Cast gold study club development in the Pacific Northwest has been an extension of the strong gold foil study club activity in this area. It has been a strong influencing factor over the years in the promotion and the development of a high level of refinement not only in the quality of restorative dentistry but of cavity design, esthetics and finish. A brief review of its short history may be in order for the stimulation and inspiration of old and new members alike.
Dr. Richard V. Tucker, who practices in Ferndale, Washington; came under the influence of Dr. George A. Ellsperman from Bellingham, Washington. Dr. Ellsperman was one of the twelve original members of the Seattle Dental Study Club. He later served as the founding mentor of the Vancouver Ferrier Gold Foil Study Club of which Dr. Tucker became a member. Dr. Gerald D. Stibbs became the mentor after Dr. Ellsperman retired from active practice.
Under the influence and guidance of these two superb clinicians, Dr. Tucker began experimenting with conservative cast gold restorations, adapting many of the same gold foil principles of fit, esthetics, finish and polish. With the advent of the high speed handpiece, extracoronal as well as intracoronal preparations became easier to prepare and quadrant restorative dentistry became more routine.
This acceleration and ease in preparing cavity preparations with highspeed led Dr. Tucker to use the bur more in preparing the bulk of the cavity preparation as well as using it to plane and smooth most of the walls and floors. In the past most of the preparation had been cut with hand instruments. With the advent of off-angle chisels and modified gingival margin trimmers the number of hand instruments needed to refine the preparation was streamlined to a minimum.
The conservative nature of gold foil preparations was adapted to meet the criteria for various cast gold preparations and with highspeed new types of cavity designs and preparations were developed. It also allowed for the two disciplines to be used in conjunction with each other for the conservation of tooth structure. The use of the egg-shaped twelve-bladed bur further helped to revolutionize and simplify conservative cavity preparations.
The quest for the perfect casting from the laboratory led to very precisely fitting castings but the margins were never perfect. By adapting some of the gold foil finishing procedures to the cemented castings, gold foil like margins could be more nearly achieved.
Dr. Tucker through slides and table clinics graciously shared his procedures and techniques with his fellow dentists. As a member of the Frank Allen Restorative Seminar, he was asked to become its mentor in 1970. He served in that capacity until 1976. In the same year, he was asked to mentor a group in Vancouver, B.C. and Redmond, Washington in conservative cast restorations. This led to the formation of another group in Seattle, Washington in 1978 and another in Vancouver B.C. in 1981.
At the present time,approximately 55 active clubs in the United States, Canada, Italy, Germany, Peru and Japan exist.
The Academy of Richard V. Tucker Cast Gold Study Clubs came together in Seattle, Washington for the first time under the sponsorship of the Redmond Club in 1986. Each year since that time, a different club has hosted the annual meeting. Each meeting, in addition to the social aspect, has a clinical session where operators are either seating castings or placing gold foils and lectures on various subjects dealing with gold. An outstanding clinician who has made significant contributions to restorative dentistry is asked to be a George Ellsperman lecturer each year.
The primary purpose of our study clubs is the pursuit and promotion of excellence in the practice of conservative dentistry through the development of proficiency in cast gold and gold foil techniques. Each operator should work to develop his or her talents to the fullest. This is a slow and arduous task, but gratifying and rewarding. Some of the clubs have accomplished this purpose by working on gold foil techniques and the applications that blend the two disciplines. Some members also have operated at national meeting as well as given essays and table clinics at local, state and national meetings.