Implant Pioneer Leonard I. Linkow, DDS, DMSC, Dies on Jan. 26

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Posted: February 21, 2017
Edited by Dentaltown staff

PHOENIX—Leonard I. Linkow, DDS, DMSc, considered by his colleagues and students as the “father" of oral implantology, died on Jan. 26, after battling a long illness. He was 90.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Linkow was a radio operator in the U.S. Army Air Forces toward the end of World War II. He was a professional baseball candidate and tried out for the New York Giants. Although he was offered a contract, he declined to become a dentist. 

Since graduating from New York University College of Dentistry in 1952, Linkow devoted his life to telling not only the dental profession, but anyone around the world who would listen, the benefits of oral implants.

Linkow was attacked, ostracized, and defamed by the profession for many years. However, he continued presenting lectures and continuing education courses throughout the world whenever and wherever he was invited at his own expense.

Linkow, who held 36 different patents, is responsible for numerous innovations in implant dentistry. Among his major contributions are the blade implant, the self-tapping vent plant root form implant, the tripodal subperiosteal implant, immediate loading, and the internal hex design for root form implants. Linkow was the only dentist nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Linkow practiced dentistry in New York City throughout his career and has been honored worldwide in cities such as Berlin, Madrid, Milan and Paris. He authored 19 textbooks and approximately 200 articles in dental and medical journals. He developed and introduced numerous implant systems, many of which are in use today throughout the world. Several international congresses and seminars bear his name.

At the time of his death, Linkow was a clinical professor of implant dentistry at New York University College of Dentistry. He also served as a clinical professor in the prosthodontics department at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he demonstrated surgical and prosthodontic implant procedures, lectured to both undergraduate and advanced education students, and trained students and faculty.

Linkow was president of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry in 1974 and since 1998 was honorary president of the American Academy of Implant Prosthodontics.

Among the many honors Linkow has received are the Thomas P. Hinman Medallion in 1972 and the Aaron Gershkoff Memorial Award in 1974. He was knighted by the government of Malta in 1974 and honored by the government of Cyprus in 1979. 

In 1992, the New York University College of Dentistry created the first and only endowed chair in implantology in perpetuity for Linkow. New York University also established the Leonard I. Linkow Library of Implant Dentistry, which is readily available to professionals, educators, and laypersons on the internet.

by Sheldon Winkler, DDS
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