On the Dark Side

Dentists have many many contributions in the world outside the realm of dentistry. Some were made with good intent, but later regarded in a most negative light. Take the case of the German dentist, Dr. Friedrich Krohn. In 1920 he designed the flag which would become the symbol of the Nazi party: the hakenreuz (swastika) flag.  Dr. Krohn was the director of the DAP ( the forerunner of the Nazi party) chapter in Rosenheim, and was a member of the Thule Society, a right wing anti-semetic group steeped in occultism and familiar with the swastika symbol. Dr. Krohn was probably influenced by this when he created the red, white and black flag using the colors of the old German Republic.

It should be remembered, when Dr. Krohn designed the flag in 1920, none of the horrors of the Nazi regime had occurred. Indeed, Hitler was largley unkown and struggling for control of the party, and had not yet committed any acts against humanity. Yet Dr. Krohn’s design was so bold and striking, Hitler stole the idea and the credit. Perhaps that was for the better.

Dr. Schonberg lectures to The Old Guard of Millburn

On October 26, 2017 Dr. Schonberg delivered a lecture to the Millburn Old Guard about his involvement with the WWII Book Club. It stemmed from having parents who had direct experiences in the WWII: his mother survived theNazi occupation of Holland, and his father was a WWII veteran of North Africa and Italy.  The lecture discussed the influence both parents had on Dr. Schonberg and his interest with WWII history.

oldguard

Tribute to Black History Month

 

What could be more relevant to Black History month than a famous Black Dentist? And what could be more relevant  to dentists than golf. Enter George Franklin Grant, the Harvard trained African American  dentist who invented the modern wooden golf tee.  Previously, there had been other objects and methods for teeing up a golf ball, but it took Grant to patent the forerunner of the modern golf tee.

Born in Oswego, New York in 1847, he entered Harvard’s School of Dental Medicine in 1868 and graduated in 1870. He was one of the first two graduates of Harvard University’s dental program .He later became Harvard’s first African American professor . He was a dedicated dentist, and patented a prosthetic device for cleft palate that was internationally recognized. He  was also  involved in dental organizations, as a founding member  Harvard’s Odontological Society, and as president of the Harvard Dental Alumni Association.

We don’t really know if Grant was an avid golfer.  Golf was not nearly as popular, or egalitarian back at the turn of the last century.  But then Grant was not one to be held back Grant’s patent,  issued on December 12, 1899 for an improved golf tee was a vast improvement over the mounds of sand previously used.  If you have ever hit a ball in sand , you know how messy that can be, not mention if the wind is kicking up.  So we offer our gratitude and humbly honor the man who helped modernize golf.  I just wonder  though, were golfers better at getting out of sand traps prior to his invention?

Holiday Donation

In lieu of Holiday cards, a donation in honor of our patients has been made to the Wounded Warrior Project. We hope for the best for our vets, and appreciate the sacrifices made. On behalf of our patients, we wish them Happy Holidays!

Art and the anti-Nazi Dentist

Sculpture by Otto Freundlich on the cover of "Entartete Kunst."

Sculpture by Otto Freundlich on the cover of “Entartete Kunst.”

Many dentists are creative and have an artistic inclination. Some become so successful, they leave the field of dentistry to pursue their artistic talents. Some give their lives for their craft.  One such tragic case is of Otto Freundlich.  Born in Germany in 1878, Freundlich studied dentistry only to  head off to pursue art in Paris in 1908. Later, one of his most famous works, a sculpture called “Der Neue Mensch” (“The New Man”) was used on the cover of the Nazi exhibition program called “Entartete Kunst”- “Degenerate Art.” The exhibition which ran from July to November in 1937 was intended to ridicule and denigrate modern artists, and particularly Jewish artists. The exhibition became heavily attended much to the dismay of the Nazis, who hoped the populace would embrace the Great German Art Exhibition instead. But the German people liked the modern art art more than the boring traditional German art. Hitler was outraged.  Freundlich was eventually arrested by the Nazi’s and murdered in Majdanek Concentration Camp in 1943.

Flossing Debate

Recent reports in the media have created a flurry of misunderstanding about the importance and benefits of flossing. Researchers claim there was no medical benefits from flossing. The research cites flawed earlier dental research studies. Dr. Fridus Van Der Weijden from the University of Amsterdam claims brushing and flossing is no more effective than just brushing alone. So why floss?

To start, brushing does not adequately reach the interproximal areas between the teeth. Plaque accumulation can lead to caries (the decay process which can cause a cavity), and the biofilm can lead to periodontal disease. The effect of bacteria and C-reactive proteins caused by bacteria is well documented. C-reactive proteins can be damaging to the body, and in particular, cardiac health.

So,. just as there is no proof that jumping out of a plane at high altitude with a parachute is safer than jumping without one, would you take the risk? Flossing may be a nuisance, but the ADA maintains it is a necessary one. Perhaps the water injection systems, such as Waterpik or Air Flosser can replace fiber threads in floss, but the idea is the same: remove the biofilm and decrease the bacterial count.

Forensic Dentistry and the Identification of Dr. Josef Mengele

Perhaps the most notorious figure of the Nazi concentration camps during WWII was Dr. Josef Mengele. Accused of experimenting on young twins (one would serve as the control for his experiments), he experimented, mutilated, murdered and dissected countless victims in Auschwitz, almost all without anesthesia. He was also responsible for the selection process when the Jewish refugees unloaded on the train platform at Auschwitz upon their arrival from all over Europe. His wave of the arm could mean life or death in the selection process. He was also a member of the team of doctors responsible for supervising the administration of Zyklon B, the gas that was used to kill people in the gas chambers at Auschwitz- Birkenau. He was sadistic and unempathetic. He became one of the most sought after war criminals after he was able to escape to South America when WWII ended. He changed his name and residences frequently, but was tracked by Nazi hunters.  He was known to be buried under the name “Wolfgang Gerhard” by his host family, the Bosserts in Sao Paulo, after a drowning incident. With the aid of dental records, Mengele’s death  was finally corroborated in 1985 by the efforts of Stephen Daschi, US Consul in Brazil.

This part of the story is little known. Daschi discovered Mengele, then using the pseudonym Pedro Hochbichler,  had visited Dr. Hercy Gonzaga Gama Angelo in the suburb of Sao Paulo, Brazil for a root canal in 1978. Dr. Angelo provided Daschi with the name of the referring dentist, Dr. Kasumasa Tutiya, who provided dental radiographs (X-rays).  The body of Mengele had been found previously though extensive tracking, and was then corroborated with the eye witnesses to the man and his teeth by the dentist!