Richard V. Tucker, Gold Restoration Pioneer, Dies at 93

Richard Gawel

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Dental educator and pioneer Dr. Richard V. Tucker died on January 12 at the age of 93. Through lectures and a global network of more than 50 Tucker Clinical Operating Study Clubs, he trained countless practitioners in using gold in their procedures.

“Dr. Tucker influenced generations of dentists through his Tucker Technique of gold restorations, and he was one of our school’s best friends and most welcome presences throughout his career,” said Joel Berg, dean of the University of Washington School of Dentistry.

After spending his undergraduate and dental school years at Washington University in St. Louis, Tucker practiced privately in Ferndale, Wash, from 1948 to 2013. During his long career, he studied and perfected gold procedures, especially for use in general dentistry.

Tucker then shared his work via 250 lectures and graduate courses in dental schools, institutes, and other organizations around the world. Recognizing his innovation and influence, the ADA honored him with its Distinguished Service Award at its latest House of Delegates meeting.

“While Dr. Tucker was unable to receive his award in front of the ADA House, I’m glad to know he valued it,” said ADA president Carol Gomez Summerhays, DDS. “Dr. Tucker’s contributions to dentistry benefitted us all, and he will be remembered for a long time by his many admirers and patients.”

Tucker also had served as president of the Washington State Dental Association, the Academy of Operative Dentistry, and the American Academy of Gold Foil Operators. He also was a prominent supporter of the University of Washington School of Dentistry, which named him a Distinguished Benefactor and gave him the Dean’s Club Honorary Lifetime Member Award in 2010.

Tucker’s family has roots in dentistry at the University of Washington as well. His son, Dr. Richard D. Tucker, graduated from the school of dentistry in 1976 and remains on its affiliate faculty. His daughter, Dr. Victoria Otterholt, and his granddaughter, Dr. Kjersten Otterholt, are 1977 and 2013 dental graduates, respectively.

“We have lost one of dentistry’s true icons,” said Berg. “I can think of few other dentists who have been as revered for their wisdom, expertise, and kindness as he was.”

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