History of the Northeastern Gnathological Society

The Northeastern Gnathological Society (NGS) was established as a forum for the intellectual pursuit of the science and clinical application of the principles guiding the Gnathosomatic system. From inception, it was understood that beyond this pursuit the dissemination and clinical application of that knowledge was central to the ultimate goal of serving the prosthodontic community, thus enabling it to provide a higher level of patient care. The founders intuitively recognized the importance of the partnership between the trained specialist and those who practice and represent the discipline of prosthodontics. The NGS embarked upon a co-venture that has enriched these two constituencies providing a more universal understanding and application of the principles of gnathology, periodontics and evidenced based restorative dentistry in both private practice and the teaching institutions throughout the northeast.

 

The Society's steadfast commitment to education remains our most fundamental value. In addition to the yearly spring and fall seminars that explore the spectrum of the scientific, clinical and technological aspects of prosthodontics, the Society has presented numerous courses on the theory and clinical aspects of gnathology. Additionally, the Society provides speakers and programs on a wide range of restorative and prosthetic topics to study groups, undergraduate institutions, residency and post graduate programs and local dental societies.

 

Those who present these programs are given an opportunity that reveals another vital characteristic of this organization; its' devotion to developing the leadership potential and skills of it’s' less experienced members. The Society encourages, mentors and rewards professional maturation. The attainment of fellowship is an integral part of this process. The goal is to establish a vehicle for personal growth, while providing for the future leadership of our Society and the prosthodontic community. Similarly, the importance of post graduate education is highly valued. A special relationship between the NGS and the region's post graduate students were solidified largely through the efforts of the late Dr. Martin E. Kantor. The Northeastern Gnathological Foundation I Martin E. Kantor-Educational Fund provides financial support through various grants to post graduate prosthodontic programs. The Society welcomes these graduate students to it’s' seminars tuition free, encouraging their participation as true colleagues.

 

The characteristic that defines and underscores the unique nature of the NGS is the inclusion of technicians as members, fellows, executive board members and officers of the Society. The founders understood the symbiotic relationship and inherent synergism that exists between the dentist and technologist. This synergism is the essence of the creative process, which ultimately is the distillate of our intellectual pursuit. This understanding distinguished the early NGS leadership and was instrumental in developing the philosophy and direction of the organization.

 

Historically, the NGS began as a study club in New York City. The founders, Dr. Frank V.Celenza and Dr. Nathaniel H. Lenchner, along with a small number of distinguished colleagues were instrumental in developing an interest in gnathology among their peers. The group was comprised of respected clinicians, teachers, researchers and technicians. After a year of informal gatherings, the first scientific meeting of the study club was held on September 15, 1967. The clinician was Dr. Victor O. Lucia. He presented and narrated a silent movie giving a "panoramic review of gnathologically-treated cases". Drs. Frank V. Celenza and Victor O. Lucia were elected honorary members and the following slate was elected as the first officers.

 

President---------------- Dr. Nathaniel Lenchner

Vice President--------- Dr. Metro Dry-Henich

Secretary---------------- Dr. Joseph.Mayner

Treasurer---------------- Dr. Martin Kantor

 

The clinicians who followed Dr.Lucia: Drs. Niles P. Guichet, Anthony J. DePietro, Peter K. Thomas and Frank V. Celenza typified the exceptional caliber of educators sought two cases on fully adjustable (arcon type) articulators. The first fellowship examination was held on May 2, 1971. The three honorary member examiners were Drs. William Pruden II, Arthur Kahn and Chairman Frank Celenza. The first dental fellows recognized by the Society were Drs. Gerald Barrack, Stewart Cole, William Dragon, Thomas Emmer, James Farer, Martin Kantor, Nathaniel Lenchner, Lewis Lipman, Harold Litvak, Herman Marggraff Jr. and Harold Schwartz.

 

In April of 1971 the membership was presented with the organization's first by¬laws. During that year the NGS and three other organizations were accepted for membership into the Federation of Prosthodontic Organizations. Additionally, in 1971 the Federation accepted from the Academy of Denture Prosthetics the sponsorship of the American Board of Prosthodontics, which in the technical structure of the ADA made the Federation and its' sixteen member organizations the official voice of prosthodontics. Drs. William Pruden and James Farer distinguished themselves, while serving as the first elected NGS delegates to the Federation. In May 1972 the Society was accepted as a sponsoring organization of the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry.

 

In October 1972 the American Prosthodontic Society hosted the FPO which sponsored The First International Prosthodontic Congress held in Las Vegas, Nevada. The NGS was admirably represented at the Congress by many of our members including Drs. William Pruden, Frank Celenza, Martin Kantor, Lawrence Calagna and Paul Hoffman. The latter four presented an NGS sponsored symposium moderated by Dr. James Farer, The Centric Position: A Northeastern Gnathological Society Research Symposium. Not surprisingly, all of the symposium presenters had either served or would later serve as NGS presidents and have significantly contributed to the advancement of prosthodontics on regional and national levels. The events of these two years established the Society as a leader of both the specialty and discipline of prosthodontics within organized dentistry.

 

The Society continued to attract larger numbers of dental and technical by the organization, clearly establishing the standard for all future programs. In October 1969 the NGS hosted the Fourth International Gnathological Congress dedicated to Dr. Beverly B. McCollum. The program held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City featured the presentations of Drs. Moffett, Jerge, Franzetti, Aull, Ramfjord, Stuart, Payne, Granger, Dawson, Thomas and Guichet.The Congress' presiders and organizers featured individuals from our Society; Drs. Victor Lucia, Frank Celenza, Arthur Kahn, Gerald Barrack, James Farer, Martin Kantor, Nathaniel Lenchner, Harold Litvak, Harold Schwartz and others who have in turn distinguished themselves at all levels in the field of prosthodontics. Thirty years later these same members continue to wear the mantel of leadership and serve as mentors for the organization and for those who now perpetuate their legacy.

 

Over the next several years the Society continued to present spring and fall seminars, featuring outstanding national and international renown clinicians, technicians and researchers. Additionally, the protocol for a series of unique gnathological waxing and instrumentation courses was established under the guidance of Dr. Frank Celenza.

 

Between the years of 1971 and 1972 under the direction and leadership of President Dr. James Farer, a series of significant events occurred that established the NGS as one of the most prestigious prosthodontic organizations and brought the Society into national focus. In March of 1971 the NGS Newsletter announced that the Executive Board had established guidelines for fellowship. The purpose of fellowship was “to generate a membership that is actively engaged in the application of gnathological concepts". The Board adopted the same principles for NGS fellowship that had been established by the International Congress of Gnathology for fellowship in that body.

 

To become a fellow one had to undergo an examination by three of the Society's honorary members. Each applicant for fellowship was required to present members, while sponsoring excellent spring and fall seminars.

 

The July 1972 NGS Newsletter announced the schedule of the next remount and instrument course stating that "technical members are encouraged to register along with dental members with the object of developing teamwork in these basic procedures." By 1974 through the prodigious efforts of the NGS faculty, annual workshops on gnathological philosophy, instrumentation and waxing in an eight day lecture and participation format were established. These workshops have profoundly influenced numerous participants.

 

In 1978 the Society established the Ernest R. Granger Memorial Scholarship awarded for research in prosthodontics. The recipient is invited to present their research at one of the Society's regular seminars. This award is offered for a research protocol, rather than completed research with the expressed intent of encouraging greater interest in prosthodontic research. Today, that scholarship has evolved into the prestigious Granger- Pruden Award offered by The Northeastern Gnathological Foundation. The award is accompanied by a $2500 stipend.

 

In support of the second International Prosthodontic Congress held in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1978, the NGS sponsored a foreign essayist. Additionally, the Society requested permission to present “as a membership effort, a series of related essays". This request was granted and Drs. Barrack, Calagna, Celenza, Kahn, Roizen, Litvak, Lipman and Mr. N. Richter presented Gnathology Today- A Comprehensive Approach to Restorative Dentistry.

 

The Society continued to flourish throughout the next decade. The scientific meetings explored the importance of gnathology and occlusal concepts as they related to oral function and the multiplicity of treatment modalities available. In May 1991 the members, fellows and guests of the NGS were treated to an extraordinary day. The 25th anniversary of the Society brought together many of the most respected researchers, teachers and clinicians in the field of gnathology and occlusion. The speakers are collectively the living legends of gnathology. The program featured Drs. F. Celenza, A. DePietro, N. Guichet, R. Huffman, A. Kahn, M. Kornfeld, R. Lee, V. Lucia, H. Lundeen, S. McHorris, E. Payne, and J. Regenos. In addition, five Master Dental TechnologistsMessrs. V. Alleulia, C. Cottone, M. Drexler, N. Richter and R. Sillard and Dr. E. Payne presented table Clinics. This exceptional day was followed by an unforgettable evening of dinner and dancing,while sailing around Manhattan Island.

 

The Society continues to be responsive to the needs of our members and the prosthodontic community by remaining focused on its' core values of education and the relationship between dentist to technician. It is a founding member and active participant of the Prosthodontic Forum of the American College of Prosthodontists. Funding for the support of continuing and post graduate prosthodontic education and prosthodontic research is greater than ever due to the generosity of the Northeastern Gnathological Foundation and the success of the Foundation's Martin E. Kantor-Educational Fund campaign. Under the leadership of Dr. V. Celenza and Mr. L. Moratta, the Society has developed and is now implementing a blueprint for the future: The Institute for the Continuing Education of Dentists and Technicians. The institute is designing courses for technicians and dentists to be trained together. Courses will be taught by teams of dentists and technicians to foster an exciting conversation of evidenced based treatment concepts, turning them into elegant clinical realities. The NGS welcomes all dentists, technicians and graduate students with an interest in prosthodontics to be guests at our meetings and become members of our organization.