Innovator of Modern Dentistry

It seems as if every couple of years we lose a great mind in almost every field like science, music, art and so on. Well, the dental field is no exception.

Recently, dentistry lost one of its greatest modern innovators and inventors, Dr. Donald Grant Coburn, DDS, FICD, when he passed away at 88 years old in his home in Ontario, Canada.

A Pioneer in Ergonomics

Dr. Coburn worked on and invented dental equipment and furniture designed to aid in ergonomics for both dentists and patients. The ideas he worked long and hard on to make into reality can be seen almost any time you go into a modern dentist office, and although you may not have even known it, you can credit almost any comfort you’ve found in the modern dentist chair to Dr. Coburn.

Dr. Coburn first began his work when he started a dental practice out of his own home. Given time to reflect after work, it occurred to him how he would have to stand, hunch and bend all while working with a stationary patient who was either sitting or lying down. After compounding that wear and tear with also having to pivot at the waist, he decided to do something about it.

After many hours of studying things such as architecture and engineering, he enlisted the help of a man named Ronald Cox, a tool and die maker and co-founded a firm called Cox Systems. This company not only developed his new products but also worked to install them as well.

So essentially, Dr. Coburn was not only an inventor and dentist but a highly successful entrepreneur as well. In addition to all of that, he also served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, or RCAF, near the end of World War II, as well as working in the Canadian Forestry Department.

To say that Dr. Coburn lived a full and productive life would be, at the very least, an understatement and although not everyone will end up being a great innovator or inventor in their field of study, we can all still attempt to emulate the pioneering spirit that Dr. Coburn lived every day of his life.

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