Greene Vardiman Black (a.k.a G.V. Black 1836–1915) is considered the father of Restorative Dentistry. His venture into dentistry was late in life. He first studied medicine with his brother, Thomas G. Black a physician and dentistry from J.C. Speer, a practicing dentist.
Among his seminal books he published by G.V.Black “Formation of Poisons by Micro¬-organisms” stands out. Other books: Operative Dentistry and Special Dental Pathology remained the standard textbook for generations of students at University of Iowa, Chicago College of Dental Surgery, Northwestern University Dental School where GV black taught as well as nationwide. Although G.V. Black describes the role of microorganisms in formation of caries and proposes the acid theory, it was Willoughby Miller, a doctoral student in 1890 working under the guidance of Robert Koch in Berlin that fully developed the micro-parasitic theory of caries formation.
His most lasting contribution are caries classifications (Class I through Class V) still in use. A second concept, “extension for prevention” was discontinued with the introduction of composite resins and modern cavity preparations, which no longer require extensive removal of healthy tooth structure. Further, with the introduction of silver diamine fluoride no structure is removed at all. "The day is surely coming …. when we will be engaged in practicing preventive rather than reparative dentistry” said Black shortly before his death in 1915. How true 100 or so years later.