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Greene Vardiman Black

Greene Vardiman Black (1836–1915), commonly known as G.V. Black, is known as one of the founders of modern dentistry in the United States.  He is also known as the father of operative dentistry.  He was born near Winchester, Illinois on August 3, 1836.  He spent his early life on a farm and quickly developed an interest in the natural world.  After the Civil War, in which he served as a Union scout, he relocated to Jacksonville, Illinois.  It was here that he began an active career and research in the developing field of dentistry.  He studied dentistry for 20 months, as was common at the time, followed by an apprenticeship. He taught in the Dental Department at the University of Iowa, beginning in 1890 before moving to Chicago.

He researched many important topics in dentistry, including the cause of dental fluorosis and ideal cavity preparations.  One of his many inventions was a foot-driven dental drill.  He is also known for his principles of tooth preparations, in which he outlines the proper methods to prepare teeth for fillings.  These cavity preparations used principles of engineering and material sciences to maximize strength and retention of the amalgam filling and minimize fractures as well as tooth anatomy, to minimize pulp exposure.  The phrase, “extension for prevention”, is still famous in the dental community today and represents Black’s idea that dentists should incorporate more grooves and pits than those currently exhibiting decay as a preventive measure against those grooves and pits developing tooth decay in the future, although today ideas have changed and focus much more on minimal intervention.  Black published his concepts and ideals in his text Manual of Operative Dentistry in 1896.

Further, he organized ‘Black’s Classification of Caries Lesions’ which is still in use today.  Since that time, only one more category has been added to his classification system.

Black’s Classification of Caries Lesions:

  • Class I Caries affecting pits and fissures on occlusal third of molars and premolars, occlusal two thirds of molars and premolars, and lingual part of anterior teeth.
  • Class II Caries affecting proximal surfaces of molars and premolars.
  • Class III Caries affecting proximal surfaces of central incisors, lateral incisors, and cuspids without involving the incisal angles.
  • Class IV Caries affecting proximal including incisal angles of anterior teeth.
  • Class V Caries affecting gingival 1/3 of facial or lingual surfaces of anterior or posterior teeth.
  • Class VI (never described by Black, added later by W J Simon in 1956) Caries affecting cusp tips of molars, premolars, and cuspids.

In addition to developing a standard for cavity preparations, G.V. Black also experimented with various mixtures of amalgam.  After years of experimentation, Black published his balanced amalgam formula in 1895.  This formula and its variations quickly became the gold standard and would remain such for almost 70 years.  Black’s son, Arthur continued the legacy of his father, continuing dental research, gaining academic and political support for the importance of the sciences in dental education, and making university education mandatory for dentists.

G.V. Black was the second Dean of Northwestern University Dental School, where his portrait hung until the school’s closure in 2001.  His statue can be found in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.  He was also inducted in the International Hall of Fame of Dentistry of the Pierre Fauchard Academy on February 25, 1995.

 

David J. Acer

David J. Acer (November 11, 1949 – September 3, 1990) was an American dentist who was accused of infecting 6 of his patients with HIV. One of his alleged victims was Kimberly Bergalis
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Dentists in History-Doc Holliday

Dentists in History

John HenryDocHolliday (August 14, 1851 – November 8, 1887)

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11-18Gilbert_Stuart_Portrait_of_George_Washington

George Washington’s Dental Problems

George Washington never owned a set of wooden teeth, but he did own many sets of dentures.

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Dentists in History-PaulRevere

Paul Revere

Paul Revere (January 1735-May 10, 1818) was an American silversmith, engraver, early industrialist, and Patriot in the American Revolution.  He is best known for his midnight ride to alert the colonial militia in April 1775 to the approach of British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord, as dramatized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride”.

During the 1760’s, an English dental surgeon named Dr. John Baker taught Revere how to make and fit patients with artificial teeth.  Revere set up his own practice in Boston and advertised his services in the Boston Gazette in 1770.  The National Museum of Health and Medicine notes that Revere fitted Dr. Joseph Warren (June 11, 1741 – June 17, 1775), a Harvard trained physician and fellow patriot, with a set of ivory dental prosthetics to replace his upper left canine and first premolar that he had attached to Warren’s jaw with gold wire.

Paul Revere inadvertently became America’s first forensic dentist when he was given the gruesome task of identifying the body of Dr. Joseph Warren, the man who sent him on his famous “midnight ride”.  Warren was struck down by a British bullet during the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775 and his corpse was buried in a mass grave.  When Warren’s family unearthed the grave nine months later, visual identification of the bodies inside was near impossible because they had decomposed.  So Revere, the man who crafted the slain officer’s false teeth, was asked to locate Warren’s remains by finding the ivory dentures he crafted and wired to Warren’s jaw.

Identification of a person based on their teeth was an unconventional technique in the 18th century.  Paul Revere’s use of simple forensic dentistry is described by the National Museum of Health and Medicine as “one of the earliest cases of forensic evidence used to identify a fallen American soldier”.

https://strangeremains.com/2017/07/04/paul-revere-the-first-american-forensic-dentist/

http://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/paul-revere-americas-first-forensic-dentist/

 

Horace Wells and William Morton

Horace Wells (1815-1848) was a compassionate dentist of deep religious convictions.  In the aftermath of an especially agonizing dental operation, he would sometimes stop work for several weeks, too traumatized by the need to inflict such terrible pain on his patients to continue.  Fortunately, he persevered.

8-18Dentist in History-Horace Wells

On 10th December 1844, Wells recognized that nitrous oxide might prove a godsend to surgical medicine.  Wells decided that the first guinea pig should be himself.  So, he had an erupting wisdom tooth extracted using the higher dosages of nitrous oxide needed to induce insensibility.  The extraction was a success, and he performed over a dozen extractions using nitrous oxide within a month. His student and partner, William Morton, encouraged him to demonstrate his finding.  The demonstration at Massachusetts General Hospital failed because the gas bag was withdrawn too soon, and the patient was only partially anesthetized.  He continued his attempts to promote nitrous oxide anesthesia, even travelling to Europe, where there was wider acceptance.

 

8-18Dentist in History-William Morton

Meanwhile, William Morton experimented with ether, and administered the first successful general anesthetic to a patient for the removal of a neck tumor.  The demonstration was performed at the same location where Wells was disgraced, which is now a historical monument called The Ether Dome.

Both Wells and Morton died despondent and bankrupt.  Every dentist should read their very important biographies as their contributions are medical, surgical and ethical milestones.

https://www.general-anaesthesia.com/images/horace-wells.html

https://www.general-anaesthesia.com/images/william-morton.html

6-18Dentists in History-Barney Clark

Barney Clark

On December 2, 1982 Seattle dentist Barney Clark became the first human recipient of a permanent artificial heart. He survived the heart, and the accompanying media circus, for 112 days.
Clark, 61, was the ideal candidate, suffering from debilitating congestive heart failure. Doctors determined that he was too sick to be eligible for a heart transplant, leaving the implant of an artificial heart his only option.
Clark’s predicament coincided with the FDA approving a new artificial heart for human implantation, a device known as the Jarvik 7. It was named for one of its key developers, Dr. Robert Jarvik, at the University of Utah. The Jarvik 7 was state-of-the-art for its time, and was the first one designed for permanent use. It employed a heart-shaped pump that was implanted into the patient. An external pneumatic compressor, connected to the pump by tubes running through the chest wall, regulated
blood flow.

He never left the hospital after his transplant, and ultimately died of “circulatory collapse and secondary multi-organ system failure” triggered by cytomegalovirus infection that was likely the result of a blood
transfusion.
www.nytimes.com/1982/12/03/us/dentist-close-to-death-receives-first-permanent-artificial-heart.html
www.wired.com/2009/12/dayintech-1202jarvikheart/

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Edgar Buchanan (1903-1979)

Edgar Buchanan (1903–1979) At the age of seven, he and his family moved to Oregon. After studying at the University of Oregon, he followed in his father’s footsteps and became a dentist, graduating from North Pacific Dental College. He was a member of Theta Chi Fraternity (Alpha Sigma Chapter, University of Oregon) From 1929 to 1937, he practiced oral surgery in Eugene, Oregon. He then moved his practice to Altadena, CA. There he joined the Pasadena Community Playhouse, giving up dentistry at age 36. He turned the practice over to his wife and began his acting career.

Dr. Buchanan appeared in a total of 13 different productions with Glenn Ford. His friend of many years, Glenn Ford, once told a story of when Edgar was preparing to do some painful dental work on him. The anesthesia consisted of others passing by and allowing the patient, Glenn, to take swallows of whiskey to help ease the pain of the process. About every third drink Glenn took, Edgar took one as well.

Dr. Buchanan made his film debut in 1939. His chubby face and gravelly voice were featured in over 100 films, but he is perhaps best known for TV roles in Hopalong Cassidy (1952), Judge Roy Bean (1955), Petticoat Junction (1963), and Cade’s County (1971). He played the same character (Uncle Joe Carson) on three different series: The Beverly Hillbillies (1962), Petticoat Junction (1963) and Green Acres (1965). His favorite role was in Texas (1941).

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/person/24490%7C43714/Edgar-Buchanan/

http://ohsu-hca.blogspot.com/2010/07/edgar-buchanan-frontier-dentist-who.html