NIH 1998 Almanac/The Organization/NIDR/
National Institute of Dental Research : Important Events in NIDR History
1931--PHS created a Dental Hygiene Unit at NIH and designated Dr. H. Trendley Dean
as the first dental research worker. His primary function was to apply principles of
epidemiology to a series of community studies on the oral disease known as mottled enamel.
His research on fluoride showed not only its relation to mottled enamel, but also its
influence on tooth decay.
1945--Following fluoridation of the water supply in Grand Rapids, Mich., annual
examinations of children were begun to study the effects of fluoride on the development of
1948--On June 24, P.L. 80-755, the National Dental Research Act, created NIDR and
the National Advisory Dental Research Council. On September 16, the institute was
1949--The first meeting of the National Advisory Dental Research Council was held
on January 10. The institute-supported grants program was initiated, and the first grants
and fellowships were awarded.
1954--Results of the first 10 years of the Grand Rapids study firmly established
water fluoridation as a safe, effective, and economical procedure for the control of
On October 30 the first meeting of the Board of Scientific Counselors was held. This
board was established to provide advice to NIDR on matters of general policy, particularly
from a long-range viewpoint, as they relate to the intramural program.
1958--The Laboratory of Biochemistry was established to conduct research studies on
the chemistry and structure of collagen, elastin and other proteins. President Eisenhower
signed the appropriations bill which included provisions to finance the construction of a
building for the dental institute.
1960--On September 21 the cornerstone was laid for the dental institute building
(Building 30) at NIH.
1961--On May 26, DHEW Secretary Abraham A. Ribicoff dedicated the new NIDR
1962--The first grant for a multidisciplinary study of cleft palate was awarded to
the University of Pittsburgh Health Center.
1963--Fifteen years of scientific accomplishment by NIDR were cited by scientists,
administrators and health educators June 14 in a special anniversary observance.
1966--A reorganization of the institutes extramural programs was implemented
to more adequately plan and support research and training programs designed to attack the
major dental diseases and disorders--dental caries, periodontal disease, oral-facial
anomalies, and biomaterials.
1967--An NIDR program of grant support was initiated for the development of several
dental research institutes/centers in university environments.
This program was designed to utilize all of the appropriate resources of the parent
universities to create ideal research and training environments, fostering
interdisciplinary approaches to the complex problems of oral diseases and disorders.
1969--The Laboratory of Histology and Pathology was reorganized and named the
Laboratory of Biological Structure. This laboratory conducts basic research on the
structural and chemical organization of the hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity.
1971--The National Caries Program was launched utilizing funds specifically
earmarked to accelerate development of preventive methods to reduce tooth decay.
1973--The Laboratory of Oral Medicine was established to conduct both clinical and
laboratory research on the cause, prevention, and treatment of diseases of the soft tissue
of the oral cavity.
On June 28-29, a scientific conference commemorating the Silver Anniversary of NIDR was
convened in Washington, D.C.
1974--To encompass the expanded research studies conducted by the Laboratory of
Microbiology, the Laboratory of Microbiology and Immunology was established. Laboratory
programs involve the role of host factors in periodontal diseases, autoimmune diseases and
To emphasize anesthesia-analgesia dental problems, the NIDR reorganized its intramural
program to form a Neurobiology and Anesthesiology Branch composed of the neural mechanism
section and the anesthesiology section. The branch collaborates closely with the
extramural programs concerned with pain control and behavioral studies.
1975--Having already established the safety and efficacy of several caries
preventive measures, the NIDR initiated selected school demonstration projects through its
National Caries Program.
1977--The institute established its first two specialized clinical research centers
in periodontal diseases.
In June Dr. Marie U. Nylen was named director of intramural research, the first woman
to hold such a position at NIH.
1978--NIDR sponsored its first consensus development conference, Dental
Implants--Benefit and Risk, to examine available data, suggest future research, and draft
guidelines for implant therapy.
1980--The Diagnostic Systems Branch was created to pursue research and development
of noninvasive diagnostic techniques, and analysis of the functional development of the
oral and pharyngeal region.
A Clinical Investigations and Patient Care Branch was established to emphasize the
intimate association between the institutes patient treatment and clinical dental
1982--The Laboratory of Biological Structure and the Laboratory of Biochemistry
were replaced by the Laboratory of Oral Biology and Physiology and a Mineralized Tissue
Research Branch. The Laboratory of Oral Biology and Physiology conducts research on the
cell biology of secretory tissues and the chemical modification of proteins. Skeletal
development, regulation, and disorders are under investigation in the Mineralized Tissue
1983--On March 21 the NIDR opened the first multidisciplinary pain clinic in the
U.S. devoted exclusively to research. The clinic provides an opportunity for all NIH
researchers and clinicians to pool their knowledge and exchange ideas about the
pathophysiology and treatment of pain.
The institute initiated an annual honorary lecture to recognize outstanding scientific
accomplishment in basic and clinical research and to honor distinguished scientists who
have made important contributions in areas of research directly related to the interests
of the dental institute.
1984--NIDR inaugurated the Dentist Scientist Award Program designed to provide
opportunities for dentists to develop into independent biomedical investigators in the
oral health research field.
The institute completed its Long-Range Research Plan FY 1985-89 entitled Challenges
for the Eighties. Under the direction of NIDR director Dr. Löe, a coordinating
committee prepared this 5-year plan and summary of progress in the oral sciences and in
disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The document pinpoints 14 emphasis areas for
NIDRs oral health research.
NIDR established three new specialized caries research centers in university
environments to continue research investigations into the cause, treatment, and prevention
of dental decay.
An NIDR reorganization disbanded the National Caries Program and created the
Epidemiology and Oral Disease Prevention Program (EODPP). The EODPP is devoted to research
on the etiology, incidence and prevalence of dental caries, periodontal diseases, and
other oral diseases and disorders.
Also, a realignment of the administrative offices within the Office of the Director was
completed. This realignment established the Office of Planning, Evaluation and
An NIDR annual lecture series was named for a former institute director. Given each
September at NIH, it is known as the Seymour J. Kreshover Lecture Award.
1985--NIDR convened a meeting at NIH of over 160 deans and senior officials from
almost every dental school in the U.S. and Canada to explore key issues in dental research
and education. The conference, first of its kind in NIDR history, was designed to
strengthen the relationship between the institute and universities.
1986--NIDR completed its first nationwide survey on the dental health of American
adults--the most comprehensive survey of its kind ever done, and the first to look at the
prevalence of root caries and periodontal disease in detail.
1988--NIDR celebrated its 40th anniversary with a year-long agenda of commemorative
NIDR funded four new oral biology research centers.
The institute released findings of its second National Caries Prevalence Study. Data
show half of all American schoolchildren now have no tooth decay.
NIDR held its second consensus development conference on dental implants. According to
the summary statement, the use of dental implants has increased fourfold from 1983 to
NIDR and the Fogarty International Center launched an international oral health
research study to identify oral health issues that would benefit most from international
On May 25, NIDR named the conference room in Building 30 the "H. Trendley Dean
Conference Room," commemorating the memory of the first NIDR director.
The institute launched the "Research and Action Program to Improve the Oral Health
of Older Americans and Other Adults at High Risk." The goal is to eliminate
toothlessness and prevent further deterioration of oral health in individuals who have
1990--The institute completed the NIDR Long-Range Research Plan for the
Nineties: Broadening the Scope, the blueprint for research in this decade. The plan
establishes major initiatives geared to "special care patients" whose oral
health is affected by systemic diseases or treatments and to older Americans, with the
ultimate goal of eliminating toothlessness among future generations and the prevention of
further deterioration of the oral health of individuals with compromised dentition.
1991--NIDR hosted a symposium for dental practitioners, "Scientific Frontiers
in Clinical Dentistry: An Update at the National Institutes of Health."
The institute sponsored a technology assessment conference on the effects and side
effects of dental restorative materials.
The Laboratory of Developmental Biology and Anomalies was renamed the Laboratory of
Developmental Biology (LDB). LDB research aims to gain a better understanding of normal
1992--The Epidemiology and Oral Disease Prevention Program reorganized to expand
the scope of EODPP activities. The program now consists of four branches: Molecular
Epidemiology and Disease Indicators; Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; Analytical
Studies and Decision Systems; and Health Assessment. EODPP is the federal focus for
research in orofacial epidemiology and disease prevention.
A reorganization of the Extramural Program established the Program Development Branch,
consisting of seven categorical programs and an Office of Policy and Coordination, which
contains the manpower development and training activities and the Program Operations Unit,
which includes the Scientific Review Office, the Grants Management Office, and the
Contracts Management Office. EP provides grant and contract funds for research and
NIDR hosted a second meeting of the leadership form the Nations dental schools,
dental professional organizations, and industry to explore ways to enhance the research
capacity of dental schools.
1993--The National Oral Health Information Clearinghouse was established as a
centralized resource for patients, health professionals, and the public seeking
information on the oral health of special care patients.
1994--The intramural, extramural, and epidemiology organizational components of
NIDR were redefined from programs to divisions, establishing the Divisions of: Intramural
Research; Extramural Research; and Epidemiology and Oral Disease Prevention (DEODP).
The DEODP was streamlined from four to three branches: Analytical Studies and Health
Assessment; Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; and Molecular Epidemiology and
1995--NIDR sponsored "Partnerships in Communication: A Meeting of Dental
Editors," which brought together for the first time at NIH more than 30 editors and
executive directors of dental organizations to enhance communications among the group.
The institute met with a diverse group of representatives form pharmaceutical,
biotechnology, manufacturing and other industries to develop ways to accelerate the
transfer of research findings into application.
NIDR conducted more than 30 focus groups with professional organizations, NIDR staff,
specialty groups, and the public toward the development of a new institute.
1996--The first community conference in the institutes history was held in
May for employees to review the NIDR strategic planning process to date and to discuss the
NIDR mission, vision, situation audit, strategic initiatives, management principles and
plans for the future.
The NIDR sponsored a technology assessment conference on the management of
The institutes intramural, extramural and epidemiology organizational components
were reorganized into the Division of Intramural Research and the Division of Extramural
NIDR launched its World Wide Web page on the Internet making all pertinent information
available to the public and the research community.
1997--The NIDRs first strategic plan, Shaping the Future, was
released in July. Focusing on areas of research opportunities, research capacity, and
health promotion, the document serves as a critical structure within which multiple
institute initiatives are undertaken.