100 Years of Dentistry in Idaho

It was more than a century ago when David Sutton first opened a dental practice in Idaho, serving the communities of Paris and Montpelier. In 1905, he came to Idaho to become one of the state’s first two licensed dentists. His brother, Robert, soon followed.

In 1949, Robert’s son Bland Weaver, became one of the first oral surgeons in Idaho. By 1973, there were two more Sutton family dentists in Idaho — Porter and Ernest Sutton formed the Pocatello Dental Group.

Today, there are six members of the Sutton family still practicing dentistry in Southeast Idaho, all of them proud Bengals. Not only did Porter and Ernest’s children all attend Idaho State University, but many Suttons have taught for the dental residency and dental hygiene programs over the years. Ernest taught oral pathology in the program for four years, and Douglas Sutton, of Eastern Idaho Endodontics is an adjunct professor and lecturer for the dental residency program.

Douglas says he enjoys teaching, and that the students at Idaho State University are bright and driven.

“It’s really fun,” he said. “They come with the desire to learn.”

Douglas received his undergraduate degree in zoology from Idaho State University. His brothers Stephen and Mike also graduated from ISU, along with his cousins Bradley Sutton, of Sutton Family Dentistry, and Stacy (Sutton) Johnson, who graduated from the dental hygiene program.

“We were born orange,” said Mike, owner of Cedar Hills Family Dentistry in Pocatello.

The family says they appreciate that ISU provided a quality education close to home, and the fact that most classes were taught by faculty members.

“I loved it,” Douglas said. “We really got to know our professors on campus.”

Their ISU education served them well, the Suttons said, and they were able to compete with students from Ivy League schools.

“We were just as well off at ISU,” Stephen said. “You just have to work hard. ISU students routinely do really well (in dental school).”