Program Director: Dr. Howard Fraimancontact

History of Periodontal Prosthesis

The history of Periodontal Prosthesis at Penn Dental Medicine begins with the establishment of the Periodontics Program. In 1955, Dean Lester Burkett wanted to establish a Periodontics program at Penn and approached Dr. Henry Goldman in Boston, proposing a joint program — Beth Israel Hospital in Boston would provide the clinical training and Penn’s Graduate School of Medicine would provide the basic sciences. Dr. Goldman became the Chair of the program and Dr. D. Walter Cohen, a member of the Penn Dental Medicine faculty at the time, became the Co-Chair. Penn was able to attract numerous outstanding faculty, including Dr. Morton Amsterdam.

Dr. Amsterdam along with Dr. Cohen conceived and developed the Periodontal Prosthesis Program. It was based on a philosophy of using restorative procedures in the treatment of a dentition mutilated by periodontal disease. It was an outgrowth of years of study of general dentistry, periodontics, prosthodontics, endodontics, orthodontics, and oral surgery, creating a format for interdisciplinary care. Periodontal Prosthesis and its concepts still provide the framework for reconstructive and interdisciplinary dentistry. Of primary importance during Periodontal Prosthesis treatment is the control of inflammation and elimination of disease. This is followed by a therapeutic occlusion, restoration if necessary, and diligent maintenance.

At first, Drs. Amsterdam and Cohen trained students in a preceptor program; the official formal training in Periodontal Prosthesis began in 1961. In 1963, the Penn and Boston programs separated and Dr. Morton Amsterdam became the first director of Periodontal Prosthesis at Penn Dental Medicine. The program’s directors, who were all graduates of the Periodontal Prosthesis and Periodontics Programs, have included:

  • Morton Amsterdam
  • Arnold Weisgold
  • Dumitru Gogarnoiu
  • Ernesto Lee
  • Howard Fraiman

Graduates of the Periodontal Prosthesis program have become successful clinicians and important national and international opinion leaders in the fields of periodontics and oral rehabilitation.

Program Overview

This four-year program was designed to provide postgraduate students training in restorative/prosthetics, periodontics, and advanced implant restorative dentistry. Upon successful completion of the program, students have been issued a specialty certificate in Periodontics, earning board eligibility in Periodontics, and certificate of advanced training in Periodontal Prosthesis.

Periodontal Prosthesis training integrates three essential areas: basic science, periodontics, and restorative/prosthetic dentistry. Basic science includes highly integrated core courses, presented at a level to enhance, and expand on the student’s knowledge of oral biology. Periodontics is the major focus of the didactic program with emphasis on etiology, diagnosis, treatment planning, and treatment of periodontal diseases. The major emphasis of this program lies in clinical education to develop specialists who have a scholarly approach to clinical problems. Interdisciplinary training is a hallmark of this program with faculty representatives from the departments of Endodontics, Periodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and the Division of Restorative Dentistry in the Department of Preventive and Restorative Sciences, continually interacting in both the seminars and clinics.

This program under its current format is in the process of transitioning, so there will be no admissions for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. The next frontier is for Periodontal Prosthesis to evolve into an educational program from which graduates receive specialty training certificates in Periodontics and Prosthodontics and are educationally qualified to take board exams in both dental specialties.


For information on Periodontal Prosthesis, contact Dr. Howard Fraiman: