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Dr. Richard V. Tucker, 2015 ADA Distinguished Service Award winner, dies

January 13, 2016

By David Burger

Dr. Tucker
Ferndale, Wash. — Dr. Richard V. Tucker, whose pioneering work using gold in restorative dentistry created legions of devotees in the dental profession, died Jan. 12.

The ADA's Board of Trustees bestowed upon Dr. Tucker the ADA Distinguished Service Award at the ADA House of Delegates in Washington, D.C., at ADA 2015 — America's Dental Meeting, in November. Dr. Tucker was unable to attend.

"The Board of Trustees and I were honored to be able to give Dr. Tucker the Distinguished Service Award in November," ADA President Carol Gomez Summerhays said. "While Dr. Tucker was unable to receive his award in front of the ADA House, I'm glad to know he valued it. Dr. Tucker's contributions to dentistry benefited us all, and he will be remembered for a long time by his many admirers and patients."

Born in 1922 in Orofino, Idaho — which means "fine gold" in Spanish — Dr. Tucker had a small-town private practice from 1948 to his retirement in 2013. It was there where he studied to perfect and innovate gold procedures, especially for use in general dentistry.

Because of his innovations, there are more than 50 Tucker Clinical Operating Study Clubs around the world, including in Japan and Italy, created in his honor. The way he used gold in restorative dentistry has become universally known as the Tucker Technique.

Dr. Tucker graduated from Washington University, in St. Louis, in 1942 and the Washington University School of Dentistry in 1946. After two years in the U.S. Navy, he began his private practice. He is a past president of the Washington State Dental Association, Academy of Operative Dentistry and the American Academy of Gold Foil Operators.

During his long career, he presented more than 250 lectures and graduate courses in dental schools, institutes and other dental organizations all over the world on his favorite subject, cast restorative dentistry.

Months before his death, Dr. Tucker told the ADA News that he wanted only to be remembered for being one thing.

"A good dentist," he said.

Dr. Tucker’s service will be on Friday, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m. at the United Church, 2034 Washington St., Ferndale, Washington.