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Others in dentistry join JADA in marking their own milestones

June 17, 2013

By James Berry

Executives from the Premier Dental Products Co. delivered an eloquent email to The Journal of the American Dental Association in January, congratulating JADA on a milestone that the company shares with the ADA’s flagship publication.

All in the family: Gary and Julie Charlestein represent the third and fourth generations of the family that founded and has managed Premier Dental Products Co. for 100 years.
“From one centenarian to another, congratulations,” the message read. “May your strength, reach and influence continue.”

The email came “with warmest regards” from Gary Charlestein, chief executive officer of Premier, and his daughter, Julie Charlestein, the company president and namesake of Julius Charlestein, who founded the Pennsylvania-based firm in 1913. (JADA was born in November of the same year.)

Gary and Julie represent the third and fourth generations of the family that included Gary’s father, Morton Charlestein. Known affectionately as “Mr. M,” he served Premier as its president, chairman and chairman emeritus until his death in April 2011 at the age of 95.

NDA, Old Dominion celebrate 100 years
In 1913, a group of 29 dentists from Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia formed what was known originally as the Tri-State Dental Association. Read more.

--> “We were really quite small when we got started,” says Gary. “My grandfather [Julius] was actually working at the bench, making instruments. Those were humble beginnings.”

Still family owned and operated after all these years, the company now employs about 150 staff and markets dental products in 75 countries. Premier added medical products to its line in 1985.

The company marked its centennial with a party at the Chicago Midwinter Meeting in February and with a series of dinners at the International Dental Show in Cologne, Germany, in March. Another celebration is planned for this fall in Philadelphia.

Premier joins JADA and the ADA as one of a host of organizations in dentistry—manufacturers, a dental association, dental societies, dental schools and at least one dental study club—acknowledging some major milestone in their history this year.

More than a dozen organizations responded to notices published in the ADA News asking them to let the ADA know how and when they intended to celebrate their big event.

This report covers only the groups that responded to the published notices and may not include all those observing milestones in 2013. If your company or organization is not mentioned and you think it should be, contact Associate Publisher James Berry,

At this writing, the Iowa Dental Association was getting ready for its Annual Session.

The IDA this year marks its sesquicentennial, “Celebrating 150 Years of Smiles,” with various events culminating in a President’s Gala and Celebration Concert during its yearly convention.

Dr. Daniel Kegler, IDA president, notes that the organization was founded in mid-July 1863—shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg—and was started with just six dentist members and two students. IDA membership today is about 1,700, representing almost 90 percent of Iowa dentists.

In a statement for the ADA News, the IDA president talked about embracing the challenge of access to care and about the association’s mission to serve all Iowans, “giving them the best health care possible.”

Also marking its sesquicentennial in 2013 is Temple University’s Kornberg School of Dentistry in Philadelphia, the nation’s second oldest dental school in continuous operation.

The school celebrated its success with a gala in April attended by an estimated 500 alumni and guests. Dr. Amid I. Ismail, the school dean, opened a time capsule that had been closed 50 years earlier. Among other mementoes, the capsule contained a letter from Dr. Gerald Timmons, the dean in 1963.

As part of its celebration, the school offered a free full-service dental clinic for its patients. Over the past year, the Kornberg school has provided more than $1 million in charitable care.

“Both our nation and the field of dentistry have seen remarkable advances in the past 150 years,” said Dr. Ismail, noting that the school has launched a $1.75 million Project ENGAGE aimed at boosting access to care for children. The project is a cooperative venture with UnitedHealthCare and the United Health Foundation.

Pioneer: Edith White was one of two women in the first class of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, 1888. She later disappeared while prospecting for gold in Alaska. 
In 1888, 125 years ago this year, the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry was founded—the eighth university-based dental school to open in the United States.

Claudia Kanter, the school’s director of Marketing and Communications, notes that the dental school’s groundbreaking first class included two women. One of them, Edith White, practiced dentistry in Chicago and Minneapolis after graduation, and then headed north to Alaska, caught up in the gold rush of the late 19th century.

Dr. White clerked in a mining office and practiced dentistry in the Yukon Territory until the fall of 1901, when she set out to prospect for gold in southeastern Alaska. Two years later, her diary was found, but she was never seen again.

The school, on the other hand, has done well in the passing decades, most recently earning two Gies Awards for Vision over the past three years. Among other advancements, its Minnesota Dental Research Center for Biomaterials and Biomechanics is credited with creating ART—a mechanical mouth capable of replicating a year’s worth of chewing in a single day for use in testing the wear potential of dental materials.

DENTSPLY International was founded 114 years ago, in 1899, as The Dentists’ Supply Co., with its headquarters at the time on 42nd Street in Manhattan.

The company founders, four New York businessmen, included George H. Whiteley, who became the firm’s principal manager, thanks to his experience as a ceramist.

The company today is a global behemoth headquartered in York, Pa., with 12,000 employees worldwide. DENTSPLY markets its products in more than 120 countries under a wide range of established brands.

The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry will celebrate “a proud past, a brilliant future” in observance of its own centennial this year.

“It will be a year of honoring not only the college’s history, but the alumni, friends, students, faculty, staff and corporate and organized dentistry partners who have embraced our commitment to excellence in dental education and who have been inspired by our vision to make our college a world leader over the past 100 years,” Dr. Bruce Graham, the college dean, said in a news release issued late last year.

The release described a variety of centennial events, some of which already have taken place, including a reception held during the Chicago Midwinter Meeting in February, and a Clinic and Research Day that took place in March.

Highlights of the college’s other events include a June conference titled “100 Years of Research Excellence: Celebrating Our College’s Legacy,” a riverboat cruise on the Illinois River, also in June, and a centennial gala in November.

The San Antonio District Dental Society, a component of the Texas Dental Association and ADA, started celebrating its centennial year in March with a Family Picnic Day, followed in April by a Fiesta River Parade Party that included a float sponsored by the society and its Alliance.

SADDS also celebrated its milestone at the TDA meeting in May and will hold a final “Texas Chic” gala Sept. 13 at a local resort. The event is open to members, nonmembers, staff, families, vendors and other area dental organizations.

With nearly 900 members, SADDS is the third largest component society in the TDA. “Over the years, our society has won numerous awards, including the prestigious ADA Golden Apple Awards for special projects promoting membership diversity and inclusion, and dental student support,” noted Dr. Mickey J. Calverley, SADDS president.

The Corydon Palmer Dental Society had some welcome help kicking off its centennial year in January. A component of the Ohio Dental Association and the ADA, the society hosted dignitaries from both those organizations at its installation ceremony Jan. 17 in Boardman, near Youngstown.

On hand were Dr. Robert Faiella, ADA president; Dr. Ronald Lemmo, ADA treasurer; Dr. Joseph Crowley, ADA 7th District (Ohio and Indiana) trustee; Dr. Kim Gardner, ODA president; Dr. David Waldman, ODA secretary and a CPDS member; and David Owsiany, ODA executive director.

Installed as CPDS president was Dr. Donald Brunetti of Youngstown. Other new society officials and board members also were installed Jan. 17.

Leaders: Dr. Robert Faiella, ADA president (left), joins Dr. Donald Brunetti in an installation ceremony for leaders of the Corydon Palmer Dental Society. Dr. Brunetti is president of the CPDS, a component of the Ohio Dental Association and the ADA.
The society is named for Dr. Corydon Spencer Palmer and represents about 85 percent of the dentists in three Ohio counties: Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana. Dr. Palmer was born in the area in 1820 and gained such renown as a clinician that patients he acquired in New York would travel by train to visit him in the heartland.

The ADA’s Dr. Faiella hailed the CPDS “for its cohesiveness and strength” and for its commitment to the underserved in its tri-county region.

The installation ceremony was the first in a year-long series of events scheduled to mark the group’s centennial.

A century ago, Dr. Alfred Civilion Fones was practicing dentistry in Bridgeport, Conn., when he decided to train his chairside assistant, Irene Newman, to remove stains and deposits from teeth.

Dr. Fones soon recognized that these prophylactic procedures were resulting in healthier teeth and gums for his patients—a benefit he wanted to share with others in the dental community. In 1913, he opened a school for dental hygiene, and Irene Newman ultimately became the nation’s first licensed dental hygienist.

Though other hygiene schools opened as a result of his efforts, Dr. Fones closed his school in 1916 so that he could travel and lecture on the merits oral hygiene. Then, 33 years later, in 1949, the Fones School of Dental Hygiene reopened at the University of Bridgeport.

Groundbreaking: Irene Newman, the nation’s first licensed dental hygienist.
The American Dental Hygienists’ Association marks 100 years of dental hygiene at its 90th Annual Session, taking place in Boston this month. The schedule of events for the conference includes a wide range of continuing education courses and exhibits for dental hygienists and the entire dental team.

The Pittsburgh Academy of Dentistry, a study club organized by dentists from Pittsburgh and surrounding towns, met for the first time on May 26, 1913.

A month later, the group adopted a constitution and bylaws, and changed its name to The Dental Post-Graduate Club. A couple of additional name changes ensued before the current moniker was selected.

Today, the group gathers regularly at the University Club of the University of Pittsburgh. Membership is limited to 65 dentists who pay a fee to hear speakers from around the country. Six hours of continuing education credit are offered at each meeting.