two members been elected as Presidents of the Canadian Dental Association, Dr. John Robertson in 1986 and Dr. Ray Wenn in 1994. Three presidents of the National Dental Examining board of Canada also are Island dentists namely Dr. Allen Maclean, Dr. David Crocker, and Dr William Judson. One of our members, Dr. Orville Philips served as a Senator from PEI for many years and Dr. J.A. Dorion was appointed lieutenant governor of PEI. Although small in numbers our members have served in many national and provincial positions of both the profession and other endeavors. To this day we are all justifiably proud of the contribution to the overall health of Prince Edward Islanders delivering dental care with professionalism and skill second to none.

As the professional representive body for dentistry, the DAPEI sees itself as a partner, a policy advisor, and decision maker with the public, government and its members, regarding the availability, accessibility, and affordability of appropriate and high quality dental services for islanders.