An Abridged Biography of L.D. Pankey

In 1999, I participated in the writing of a 500-word bio of Dr. Lindsey Dewey Pankey, Sr. for his posthumous induction in the Pierre Fauchard Academy International Hall of Fame. Although he was born over a century ago, his legacy has impacted many thousands of dentists and millions of patients.

Sharing this abridged bio with you 20 years later means that the asterisked number of dental professionals instructed by The Pankey Institute has greatly grown. Nevertheless, I offer this to you in its original words to make his abridged biography more widely known.

From the Pierre Fauchard Academy International Hall of Fame of Dentistry, 1999

Dr. L.D. Pankey, Sr. Was born on July 31, 1901. He received his Doctorate in Dental Surgery degree from the College of Dentistry at the University of Louisville, practiced in New Castle, Kentucky for one year, then relocated to Coral Gables, Florida, where he practiced dentistry until 1969. In 1932, he became a member of the Florida State Board of Dental Examiners and served 12 years, including his term as secretary and chairman. Concurrently, he was a member of the American Association of Dental Examiners, serving as Vice President in 1942 and President in 1943.

Throughout his professional career, Dr. Pankey was an essayist, lecturer, and student.

Having made presentations before countless local, state, national and international dental groups, he was best known for his seminars on “A Philosophy of the Practice of Dentistry.” In 1956, his Philosophy lectures were organized into three-day seminars. Subsequently, a curriculum was developed whereby practicing dentists would attend a series of once-a-year classes over a three-year period. In these classes, Dr. Pankey helped dentists find fulfillment through building relationships with patients about the benefits of optimal dental care. He helped his colleagues seek a balanced life. And he inspired them to do their personal best for every patient.

Dr. Pankey also developed a procedure for occlusal rehabilitation. In collaboration with Drs. Arvin W. Mann of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and Clyde H. Schuyler of New York city, he developed a teaching manual. In 1959, they began giving seminars, attracting dentists from throughout the United States and many other nations. Their occlusal rehabilitation procedures became known as the Pankey-Mann-Schuyler Technique (PMS). He was acknowledged by the dental profession for this work by being elected President of the American Prosthodontic Society.

Over 7,000 dentists attended the occlusal rehabilitation and philosophy classes taught by Dr. Pankey. The dentists who attended these classes formed the nucleus of support for establishing The L. D. Pankey Foundation, Inc., and creating “The L. D. Pankey Institute.” The Pankey Institute was the first advanced dental education organization of its kind in the world. It opened the doors to its first class in Miami, Florida in 1972. The curriculum was organized into what has become known as “The Continuum,” a series of one-week classes taken at a pace that is convenient and pertinent to the growth of the participant.

Well beyond simply honoring its namesake and continuing his teaching, The L. D. Pankey Dental Foundation, established a higher mission for dentistry “to bridge the gap between what is known and what is practiced.” Since 1972, The Pankey Institute has instructed over 17,000* dental professionals from many nations of the world, affecting the dental outcomes and well-being of millions of patients. Dr. L.D. Pankey, Sr. was deeply committed to the Institute’s success, participated in its development, and lectured at the Institute up until the time of his death in March of 1989.

Dentistry, our beloved profession, is better because of the man we recommend for induction. The Academy is privileged and honored to induct Dr. Lindsey Dewey Pankey, Sr., into the PFA International Hall of Fame of Dentistry.

Deborah Bush, MA

Deb Bush was the Communications Manager for The Pankey Institute from 1997 to 2003, and a consulting marketing and educational writer for the Institute through 2009. After completing graduate school at the University of Michigan, in 1976, she began a long career in technical writing and knowledge translation in the fields of environmental impact, econometrics and finance, CAD/CAM engineering, accounting and taxation, medicine and dentistry. Currently, she is the Director of Content for Patient Prism Academy (at www.patientprism.com) and will always be a raving fan of The Pankey Institute.

Deborah Bush, MA

6 thoughts on “An Abridged Biography of L.D. Pankey

  • Avatar
    April 12, 2021 at 12:53 pm
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    Hi Deb – thanks for re-posting this brief bio. I am in the midst of an eight session, A Philosophy… A Gift of a Legacy from Dr. L.D. Pankey. The Pankey Institute is in the midst of republishing the book from Drs. Pankey and Davis. My hope is everyone in the class will be buying and reading it, multiple times in their lives, Part One of the book is his personal story in dentistry. On reflection, through the decades of my life, my understanding of Dr. Pankey’s story deepen’s with the years and is even more pertinent today than it was for me when I first heard him speak in February of 1968. Isn’t that interesting….? Thank you again, Rich Green

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    • Deborah Ellen Bush
      April 12, 2021 at 3:48 pm
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      Congratulations, Rich, on 53 years of participation and leadership in advanced dental education in association with The Pankey Institute. A Philosophy of Dental Practice remains not only relevant but a constant source of inspiration.

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    April 12, 2021 at 4:05 pm
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    I was at the institute when it was in the DuPont Plaza in Miami. I started in the 80s. Finished Level 5 in Key Biscayne. The greater New York, NJ and Connecticut Pankey study club was a philosophy group run by Murray Wiener until his passing. It changed my life!
    My life in dentistry would have been much different without the teaching of the philosophy. It’s a way of life based on principles of the great philosophers.
    Dr Pankey gave up extracting teeth and dedicated his life to dentistry and helping people rehabilitate their mouths through PMS THEORY OF OCCLUSION. He studied in Europe with top tier dentists and committed to saving peoples teeth.
    I still cherish a Polaroid I have from when I was very young and Dr. Pankey came to NYC to speak for / days to our group.
    P.S. He liked to stay at The Warwick!

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  • Avatar
    April 12, 2021 at 11:15 pm
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    Great history and reminder of best patient care practices. Thanks.

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  • Avatar
    April 13, 2021 at 5:25 pm
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    Deb, Really enjoyed reading this, and surprised I had not see it before. Thanks for all you do for Pankey!

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  • Avatar
    April 15, 2021 at 5:17 pm
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    Due to my attendance at The Pankey Institute, my journey through Dentistry and life experiences awakened an inner quality that i was not aware of. It enabled me to understand how important my relationship to a larger view of life helped me navigate this wonderful existence. I am still practicing,although part time, and still attending a school, called the school of Practical Philosophy. This is a worldwide school. Dr Pankey was the motivating force that started me in this quest. I am forever grateful. Saul Frechtman

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