Greene Vardiman Black father of modern dentistry

Who is Greene Vardiman Black? There is a statue of him in Lincoln Park, on North Avenue at Astor Street.


Photo- PV Bella

G.V. Black, as he was known, is considered one of the founders of modern dentistry. He researched many topics in dentistry. He is known for developing the foot driven drill, the best composition for amalgam fillings, and the cause of dental fluorosis. He organized Black's Classification of Caries Lesions, which is still in use to this day.

Black was born on a farm in downstate Illinois. He studied medicine under his brother. He then studied dentistry under Dr. J.C. Speer. During the Civil War he served as a scout for the Union Army. After the war he began his career and serious research in dentistry, which was underdeveloped at the time. Eventually G.V. Black became the first dean of Northwestern's School of Dentistry. He was also inducted into the International Hall of Fame of Dentistry.

Soon after Black's death in 1915, the National Dental Association commissioned sculptor Cleveland Hibbard to produce the seated statue. In 1918, more than 1500 members of the association were on hand for the unveiling of the statue.

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