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The History of Eastman Dental

timeline bullet 1 1915: George Eastman donates the funds on October 13 to build the Rochester Dental Dispensary.
timeline bullet 2 1916: Dr. Harvey J. Burkhart is named first Dispensary director and becomes principal of the Dental Hygiene School.
timeline bullet 3 1917: First graduates of Dental Hygiene School are awarded diplomas.
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1917: Rochester Dental Dispensary is dedicated May 9 and opens October 15.

timeline bullet 5 1920: Eastman gives $4 million to match $5 million grant by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., making possible the University of Rochester's School of Medicine and Dentistry. A plan to develop the School of Medicine and Dentistry in connection with the University of Rochester is announced.
timeline bullet 6 1928: Plans for the dental component of the School of Medicine and Dentistry in cooperation with the Dispensary are abandoned for lack of student interest. The University of Rochester Dental Fellows Program is developed.
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oral exam


1929: The Rockefeller Foundation provides fellowships to the UR to support dental research and training. A consultation dental clinic is established in Strong Memorial Hospital's out-patient department.

timeline bullet 8 1930: Eastman Dental Institute in London is dedicated on November 19.
timeline bullet 9 1932: George Eastman dies at age 77 and bequeaths another million dollars to the Rochester Dental Dispensary.
timeline bullet 10 1941: The Rochester institution is renamed Eastman Dental Dispensary on June 24.
timeline bullet 11 1947: Dr. Basil G. Bibby is named director of Eastman Dental Dispensary.
timeline bullet 12 1951: A Master of Science program with a major in dental science is established at the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry in cooperation with the Dispensary.
timeline bullet 13 1955: The Department of Dentistry and Dental Research is created at the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry.
timeline bullet 14 1965: Name of Dispensary is changed to Eastman Dental Center.
timeline bullet 15 1966: The American Dental Association gives EDC approval for its clinical training programs, which have become world renown.
timeline bullet 16 1967: Dr. Michael Buonocore describes a process for enhancing the adhesion of plastics to teeth, thus ushering in the modern era of restorative dentistry.
timeline bullet 17 1970: Dr. William D. McHugh is named director of the Eastman Dental Center when Dr. Bibby retires from his administrative duties to devote his time to research.
timeline bullet 18 1971: A clinical teacher training program is initiated between the UR and EDC with the objective of training the highest quality of dental teachers and researchers.
timeline bullet 19 1972: The Department of Dentistry and Dental Research is renamed the Department of Dental Research and a new Department of Clinical Dentistry of the UR SMD is created.
timeline bullet 20 1978: The new Eastman Dental Center at 625 Elmwood Avenue is dedicated on October 26.
timeline bullet 21 1994: Dr. Ronald J. Billings is named director.
timeline bullet 22 1997: EDC and the UR merge and become partners in providing oral health care, graduate education, and research.
timeline bullet 23 1998: The Eastman Department of Dentistry (replacing the Department of Clinical Dentistry) and the Center for Oral Biology (replacing the Dept of Dental Research) are founded in the School of Medicine and Dentistry.
timeline bullet 24 1999: Dr. Cyril Meyerowitz is named director of Eastman Dental Center in January.
timeline bullet 25 2009: Eastman Institute for Oral Health (EIOH) is established (replacing the Eastman Dental Center as a division within the URMC), now functioning as the integrated entity responsible for research, education and clinical care in oral health. Dr. Cyril Meyerowitz becomes the director.
timeline bullet 26 2013: Eli Eliav, DMD, MSc, PhD,  becomes director of Eastman Institute for Oral Health.


The Dental Chair History

old dental chairThe dental chair metamorphosed throughout the18th and 19th centuries. In 1790, Josiah Flagg attached an adjustable headrest to a wooden Windsor chair; an arm extension held instruments.  Portable headrests could adapt regular chairs in the homes that the toothpullers visited.

  • In 1832, James Snell invented the first reclining dental chair.
  • In 1877, the first pump-type hydraulic dental chair was introduced
  • Three 19th century Rochester firms manufactured dental chairs.
  • Rochesterian Frank Ritter produced the all-in-one modern dental chair, leading to the Ritter Dental Company, for many years the world's leading manufacturer of chairs, dental units, and x-ray machines.