Edward Hand Medical Heritage Foundation
  History of Dentistry in Lancaster County



John A. Cooper, Jr., D.M.D.

Lancaster is known as America’s oldest inland city. Lancaster was originally known as Hickory Town. The city was renamed after the city of Lancaster in England by native John Wright. In the early days of its founding, professional medical and dental care was a luxury most Lancastrians never enjoyed.

In its colonial times most Lancastrians relied on home remedies to treat tooth pain. These self-reliant cures were passed down from generation to generation or could be found in Almanacs that were available. One popular remedy was to put the “juice of rue” which was to be put in the ear on the same side as the toothache.

When all home remedies failed, having the tooth removed was the only recourse. This procedure was performed by either an itinerate tooth-drawer, the neighborhood doctor or barber and in some cases the local blacksmith.

Accurate records of dentistry in eighteenth century Lancaster are scarce. Among the best are advertisements placed by dentists in the newspaper of the day. It was quite proper for anyone who declared himself to be a dentist to announce his availability and superior skills through a local advertisement. Blacksmiths, barbers, mechanics, jewelers as well as the unskilled in any art, picked up a few tools and journeyed through the land as “dental surgeons”.

From historical records the first dentist of notoriety was Thomas E. Evans. From a very early age, Evans had an unusual sense of destiny. The boy grew up in a Quaker household near what is now 37th and Chestnut Streets (in Philadelphia) saw his name “on a silver plate or perhaps a brass one”-Thomas E. Evans, Dentist, he later wrote. “At night I dreamed of this plate on the door, of people coming to have their teeth filled, new ones made for them…and even in those childish days I thought perhaps I might someday be called Doctor…”

His father tried to steer him toward a career as a lawyer, but finally gave in and let the sure-handed Tom become apprenticed to a silver and goldsmith named Joseph Warner. There he became adept at manipulating metals; picked the brains of any dentists who came into Warner’s shop; and read whatever books on dentistry he could get his hands on. His first patients were sheep and dogs and cattle, whose teeth he would drill and then fill with a tin-foil amalgam. Later, some trusting two-legged souls allowed him to plug their cavities.

In 1843, having attended lectures at Jefferson Medical College and studied with a leading Philadelphia dentist, he earned a certificate permitting him to practice the “art and mastery of dentistry”. After practicing briefly in Baltimore, he hung out his shingle in Lancaster, PA, and began making a name for himself with a new technique of gold-foil fillings. Evans didn’t invent the technique which involves taking paper-thin sheets of gold, rolling them into tiny balls and then hammering them into a cavity, where they coalesce into each other, but his expertise with it brought him his fame and much of his fortune.

In 1847, he won the “First Premium” for his gold-foil fillings at the Franklin Institute’s exhibition of arts and manufacture. The exhibit caught the eye of a Philadelphia physician named John C. Clark, who had retired to Paris and returned for a visit. An American dentist in Paris, Dr. Cyrus Starr Brewster, whose clients included King Louis Philippe and his court, had asked Clark to find him an able young assistant. Clark recommended Evans, and that November, the 24 year old dentist and his wife, Agnes, arrived by steamer in France. While in France, Dr. Evans became the official dentist of Emperor Napoleon III; Napoleon’s nephew.


A History of the Lancaster County Dental Society
(Originally the Harris Dental Society)
By Thomas B. Garvey, A.B., D.D.S., F.A.C.D.
The following is an abridged version of the original publication in the LCDS Centennial Celebration Program, May 24, 1967.

In May 1867, in the City of Lancaster, a meeting of members of the dental profession was held. The purpose of this meeting was to organize a society which would foster professional and social intercourse among the dental practitioners of the city and county. A further purpose was to encourage correct principles and practices of dental surgery and collateral sciences.

The following men were present: Drs. Samuel Welchans, John McCalla, J. W. Derr, J. G. Moore, E. K. Young, G. A. Horting, A. S. Miller, M. C. Webb and William Nichols Amer. A committee was appointed to prepare a draft of a Constitution and By-Laws to be submitted at a subsequent meeting.

On June 21st, 1867, the adjourned meeting was called to order again to receive the report of the Committee on Constitution and By-Laws. At this meeting the name of the Harris Dental Association of Lancaster, PA was adopted as the new name of the new society.
The following names were offered in nomination and elected:
President – John McCalla (Lancaster)
Vice President – J. W. Derr (Lititz)
Secretary – William Nichols Amer (Lancaster)
Treasurer – E. K. Young (Lancaster)
Executive Committee – Samuel Welchans (Lancaster)
P. W. Heistand (Millersville)
M. C. Webb (Lancaster)

These are the names which will appear in the annals of the Harris Dental Society for the next twenty years. They guided the early efforts of the association. A mere handful, but men of sound judgment and strong moral principles. They had a great desire to raise the profession above mediocrity to a position of high regards in the community. Probably John McCalla was the foremost as an organizer and leader, although Samuel Welchans and Marchall C. Webb were recognized as great operators of their day. However, it is to William Nichols Amer, that your essayist pays the highest respect. He must have been a man well educated for the times, possessing the poise and gentility. These qualities are gleaned from the minutes of the Society which he kept as Secretary for thirty-two years save one. That year, he was President of the Society.

Just why was the association called “The Harris”, or as one new member of our organization asked at the meeting when the name was changed to the Lancaster County Dental Society; “Who was Harris and what did he do for dentistry?”

Well, Chapin Harris was born in Pompey, N.Y., in 1806. Coming from a professional family, which included two brothers a physicians and one as a clergyman, it was only natural that he study medicine with his brother a a preceptor. A license to practice medicine in Guilford, Ohio, was obtained in 1824.

In 1827, however, he launched into the practice of dentistry through preceptorship and by reading all the available literature of the day. After practicing throughout the South and Southwest, he finally located in Baltimore about 1835. In 1838 his first book, Dental Art, was published. There were many editions and thousands of copies were sold.

During this time Chapin Harris met William Hayden. Harris was the organizer and practical, while Hayden was the scholar and teacher-type. They made an ideal pair and were drawn to one another. The two men tried to persuade the University of Maryland to add dental training to the medical department of the University, but their overtures were rejected as it was feared that the chartering of a dental school was detrimental to the interest of the medical school. It was thought that Dentistry was of little consequence and thus justified unfavorable action.

However, in 1839, and principally through the efforts of Harris, enough signatures of representative citizens were secured to petition the Maryland Legislature for the incorporation of a college of dental surgery at Baltimore. Thus the first and oldest dental college was founded. The first class was graduated in 1841.

Chapin Harris became Professor of Operative and Prosthetic Dentistry. At the death of Hayden he became President. He was a tireless worker, both as an administrator and as a teacher. After a day of lecturing and demonstrating, he wrote far into the night. He was a continuous contributor to the American Journal of Dental Science, and from 1839 to 1850 editor-in-chief of the American Journal and Library of Dental Science. From 1856 to 1857 he was the second President of the American Dental Association as we know it today.

Always a keen student, he possessed one of the finest libraries in the city of Baltimore, and was a man of vigorous personality, handsome and intellectual, quite religious (of the Episcopal faith), and a Mason possessing some of the highest degrees of the Order.

He is also to be remembered, then as the founder of the first and oldest dental school in the world, and as the editor of the first dental journal and organizer of the first dental society. The three most important factors in our professional existence thus can be traced to the energy and foresight of Chapin Harris.

His passing occurred September 29, 1869, at the age of 63.

Chapin Harris, as a national figure, was probably well known to McCalla, Welchans, Webb, and Amer, for these men attended national meetings as early as the 1850’s. Thus, we can see why these men chose the name of Harris for their organization.

In 1867 what was the status of the national associations of Dentistry?

There had been a national society known as the American Society of Surgeon Dentists. However, an antagonistic spirit had disturbed its balance and special interests only were allowed to guide its policies, probably the cause of its downfall. The organization made no effort to secure younger men who were imbued with greater professional energies. There were no professional projects or research. The meetings were stalemated by the empiricism of the chosen few. Hence the organization did not grow, and, in accordance with the laws of nature, repair not being equal to waste, death must ensue.

From one extreme of rank conservatism, the pendulum swung to the other extreme, the American Dental Convention. This body had no Constitution, By-Laws or qualifications for membership. The association did nothing to elevate professional standards and so the ignorant and educated walked side by side. Their meetings were conducted about a limited range of subjects and the whole procedure caused responsible membership to hold aloof, rather than to seek professional society.

From the ashes of these two associations, sprang the National Dental Association, which held its first meeting in Niagara Falls in 1859. The Chairman of this meeting was W.W. Allport, a noted practitioner from Chicago. The secretary, Jonathan Taft, later became Dean of the Dental College, University of Michigan. It was resolved at this meeting that practitioners in areas of the country where no societies existed, should organize and elect delegates to the convention. The next meeting was scheduled to meet in Washington in 1860. At this meeting W.H. Atkinson was elected President and Foster Flagg, Secretary. It was passed that each State, County and Local Society send delegates to the National Meeting. A committee would be appointed to ascertain the qualifications of every candidate and pass thereon.

From then on the National Dental Association gained in impetus under wise guidance, followed by a more thorough organization of state societies, and with the formation of state societies came a raising of educational standards.

After some years of meeting nationally, the State of New York came forward to lead the profession from the wilderness by establishing a Dental Act in 1868. The State of Ohio followed New York, decreeing that a practitioner must possess a diploma from a Dental College or a certificate issued by a State Dental Society.

Georgia and New Jersey followed with a demand that practitioners receive a diploma from a dental college or a certificate from a board duly authorized by this act.

Pennsylvania was the sixth state to establish a Dental Act. This was not passed before 1876, eight years after the formation of the State Society.

Much of the foregoing can be considered a digression from the text of this essay, but it does give some picture of how Dentistry was grasping in the darkness, trying to arise and walk.

A committee consisting of McCalla (Lancaster), Guilford (Lebanon), Amer (Lancaster), and Scholl (Berks Co.), was appointed to correspond with other associations in Pennsylvania, urging them to attend a meeting to be held in Philadelphia in August to form the State Society. At this Lititz meeting, Dr. Truman and Darby of the Pennsylvania Dental College were on the scientific program and greatly contributed to the interest of the meeting, a meeting considered at that time to be the finest ever convened in the interior of Pennsylvania. All arrangements were made by the Harris Dental Association.

A committee was appointed to draw up a Constitution and By-Laws. William Nichols Amer of Lancaster was a member of this committee.

The following officers were elected:
President – A.B. Robbins
First Vice President – J.L. Suesserott
Second Vice President – Samuel Welchans
Recording Secretary – George W. Neidich
Treasurer – John McCalla

A committee was appointed to draft a bill to secure legislation to govern the practice of Dentistry in this state and to charter this Society. This committee consisted in part of Truman (Philadelphia), McCalla (Lancaster), Moffett (Harrisburg), and W.K. Brenzier (Reading).
The first annual meeting of the Pennsylvania State Society was held in Harrisburg, June 8, 1869. Dr. Samuel Welchans presided.

Following the formation of the State Society, Pennsylvania began sending delegates to the American Dental Association meeting and to the State meetings of Ohio and New York.
In 1871, John McCalla was elected president of the Pennsylvania State Society and the meeting was held in Gettysburg. Then followed the State Meeting in Erie in 1872, Lancaster in 1873, with McCalla delivering the address of welome; in Wilkes-Barre in 1874; and in Cresson Springs in 1875.

The Legislative Committee in these seven years, had failed to have a Dental Act passed. Finally, a Dental Act was passed in 1876, due to the efforts of Drs. McClellan and Wood in the Senate and Dr. Morgan and Mr. Vodges in the House.

Six State Board members were elected by the State Society.

In 1874, the membership of the Harris was growing and there was a movement afoot to change the name of the Association to the Harris Dental Association of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. This action was defeated, although membership was extended to reputable practitioners wishing to join.

Thus we see the Harris moving along with regular meetings, a growing membership, interest stimulated, and a will to elevate the profession to high standards. This progress continued until June 28, 1887, when John McCalla died. It was the passing of a great moving spirit, a man with mature judgment and a strict sense of justice combined with a mild and amiable disposition, rendering him an able spokesman for the correct principles of his chosen profession.

For the next five years the Harris Dental Association was quite active within their own organization. Much time seems to have been spent in the demonstrations of operative techniques, crown and porcelain work by members of the Harris. The meetings were carried on generally in the office of William Nichols Amer, except when the clinician had to demonstrate some laboratory technique in his own office. Every meeting is recorded with some comment by Amer.
In 1892, a concerted movement was made to secure members. The older men had been at fault for failing to elect younger men who were eager to join. A probationary period hardly stimulates the enthusiasm of a young dental candidate. In this year there appears the first dental college graduates, men who had spent some three years in a recognized dental college such as C.G. Gable, Harry Bair, W.H. Lowell, Sherman Smith, R.D. McCaskey and C.J. Stamm.

From 1900 to 1906, the meetings were continued in the Elks Hall on East Orange Street.
From 1903 to 1906, Dr. Paul R. Byerly was elected Secretary. However, from 1906 to 1910, there are no minutes recorded and in the latter year, the Secretary, D. Byerly, was instructed to call all previous members to renew their membership and to elect officers. The Association started fresh.
In 1918 Dr. C.V. Snyder became President of the Society. During his administration a committee was appointed to consider a minimum fee schedule. Efforts were made to have a list of non-paying clients compiled. The Society was becoming more conscious of the business side of the profession.

From 1920 the Harris gained continually in membership. It was in these years, that H.K. Cooper and Paul Bomberger became active in the Harris. The former, after 10 years of general practice in Lititz, became the first specialist, choosing Orthodontia as his field. He has been a most active member, as a President of Harris as 1st president of the 5th district which he helped to organize, and as President of the Pennsylvania State Dental Society. He also received honorary degrees from Franklin and Marshall College and the University of Pennsylvania along with many other high honors in the dental field. Dr. Paul Bomberger held every office in the Harris Dental Society, a tireless worker in its interest. He also became President of the 5th District Dental Society and President of the Pennsylvania State Dental Society. He passed away in April 1953, much bereaved by the Society.

In 1921 the question of retaining the name of Harris was again brought before the Society. After arguing pro and con, the name Harris still survived. The membership of the Harris at this time was 31 members, just half the number of dentists registered in Lancaster City and County.
During the presidency of Dr. Waterson, the City Dental Clinic as we know it today, became a reality under the mayoralty of the late Frank Musser. Many of the Harris members, Samuel Appleyard, Bob Fetterhoff, Cliff Benson, James Leman, and Harry Lutz have served at this clinic, thus adding to the prestige of the Harris.

At this time, 1926, Dr. C.V. Snyder strongly advocated school examination among the children of our city schools, but it was not until some years later that two dental hygienists were placed in the school system. Later, dentists were paid to make examinations of school children. Dr. Snyder can rightly be called the “Father” of our present dental health program.

In 1932, the Harris Dental Society entertained the Pennsylvania State Dental Society at the Mid-Winter Meeting in Lancaster. Dr. L.E. Nightengale was General Chairman of the meeting.
Through these years, the Harris was recognized as one of the most active organizations in the State of Pennsylvania. Many of the members were alert to post-graduate courses and readily gave of their time to nearby societies.

However, there followed in the 1930’s, a period of depression. The Society lost a few members. What really presented a problem was the “Advertising Dentist”. They ran whole pages in our local papers, extolling their abilities as dentists at cheaper fees. Various means were tried to curb this practice. The newspapers were interviewed, but to no avail. Even legislation in Harrisburg was sought. Efforts were not equal to the resourceful “Advertiser”. They gradually passed out of the picture with the entry of the United States in the Second World War, when every dentist was obligated to become a member of the American Dental Association.

This brings the history of the Harris to the Second World War. Less members were available in the Lancaster County, due to the age of our men, than in some communities of the State. After the War, there was quite an influx of younger men. The Study Club was led by Dr. J.J. Bentman who was the first Periodontist in Lancaster. His untiring efforts in securing clinicians and teaching the group better dentistry, are much to be commended. The organization, however, only survived two years.

Since there are some 500 organizations in Lancaster County, the Society saw fit, at the suggestion of Dr. J.J. Bentman, to form a Speakers Bureau. This consisted of men willing to appear before groups and present the problems of Dental Health. In January 1949, a Medical Bureau was formed in the city, keeping data on all Medical and Dental unpaid accounts. The Society advanced a loan of $500.00 to the Medical Bureau. Dr. C.V. Snyder, now an emeritus member of the Dental Society, represented Dentistry on the Medical Bureau Board. Dr. Snyder has been a tireless worker in our Society and community.

In 1953 two activities were sponsored for the benefit of the community. The first was an effort by our Society to fluoridate the water supply of our city. This followed a controlled experiment in various areas of the United States, which brought forth excellent results over a period of years in controlling tooth decay in children of school age. Dr. J.J. Bentman was the most active of our members in this project. With the cooperation of the Mayor of Lancaster, Thomas J. Monaghan, the subject was brought before Council. Faint praise by the members of the Society, however, gave the project a lukewarm aspect. The measure was never placed before the voters for approval.
The second project was the continuance of the City Dental Clinics, manned by Society members, at public expense. Mayor Thomas J. Monaghan again was a champion of the service, however, there were pro and con arguments as to the financial responsibility.

The County Commissioners agreed to assume responsibility for the continuance of the clinics, stating that the clinics were to be operated in the interests of both city and county indigent.
During the year 1954, some members of the Society began to express their opinion that the name of the Society should be changed.

This issue was discussed at various meetings during the year at which time several new names were suggested. Finally, during the business session of the regular meeting on October 18, 1954, a motion was made that the name of the society be changed to “the Lancaster County Dental Society”. The motion was seconded and carried by a vote of 47 to 9. After a period of 87 years, thus ended the era of the “Harris”.

1955 brought sorrow to the Society and especially to the older members. Maurice P. Gross, one of the first technicians to open and operate a Dental Laboratory (1923) in Lancaster, passed away. “Pete”, affectionately known by his friends, was a dedicated Laboratory man. He belonged to many National organizations in his field. His presence was always felt where new methods were being tried, hoping to improve his service to his clients.

In June 1961, a Health and Welfare Center was founded in the city embracing all the agencies in Welfare Work. To this project the Society donated $500.00. This donation was made to help indirectly the work of the Dental Hygienists Association in our city.

1965 witnessed the resignation of Dr. Charles Gaige from the State Board of Examiners. Dr. Gaige is one of our foremost practitioners and the only member of the local Society ever to be seated on the State Board of Examiners. He was a tireless worker in the interest of education and ethical practice.

The history of the Lancaster County Dental Society cannot be told in full without the history of the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic and its founder Dr. Herbert K. Cooper.

In 1930, Dr. Cooper asked the question, “Why can’t the treatment of maxillofacial deformities be carried out as any other branch of orthopedics?” Dr. Cooper believed that an integrated team of plastic surgeon, dentist and speech therapist might lead to a solving of some of the problems of the cleft palate patient. In 1936, Dr. Cooper visited Dr. Jack Fitzgibbons of Holyoke, Massachusetts, a pioneer in cleft palate restorative therapy and himself a cleft palate subject. Following the visit, an integrated clinic in Lancaster was founded in 1938. In 1942, and for four years later, the Lancaster Rotary Club sponsored the clinic as a Club project. In 1946, the Clinic became incorporated and thus was the first integrated center for treatment of oro-facial deformities and communicative disorders in the United States. Dr. Cooper has brought a new life and hope to many handicapped individuals. His efforts have been an approach to cleft palate rehabilitation by the evidence of the numerous group clinics in the United States. Dr. Cooper holds an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the University of Pennsylvania and Franklin and Marshall College. In 1956, he was granted the Henry Spenadel Award by the First District Dental Society of New York. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthodontists, The American College of Dentists, the New York Academy of Dentistry and American Academy of Dental Medicine.


The dental society began its second hundred years after holding an all-day centennial celebration at the Host Motel. Co-chairman for the activities were Dr. Rod Stauffer and Dr. Paul Wallin.
In 1967 the society was still very much concerned with the fluoridation of the public water supply. The success of fluoride in reducing dental caries was documented and the society was a leader in the battle to fluoridate municipal water supplies despite strong challenges from various consumer groups, some public officials, and even some dentists. Dr. J.J. Bentman helped to lead this battle and slowly the municipal water supplies have been fluoridated. One of the voiced concerns was the use of supplemental fluoride in those areas which had fluoride in their water supplies and a letter was sent to the Lancaster County Medical Society for their recommendations. In 1987 House Bill 1004 ordering fluoridation of public water supplies again received the support of the dental society. As of November 1992, the bill had not passed.

As advances in technology and techniques increased it became apparent that monthly scientific meetings alone could no longer provide us with enough information to keep us aware of the latest advances in dentistry. In 1967 under the leadership of Dr. Luther Fetter, the society planned the first of the annual day of education.

About the same time the dental society during this period was very involved in helping establish a one year dental assistant training program at the Willow Street Vocational Technical School. There was also a dental clinic opened in the Conestoga Valley School District and much effort was expended to keep the clinic operating at St. Joseph Hospital.

After the celebration of the first 100 years, it was decided to keep the society’s records stored in the Lancaster County Historical Society in fire resistant shelves with restricted access to the general public.

In 1969 our society became involved with the Headstart program, providing care under a grant administered by Delta Dental.

Each year there has been a Children’ Dental Health Celebration in February. The members of the dental society, hygiene and assistants association and the auxiliary volunteer their time and present programs to the community, in local schools, and during the late 1970’s at the Cleft Palate Clinic and later at Park City Mall.

In 1969 the society delegate to the Pennsylvania Dental Association was instructed to vote against a $1,000,000 line of credit to the PA Dental Service Corp. This would have been financed by a $100 increase in the dues. The loan was eventually passed despite our objections. In 1992 the loan was finally repaid to the Pennsylvania Dental Association.

Unfortunately, minutes were not available from 1970-1979. The society, however, continued and was interested in offering continuing education in new techniques to the membership and in CPR and practice management.

From 1974-1976, the society was very much concerned with the adverse publicity originating from the State Dental Council investigation of a local dentist who was administering general anesthesia to his patients. Needless to say, the Lancaster county Dental Society was concerned with the negative image given dentistry by this case especially when an article appeared in the Lancaster New Era in September 1975 announcing the revocation of this dentist’s license.
Our membership in October 1979 was 142.

Beginning in 1979 the Lancaster County Dental Society responded to the growing needs of the community and its member dentists. A Crisis Support Committee was established and chaired by Dr. Casimer Gienic. The committee provided assistance and compassion to member dentists and their families during periods of illness or death of a member.

Beginning in April 1980 Dr. David Duntz and his committee published an informational column in the Lancaster Sunday News for one year. Many articles about dental specialties and diseases were written by our members and published in the newspapers as a public service.

Also in 1980 our society began to look toward expanding the availability of dental care in our communities where access was limited, namely the increasing fixed income geriatric population and emergency care for the general population.

The Lancaster County Dental Society established the first local Access to Care program in the state. Aided by the Office of Aging, the program offered reduced dental fees for patients with limited income. In 1982 the PDA House of Delegates approved a resolution introduced by our society to develop a similar program on a statewide basis.

Dr. Edward Freedman established the Comprehensive Dental Care Committee and named Dr. Andy Wickenheiser as its first chairman. Dr. Robert Brackbill, Spurgeon Gotwalt, Seisha Oka, Paul Wallin and Ed Freedman were a few of the committee members who responded with proposals that shaped the society’s response to the present and future needs of the underserved. They surveyed area nursing homes and boarding houses to determine the level of dental care provided to their residents. A program was started to assist nursing homes in identifying dentures by labeling them with the patient’s name.

The society continued to work with the Office of Aging. In response to this and a demand for mobile equipment to facilitate the availability of care for the nursing home patient as well as the home bound and other non-ambulatory patient, a non-profit Foundation for Dental Health was established in 1984 with a $5000 loan from the dental society. The foundation, under the direction of Dr. Robert Brackbill, then solicited and received funds in excess of $10,000.
They purchased a complete mobile portable dental operatory including a mobile dental unit, handpieces, compressor and chair.

In the fall of 1980 the Lancaster County Dental Society established what was believed to be the first county wide dental emergency service in the state. Through the cooperation of dozens of our members, a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week emergency phone network was implemented. This plan effectively provided the entire community with emergency dental care.

Becoming increasingly aware of the need for CPR training, LCDS member and their staffs participated in annual and sometimes semi-annual CPR courses sponsored by the society. Dr. Steve Waugh, Dr. Arthur Sommers and Dr. Frank Rocco helped organize the first courses. During the late 80’s and to the present, Dr. Waugh and Dr. Peter Ross continued to offer the CPR training and refresher courses.

Hepatitis B was a significant risk for the dental profession but in the 1980’s a vaccine was introduced. At that time several presentations were given to our members about the benefits and risks of the vaccine and arrangements were made to assist members in obtaining the vaccine if they desired.

There continued to be more demand than supply when it came to dentists willing to accept Department of Public Assistance reimbursement for dental services. The reluctance of most dentists to participate in the program coincided with inadequate fee levels and increasing paperwork. This problem was not unique to the early 80’s. Minutes from meetings in the 1960’s to the present time repeated a similar theme.

The rapid increase of third party reimbursement, primarily by employer paid dental insurance, resulted in increased prosperity for most dentists but also saw the increased intrusion of insurance companies, attempting to influence the way dentistry was practiced. Dentistry prospered but under an avalanche of paperwork and rules and regulations.

Beginning in 1977 dental advertising became more common in the newspapers and on the radio and TV. This was a direct result of the Supreme Court ruling which prohibited restrictions on advertising in dentistry as well as other health care professions. Several ads included fees, including low cost dentures offered by several area clinics.

Several articles were also published that raised questions about the risks of dental x-rays, again increasing public awareness but creating some undue public concerns.

The Mid 80’s gave no reprieve from outside interferences in attempting to affect how dentistry was practiced. Controversies concerning health insurance, the ownership of dental x-rays, newspaper and yellow page advertising, non-dentists owning dental practices and independent hygiene practices, amalgam toxicity surfaced and resurfaced. A concerted effort at improving public relations was made and in 1983 a Public Information Committee chaired by Dr. David Goldy was set up. Dr. Fred Chairsell developed an informational brochure about our society, the emergency number, and the availability of the mobile equipment. The brochure was distributed to various agencies throughout the county.

Not unique to Lancaster County or dentistry in the 80’s was the increased risk and costs of malpractice and liability insurance. The patient relations committee, under the leadership of Dr. Kenneth Loeffler and later Dr. Charles Pitt, was handling an increased number of complaints. Most of the complaints were from patients who visited non-member dentists and a local clinic. Most of these complaints were forwarded to the PDA or the State Board.

But our members were not immune to complaints and the committee was refined through the efforts of Dr. Loeffler and Dr. Pitt. In the late 1980’s due to concerns about how the patient relations committee functioned, if the committee members and the society as a whole were protected from countersuit, in addition to concerns about malpractice, informed consent, anti-trust, and out dated by-laws, the society agreed to consult with legal counsel.

Under the guidance of attorneys from Barley, Snyder, Cooper and Barber the by-laws were revised in 1990 for the first time in over 20 years under the chairmanship of Dr. Ira S. Wolfe.

The patient relations committee was enhanced with revised protocols and a training program for its members. The committee’s accomplishments did not go unnoticed and received district and state recognition for their efforts. The district and state association planned to use the society’s format as a prototype in revising or establishing state and district patient relations committees.
The first speaker on the subject of AIDS appeared at the October 20, 1987 meeting. This was the beginning of a series of educational programs that addressed the epidemic that had enormous impact on the practice of dentistry. In February 1988, a representative from the Lancaster General Hospital explained the new regulations on the disposal of hazardous and infectious waste.
In May 1988, the federal agency OSHA began to enforce the employee’s right to know regulations. The regulations imposed the same employee protection on dental practices as existed in the manufacturing sector. The membership sought guidance from the local and state association and eventually their requests were answered.

Unfortunately the prevalence and the threat of AIDS forever changed the way dentistry was practiced. The public was consumed by the news that several patients contracted the AIDS virus from a dentist in Florida, who then died of AIDS himself. The public was alarmed and government agencies responded by making even further rules and regulations that required dentists to do everything from labeling their supplies, to providing masks, gloves, and uniforms to all their employees, to sterilizing all handpieces. The government was serious, even if many of the regulations were not based on scientific evidence. Failure to comply with these regulations could bring federal fines and penalties.

A hygienist shortage surfaced in the mid 80’s when the state universities closed their hygiene schools just when the employment opportunities for hygienists far exceeded the supply. When the Harrisburg Area Community College agreed to establish a 2 year dental hygiene curriculum, Dr. Ed White was appointed as LCDS liaison to the school. Their primary condition was that local dentists raise adequate funds to create an endowment. Our members as well as other colleagues from throughout the 5th district responded with unselfish contributions. The school graduated its first class in May 1992.


Dr. J.J. Bentman was born in Philadelphia in 1919. He graduated high school there before entering the Towne School of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He transferred to the College, U of P, to prepare himself for professional training. With the attack at Pearl Harbor he became a lieutenant in the Army Reserve, Medical Administration Corps in 1942 and then entered the Army’s ASTP program after training at Fort Meade, MD as a Pfc, to finish his basic training. Upon graduating dental school he was awarded to be a member of Cryer Society, an honor award to one of the ten top scholastic students in his class and also honored by being a member of Omicron Kappa Upsilon, the top honor society awarded to dental graduates at all American dental schools. During this time in service he was asked to be a Counter Subversive Agent in the Counter Intelligence Corp and maintained that position until the end of WWII.
At graduation at the U of P he became a 1st Lieutenant in the Army’s Medical Corp and was sent to the Army’s Field Medical Training School at Carlisle, PA. From there he was transferred to Camp Ellis, IL, the Army’s Medical Depot and Training Center where he trained with the 13th Hospital Train and later trained with the 63rd Field Hospital (The US Army’s 13th Hospital Train became the 13th Hospital Ship and was sunk in the English Channel by the German Air force with a complete loss of staff, crew and patients on the ship. The 63rd Field Hospital was captured by the Germans when the Battle of the Bulge began).

He was detached before each went to Europe and was sent to Fort Lewis and subsequently to the Territory of Alaska where he served as a dentist and anesthetist at a remote Army Hospital staffed with only one physician and one dentist to service the Army’s camp personnel and 1000 German prisoners of war. He was promoted to Captain in the Army while in Alaska.

At war’s end he returned to enter graduate training at the U of P’s Graduate School of Medicine and started in its first school of periodontology, the second school of its kind in the world at the time. He received his Masters in Science of Dentistry degree upon graduation and would be the first graduate periodontist at the U of P and the first periodontist in Pennsylvania and started his practice on East Chestnut Street. This was followed in becoming a consultant to the LGH, St. Joseph’s Hospital Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic, Philadelphia Naval Hospital, and the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Lebanon, PA where he served for 27 years.

He was a member of the Lancaster, PA and American Dental Associations and later awarded a membership as a Fellow of the American College of Dentistry. He was president of the Lancaster Dental Society and the Pennsylvania Society of Periodontists. In addition he was an associate editor of the Cyclopedia of Medicine from 1952 to 1962 in the subject of Oral Diseases and associate author of the book: Treatment Planning in Dental Practice.

He became an instructor and advanced to an Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Medicine and then to their Advanced Division of Dental Science in the years, 1949 to 1974.

At retirement in 1988, he was a preparatory for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History Institution, SITES’, Tropical Rainforest exhibit and A Disappearing Treasure, 1988, as well as their Ibyka Exhibit. Listed in Who’s Who in the East since 1962 to 1996 and Who’s Who in Health from 1996 from then until now.

Member: Advisory Committee, Research of Human Subjects and Institutional Review Board for the National Institute of Health to the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic, 1980 and 1985 and then its Chairman of Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic, 1995-2007.

A Brief Summary of the Specialty of Prosthodontics

To begin with, the history of prosthodontics goes back several centuries before BC. In my experience in the prosthodontic treatment of patients with oral facial malformations, numerous great changes have occurred over the years. The advances in design and construction of the maxillofacial prosthesis are due to improved materials, methods of treatment, better training in maxillofacial prosthodontics, the enhancement of osseointegrated implants for retention and support of the prosthesis to replace missing teeth and oral hard and soft tissue structure, and greater coordination among the interdisciplinary team members.

Those advances have helped to construct a more ideal prostheses, ensuring that these fixed and removable prosthesis are managed so as to preserve the integrity of all remaining teeth and soft and hard tissue of the oral facial structure.

The History of Prosthodontics and Maxillofacial Prosthesis in Lancaster County

By M. Mazaheri, MDD, DDS, MSc
Emeritus Director of Medical and Dental Services, Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic
Professor of Surgery, Penn State University, Hershey Medical Center

I was asked to write a short summary of the history of the specialty of Prosthodontics in Lancaster County. Let me begin by outlining my training and involvement in Lancaster.

My director, Dr. H.K. Cooper, Sr., always said that he was the only Orthodontist from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh for many years. I can say that I was, for many years, the only fully certified Prosthodontist from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh.

A brief history of my education, coming to Lancaster to complete my specialty training, and of the sponsorship of the University of Pennsylvania at the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic.

I was accepted as a graduate student by the Graduate School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania in 1950. I graduated in June, 1949 from Tehran, Iran’s Medical School with a degree of MDD. Being the first in my class, I was given a scholarship to come to the USA for further training in maxillofacial surgery. I arrived in the USA in December, 1949. I studied English at the school funded by the US State Department in Washington, D.C. In August, 1950 I left Washington, D.C. for Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania. It was founded for the purpose of training physicians who had completed their medical training in the USA or abroad. The curriculum of this training involved the advanced study of all basic sciences of medicine and some hospital training.

After two years of intensive study, I was assigned to finish my training and continue my research in maxillofacial malformations at the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic under the directorship of Dr. H.K. Cooper, Sr. and Robert S. Ivy, a chief of plastic surgery at the University of Pennsylvania.
In 1954, I completed my residency program at the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic and submitted my thesis on the “effect of parental aging in giving birth to a child with oral facial malformations.” My thesis was approved and I received a Master’s of Science degree in 1954 from the University of Pennsylvania. After completion of my graduate training, I decided to enroll in the undergraduate training in dentistry. After two years of study, I received my DDS degree from the same university.

After graduation, I was called upon to fulfill my military obligation. After several months of waiting in Washington, D.C., the Korean War was at its final phases. I was told that there was no need for my military obligation. I was dismissed and given completion for my military service without enrolling.

In November, 1956, I received a phone call from Dr. H.K. Cooper, Sr. that the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic had received a grant from NIDR in the treatment of patients with cleft palates. Dr. Cooper asked me if I would be interested in returning to the Clinic to direct this project. I accepted this offer and started my employment at the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic in March, 1957. This research project was completed in 1959. Dr. David Coursin, Dr. Robert Millard, and I decided to submit a grant proposal to NIH for “multidisciplinary management of cleft palate patients with long-term follow up.” This multimillion dollar grant was approved. We began our research in 1960, and it continued for almost 20 years. Our longitudinal research on the effects of surgery, oral facial growth, and patient behavior is the best in the world. We have published several books and many scientific articles as a result of our research efforts. Dr. David Coursin, a pediatrician in Lancaster, was the initial research director. After his leaving, Dr. W. Krogman was appointed to direct the research project.

My position as Director of the Medical and Dental Services at the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic continued for 53 years. Over the years, the Clinic has gone through lots of changes and directorships. We are presently part of Lancaster General Hospital and affiliated with Hershey Medical Center and several other health institutions.

Funded by NIH, we have had 20 years of graduate training in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania in cleft lip and palate and other oral facial malformations. Many outstanding individuals graduated from our program and have received PhDs from the University of Pennsylvania for their work. For over 30 years, our approved ADA residency program continued and we have graduated many outstanding dentists from this program.

Presently the Clinic is greatly benefiting from the directorship of Dr. Ross E. Long, Jr., grandson of our founder, Dr. H.K. Cooper, Sr. I finally retired from the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic in March, 2010. Over years the Clinic has given me great opportunities to write books. I wrote over 100 scientific articles and have presented over 400 scientific papers before medical, surgical, dental, speech and hearing associations. I am presently a consultant to several institutions and colleges. I have received numerous awards for my research and clinical efforts in the management of patients with oral facial malformations. In my professional career, I have had the opportunity to chair in some of the various associated committees, have been the president of several associations, and am currently the Professor of Surgery at Pennsylvania State University’s Hershey Medical Center.

The First Orthodontist in Lancaster County

Honors Award Presented to Herbert K. Cooper, D.D.S, D.Sc, L.H.D., F.A.C.D.

The first Honors Award of this Association was granted to Robert H. Ivy, M.D., D.D.S., Sc.D., Professor Emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania on May 10, 1963, in Washington, D.C. It is significant that the recipient of our second award is Dr. Ivy’s friend and colleague of long standing. Dr. Herbert Cooper, a representative of the dental profession, has been a pioneer and champion of the group or team effort in the management of oro-facial and communicative disorders, a basic philosophy essential to the existence of the American Cleft Palate Association.
Herbert Kurtz Cooper was born on January 2, 1897, in Brownstown, Pennsylvania, a predominantly Pennsylvania Dutch settlement. He attended the West Earl High School, the Franklin and Marshall Academy, and the Franklin and Marshall College. He enrolled in the dental school of the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded his degree in 1919. In 1925, he graduated from the Dewey School of Orthodontia. Dr. Cooper then established his practice in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which was a stop on the old Conestoga Wagon Trail from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh.

On November 30, 1930, Dr. Herbert Cooper was appointed consultant to the Pennsylvania State Hospital for Crippled Children at Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. This Lancaster County hospital is oriented in orthopedics surgery and serves as part of the graduate training program in orthopedics of the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This appointment served as the beginning of a prodigious task composing a man and his life’s work with all the frustrations of a new philosophy. In 1930, he asked the question “Why can’t the treatment of maxillo-facial deformities be carried out as any other branch of orthopedics?” He then postulated that there is a field of endeavor existing that may be identified as dento-facial orthopedics, more recently referred to as maxillary orthopedics. The treatment of the oro-facial deformities and communicative disorders was at the time a matter of individual specialty practiced by the surgeon, the dentist, and the speech therapist, each working quite independently. Dr. Cooper believed that an integrated team approach in the management of these handicapped individuals might lead to an efficient use of the skills of the disciplines interested in these patients. Many of these handicapped individuals could not, or would not avail themselves of the long, expensive programs in habilitation carried out by the specialists working independently.

In 1936, while examining school children at the request of Genevieve Diller, a speech therapist in the Lancaster City schools, Dr. Cooper found two patients with untreated clefts of the palate. In order to offer some service to these patients, he sought help by communicating with and visiting Dr. Jack Fitzgibbons of Holyoke, Massachusetts. These two patients, and other children, with facial deformities requiring dental attention, together with a multi-disciplinary philosophy already founded, led to the establishment in 1938 of the first integrated clinic in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The personnel in that first clinic consisted of Dr. Cooper, Genevieve Diller, M.Ed., a speech therapist, and Pete Gross, a laboratory technician. Harold Westlake, Ph.D, then with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, attended the Clinic once a week to assist in the speech program. Within a short time, Paul Bomberger, D.D.S., assisted the group by taking care of the patient’s general dental needs. The Clinic continued to grow and S. June Smith, D.Ed., psychologist, was then added to the team. The late George Dorrance, M.D., visited the Clinic and offered some assistance in the surgical program. Most of the needs in reparative surgery were eventually satisfied by Drs. Ivy and Curtis. In 1942, and for four years after thereafter, the Lancaster Rotary Club sponsored the Clinic as a Club project. In 1946, the Clinic became incorporated with Dr. Herbert Cooper as founder and director. He had thus created one of the first integrated centers for the treatment of oro-facial deformities and combative disorders in the United States. This philosophy has since permeated Pennsylvania and the nation. Dr. Robert H. Ivy, a pioneer in plastic surgery, has so stated and credited Dr. Cooper in his 1961 article on ‘Plan for the Care of Children with Cleft Lip and Palate’.

After the integration of these interested specialists, it soon became evident that there was not always unanimity of opinion. The question Dr. Cooper then raised was “Who is to agree, if doctors disagree?” The answer seemed to be in part, at least, in research. Believing research to be complementary to the clinical effort, Dr. Cooper purchased the first Phillips Image Intensifier five-inch tube. Manufacturers’ Serial No. 1. This was the origin of the research and development of the cine-radiographic equipment for use as a guide in the treatment of cleft palate patients. Today, the use of diagnostic x-ray equipment is widespread among the professions. It might also be noted that Dr. Cooper developed one of the first practical electronic speech aids for laryngectomized patients, and this served as a stimulus for the development of other devices to aid these individuals.

Dr. Cooper’s determined effort and dedication to a philosophy has finally brought together a cooperative effort of the staff of the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic, the Department of Biology of the Franklin and Marshall College, Biometricians in the Department of Mathematics of Millersville State College, and the Research Center at St. Joseph Hospital in Lancaster, all dedicated to research and service in the field of oro-facial deformities and communicative disorders. Only an individual with dedication to a purpose could fulfill such a goal. His pioneering efforts in establishing the multi-disciplinary approach to cleft palate habilitation has been an influence throughout the country as evidenced by the numerous group clinics in the United States dedicated to this purpose. We here today subscribe to and foster that philosophy.
Dr. Cooper is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, a member of the American Cleft Palate Association, The American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, the New York Academy of Dentistry, the American Academy of Dental Medicine and other national and local dental societies.

In 1950, he was granted the Benjamin Rush Award of the Pennsylvania Medical Society and the Alumni Award of Merit of the University of Pennsylvania. The following year, the Elks Club cited him for ‘Meritorious Service to the Community,’ and in 1954, he was honored at Elizabethtown College for ‘Outstanding Achievement and Service to Mankind’. In 1956, he was granted the Henry Spenadel Award by the First District Dental Society of New York, another award by Sertoma International and one by B’Nai B’rith for meritorious service. He holds the Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Franklin and Marshall College (1950) and the University of Pennsylvania (1953), and a Doctor of Human Letters from Moravian College (1955). All of these Honors are in recognition of his service to man, particularly handicapped individuals.
Although no longer engaged in clinical practice, he holds the title of Professor of Cleft Palate Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania, Founder and Director of the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic, Director of the Dental Department of the Milton Hershey School, Hershey, Pennsylvania, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Department of Health of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He is the Chief Dental Consultant to the Department of Medicine and Surgery, U.S. Veterans Administration in Washington, a Dental Consultant to Valley Forge Army Hospital, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, and Walter Reed Army Hospital, Washington D.C., as well as a lecturer to Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Division of Dentistry.

He is a member of the staff of the Lancaster General Hospital, a member of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Society for Crippled Children and Adults, and the present State Chairman of their Easter Seal appeal. He is Chairman of the Board of Linden Hall Seminary, and a member of the Council on Dental Health of the American Dental Association. All of these represent distinguished appointments.

Dr. Cooper’s determination of purpose might be illustrated with a personal note. A number of years ago, while attending a dance in the Maple Grove Ballroom in Lancaster County, his attention was directed towards a tall and stately blond. He did not know her name but confided to a friend that that was the girl he was going to marry. Later that evening, he met the young lady and to her surprise, made the same remark. On June 2, 1920, that same blond, Mercedes Miller, became Mrs. Herbert K. Cooper. Without her assistance, he could not have fulfilled his dreams. During their marriage, she had to witness the sale of their farm and their collection of horses and surrey to help finance the Clinic which Dr. Cooper had established. The Coopers have three children, of which one son is a physician, one a dentist and a daughter married to a dentist.
Dr. Cooper, on behalf of the American Cleft Palate Associate, it gives me great pleasure to present this Honors Award, in recognition of your many contributions to cleft palate patients and your dedication to a philosophy that is essential to the existence of this Association.

Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic’s Mission and History

The Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of infants, children and adults with craniofacial conditions resulting from birth defects, trauma and disease.

Established in 1938, the nonprofit Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic is the oldest clinic in the world devoted to the comprehensive care of children born with cleft lips and palates and other craniofacial anomalies regardless of their ability to pay. It was founded by the orthodontist Dr. Herbert K. Cooper on the first floor of his home at 24 North Lime Street. At the time the Clinic offered out of town cleft patients a 6 weeks residency program. Several cleft patients stayed in apartments, supervised by a house mother, and received speech therapy, prosthesis fabrication, and social education.

For 75 years we have provided for the special healthcare needs of Pennsylvania’s infants and children who may be uninsured, under-insured or otherwise under served. Today, we are the only facility in the United States to offer comprehensive cleft care outside the auspices of a major hospital system.

Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic Today

Our signature multidisciplinary, single-facility approach-the first of its kind, was conceived by Dr. Cooper, who was the grandfather of our current Executive Director, Dr. Ross F. Long Jr. It brings all of our specialists-plastic surgeon, orthodontist, pediatrician, otolaryngologist, maxillofacial prosthodontist, speech therapist, audiologist, feeding specialist, psychologist, and social worker, among others- together to see each patient on the same day and collectively discuss their care both chair-side and in team conference settings.

We also provide educational observation and participatory experience in each of these specialties to medical and dental students, as well as to residents and visiting medical and dental professionals who are interested in learning more about cleft and craniofacial care.

While the largest proportion our patients comes from within the state of Pennsylvania, patients in need come from all across the U.S. and around the world seeking our services. Our current patient pool includes patients from twenty-five different states and a half a dozen foreign countries. We are currently treating more than two thousand patients with cleft lip and palate and other acquired anomalies and an additional three thousand patients receiving more limited medical/dental care and special therapies.

History of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Lancaster County

Oral Surgery began as a Specialty in Dentistry in the late 1940’s with Irvin Uhler. He was trained at Temple Dental School and took special courses in Michigan. He served in the Navy. Howard S. Eckhart joined Irvin Uhler in 1953. They practiced together until 1960 when Dr. Eckhart started his own practice at 616 N. Lime Street. He was trained at Penn Dental School.

Also, Dr. Phillip Jacobus started another practice in 1955 as the first Oral Surgeon to have attended one of the first Oral Surgery Residencies in the United States. The program was a two year program.

Dr. Uhler had several associates before Dr. Lynn Dolan joined his practice in the mid 1970’s.
Dr. Fredrick Chairsell joined with Dr. Jacobus in the 1970’s and they practiced together until 1988.

Dr. Dave Shulman came to Ephrata in the late 1970’s where Dr. Steven Waugh joined him briefly before leaving and joining Dr. Lynn Dolan and Dr. Irvin Uhler in 1978, when Dr. Uhler soon retired. Dr. Dave Shulman practiced by himself before selling his practice to Dr. Steven Sudbrink and retiring in 1998. Dr. Sudbrink had several associates briefly from 2005 to 2008. Dr. Vakkus then joined the practice and is now a partner.

Dr. Thomas Yingling joined Dr. Dolan and Dr. Waugh briefly in 1982 for one year. He left them and then returned to open his own practice in 1986.

Dr. Michael Eckhart joined his father in 1995 and in 1988 Conestoga Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery began with the merging of Drs. Howard Eckhart, Philip Jacobus, Fredrick Chairsell and Michael Eckhart. One year later, Dr. Thomas Yingling also joined Conestoga Oral Surgery. Dr. Gary Seldomridge then joined the practice in 1991 as Dr. Jacobus retired the end of 1990. Dr. Howard Eckhart retired in 1991.

Dr. Eric Katch started a solo practice in 1995. He had several associates before Dr. Maxwell Adams joined him in 2005. They are known as Campus Oral Surgery.

Dr. Dolan retired in 1997 and Dr. Waugh joined Conestoga Oral Surgery along with Andrew Heise also that same year. Dr. Daniel Henrichsen joined Conestoga Oral Surgery in 2005.
Dr. Frederick Chairsell retired from Conestoga Oral Surgery in 2008. That same year Dr. Brandon Iverson joined Conestoga Oral Surgery. Dr. Steven Waugh retired in July 2012.
Oral Surgery began to accomplish extractions and removal of wisdom teeth and pre-prosthetic surgery prior to dentures. Trauma and treatment of fractures and lacerations were also a big part of Oral Surgery. Oral Surgery was also providing sedation and general anesthesia in the offices. Orthognathic surgery started in the late 1970’s. Dental implant treatment began in the late 1980’s. Oral surgery in Lancaster has continued to be on the leading edge of diagnostic and surgical advancements within the specialty.


Endodontics treatment is the official term for a root canal procedure, in which an Endodontist (or a root canal treatment specialist) removes damaged tissue from the root canals inside of teeth. The word comes from the Greek, endo, meaning inside and odono, meaning tooth. When tooth pulp, which contains sensitive nerves, arterioles, venules, lymphatic tissue, and fibrous tissue, becomes damaged, an endodontic specialist steps in to rescue the tooth.

The Roots of Root Canal

Endodontic treatment dates all the way back to the second or third century B.C. In 1985, archeologists discovered evidence of early root canal surgery in Israel’s Negev Desert. After examining the jaw of a 2000 year old deceased Nabataen soldier, Joseph Zias, of Israel’s National Department of Antiquities and Museums, unearthed a one-tenth of an inch bronze wire, which had been embedded in the nerve cavity of one of the skull’s teeth. The location of the wire was in the exact spot of infection, where modern root canal treatment would be targeted. Apparently, the wire was used to reduce infected tooth pulp, as the soldier suffered from three abscesses and a cyst.
As ancient Jews show no records of having practiced dentistry, archeologists believe the treatment must have been practiced by a Roman doctor. Romans are cited for the invention of dental crowns and dentures, probably inherited for the Etruscans’ work with ivory false teeth and gold band wirings for loose teeth.

Dentistry picks up speed

Evidence from the first century A.D. until the 1600’s reveals endodontic treatment, which entailed draining pulp chambers for relief and covering them with protective coatings made of gold foil or asbestos.

The Twentieth Century

With the rise of the twentieth century came the institution of x-rays and anesthetics- what some might call dentistry miracles. Endodontic treatment became much more safe, practical and most importantly, comfortable with the new technology. Tooth extractions were no longer the only options for infected pulps, and millions of patients underwent endodontic treatment.

A Specialty is Born

As the evolving practice was honed to an exact science, dentists, practitioners, and educators were inspired to form the American Association of Endodontists (AEE) in February 1943. The association meeting was held at the Palmer House in Chicago and invited dental enthusiasts from across the country to share their endodontic knowledge and experiences in one place. By 1963, endodontics was recognized as the eighth dental specialty by the American Dental Association.
The History of Endodontics in Lancaster County

Dr. David Kuntz was the first endodontist in Lancaster County. An endodontist is an expert in root canal treatment. Dr. Kuntz opened his office in Lancaster in Manny Murray’s Building on the Lititz Pike in May of 1972. In 1983, he built a new office on the Oregon Pike. Dr. Kuntz was a graduate of Muhlenberg College in 1962. He received his DMD degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972. Dr. Kuntz was active in the local, state and national dental societies.


On a sunny spring day, my wife, son and I drove from Philly to York to visit a friend already in his dental practice. I was in my senior year at Temple Dental School and had not yet decided where I would settle.

As we drove through Lancaster County, we watched the Amish working their teams of horses plowing their fields. Passing their buggies, we felt a peaceful ambience and we fell in love with our Lancaster County.

Shortly after this trip, an opportunity arose to share an office with an established practice in Lancaster. It was a dream come true since we had no money and still owed my father for tuition monies he had lent us.

My three year plan was to limit my practice to pedodontics. During those early years I took a zillion courses and realized how much I enjoyed my pedo practice. So, I decided that this would be my career.

After several years I decided to branch out. I decided to branch out on my own and buy a property that would serve as a home-office. Problem was our family had grown to five children and we didn’t have the money for a down payment on a property. Thanks to a friendly banker we were able to buy our Lititz Pike property on a handshake and lots of faith.

During this time I took courses on nitrous analgesia which became a real asset in my practice. I believe I was one of the first dentists in the county to incorporate this in a dental practice. Other dentists used to come to the home-office to “try it out”, much to the giggles of my children when they had heard a DOCTOR getting a laughing gas jag in the operatory.

My favorite nitrous story was when I explained the workings of nitrous to a bright child. His response was that he wanted to be “put to sleep”. To alleviate his mind, I said “okay”. About halfway through the treatment he suddenly yelled “I’m not sleeping!” I replied “Yes you are, you are just dreaming that you are awake.” He said, “Okay”, put his head back and I happily continued his treatment.

Difficult patients were always treated at St. Joseph Hospital under general anesthesia. My assistant and I always had to take all my own instruments and supplies for the procedures.

Today’s practitioners are fortunate that the schools now teach dental health to children. My patient rechecks always included education to patient and parent in preventative care. Fluoride was very controversial during those early years, so it was also necessary to try to educate the parents about its benefits.

Friday mornings were always reserved for DPA patients. It was never a money-maker, the state paid $2.00 per surface for restorations and $3.00 for an extraction. Many of those kids were victims of their environment. So, Friday afternoons I always spent with my children giving thanks to God for our blessings. I guess that’s why I never took up golf. There just weren’t enough hours in the week.

Working with kids I had to “invent” a new vocabulary: red stuff = blood; uncomfortable = pain; pinch = injection; scoot = remove Mom from the operatory; filling = restoration; magic air = nitrous; treasure chest = reward toys, etc.

Happy memories, life is good!
David (Dave) J. Goldy, DDS