Anders Lundström, 1916-2009

Anders Lundström

The world of orthodontics lost a renowned leader, researcher, educator, author, and mentor on September 28, 2009, the day Anders Lundström died in Stockholm, Sweden. He was at home, alert and conversational with his family the evening before, and never awoke from his sleep, passing away peacefully at the age of 93.

For Anders Lundström, becoming an orthodontist might have been bred in his bones. He was born on March 22, 1916, in Stockholm, the third of 4 children of Dr Axel F. Lundström (1875-1941) and Beth Crafoord. His father achieved legendary status as a leader and innovator in the fledgling specialty of orthodontics, whereas his mother came from a Swedish family distinguished in medicine.

Less than 10 years before the birth of Anders, his 32-year-old father traveled to St Louis, Mo, to fulfill an ambition to study with the world’s most accomplished orthodontist, Dr Edward H. Angle. Axel Lundström arrived too late for the regular Angle School’s 5-week course of 1907. Nonetheless, Dr Angle received him with enthusiasm and invited him to work as an associate in his private office. They got along famously; Angle greatly admired Axel’s clinical skills. Several months later, Axel returned to Stockholm filled with new ideas and inspiration gained directly from his work with the father of modern orthodontics. Axel Lundström’s career as a leading European specialist in orthodontics then took off like a rocket. He was one of the 10 founders of the European Orthodontic Society (EOS), serving as its second president in 1909. The recounted stories from this propitious period in Dr Axel Lundström’s professional life no doubt deeply influenced the eventual direction of his perceptive young son Anders.

In 1934, Anders entered Stockholm’s Tandläkareinstitutet (Institute of Dentistry), graduating as a licensed dentist in 1937 at the age of 21. Wanting something more than just practice, he joined the teaching faculty there in 1938. In the following year, he married Olga Bergström, who was also a dentist. Throughout their life together, Olga and Anders were a highly compatible and successful match, personally and professionally, ending with Olga’s untimely death in 1988.

The academic eminence of Anders Lundström, BDS, Odont Dr, DSc hc (Dublin), DDSc hc (Newcastle), FRCS hc (Ireland), received great thrust from his native intelligence and his father’s wise counsel. Axel’s international perspective and sound scientific thinking were formative to his scholarly son. Axel, who was the first teacher of orthodontics at the Institute of Dentistry, surely shared his established professional and academic channels and his successful private practice to help Anders early in his illustrious career.

Anders Lundström’s dissertation for the Doctor of Odontology degree, Tooth size and occlusion in twins , published in 1948 in its final form, is a landmark study in biologic anthropology, representing a monumental collection of specialized odontometric data and other detailed observations. With well-known biologist Gunnar Dahlberg as his research advisor, Lundström undertook an elaborate twin analysis of genetic and nongenetic factors in tooth size, tooth space in the dental arches, dental occlusion, and jaw relationship. He found that hereditary factors played at least as important a role as environmental ones in tooth arrangement. Heredity was even more important, he concluded, in severe malocclusion, when special environmental factors were not demonstrable. In effect, Anders Lundström discovered biologic and anatomic basics important in the expression of malocclusion and normal occlusion in the same fashion his father, 25 years earlier, uncovered the importance of the bony apical base as a biologic and anatomic limit for orthodontic dentoalveolar procedures. The doctoral dissertations of both men remain classics today.

After completing his advanced research degree, Anders moved up rapidly within the orthodontics department at Stockholm’s Institute of Dentistry. In 1949, he was appointed full-time professor of orthodontics, a chair that he held for 32 years, until his retirement in July 1981. During that period, the dental school underwent many transformations. In 1962, he was elected dean of the dental school. Dean Lundström was the positive force and thoughtful diplomat who engineered many of the school’s greatest transformations, including the development of a new curriculum for undergraduate dental education and the relocation of the dental school to a new campus in Huddinge at the outskirts of Stockholm. During his progressive tenure, his school was molded into the present Institute of Odontology at the Karolinska Institutet in Huddinge.

Professor Lundström’s long and productive scientific activity was concentrated from an early stage on central, basic questions in orthodontics. After his innovative doctoral work on tooth size and the etiology of malocclusion, he devised and investigated other essential questions in orthodontics, such as the indications for orthodontic treatment, the growth of the facial skeleton, and the clinical significance of cephalometric analysis, natural head posture, and proportional soft-tissue analysis. Anders Lundström was the first to apply and publish intermaxillary tooth size ratios that today are in common use by orthodontists and are known by the misnomer, “Bolton’s Index.” He published more than 100 original articles, all characterized by an insightful description of the problem and a logical approach to the study and its practical aspects. As a testament to his constantly active and fertile mind, his scientific output continued unabated after academic retirement.

Anders Lundström freely shared his gifts of soft-spoken intellect, focus, and counsel with his students and colleagues. During his time as professor, he was the inspiring mentor for 14 orthodontically related doctoral dissertations that were defended at the dental faculty in Stockholm. In 1958, Professor Lundström edited Nordisk lärobok i ortodonti , which went through 5 successful editions, with translations into English and Spanish. Today, it is known as Introduction to orthodontics , edited by Birgit Thilander and Olli Rönning. The point of view of this remarkable textbook is thoroughly Lundström’s, since the chapters concerning appliances and treatments constitute only a small portion of the volume; the main parts are devoted to the scientific aspects of orthodontics.

The international reputation that Anders developed led to a regular flow of invitations to lecture in the United States and Europe. For example, in the autumn of 1954, he was invited as a visiting faculty member in the Department of Orthodontics at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He combined that engagement with lecture invitations at scientific meetings across the United States. His seminal lectures were turned into several key articles that appeared in the American Journal of Orthodontics in 1955.

Professor Anders Lundström collected some well-earned recognitions in his accomplished life’s journey. He was awarded 2 honorary doctorates—from Trinity College, Dublin (1960), and the University of Durham, Newcastle, England (1963). Anders was elected to Honorary Fellowship in the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland (1970), and won the 1986 Jarabak International Teaching and Research Award given by the American Association of Orthodontists Foundation. He was bestowed honorary membership in a number of distinguished Swedish and international societies. In 1982, after his retirement from formal academics, a 200-page festschrift was published in Sweden to celebrate the outstanding achievements and persona of Anders Lundström, Professor Emeritus. Opus Honorarium Anders Lundström contained important contributions from an international “Who’s Who” in orthodontics. At the time, Dr T. M. Graber aptly called it “a living, dynamic tribute to a humble, yet great man.”

His circle of European colleagues fully recognized his inspiring leadership. In the EOS, Anders Lundström long held a prominent position. He was a member of the EOS Council for many years. In 1965 in Stockholm, he presided as president of the society, as his father Axel did 56 years earlier.

After his academic retirement and the death of his beloved wife, Olga, Anders Lundström’s intellectual strength and creative energy continued to guide his life, vigorously and positively. In his later years, he enjoyed being a wise counselor to the administrators of dental education in Sweden and EOS leaders and members. He kept up to date on world affairs, so much so that his occasional letter to the editor in the press often made a difference. In addition to his continued flow of fine scientific articles, he chose to write poems as his diary of activity and creative thought. These were bound into annual volumes that represent to family and friends his deep insight and artistic sensitivity. Anders was a lover of classical music but never played an instrument himself. He was blessed with a marvelous sense of humor, which sometimes could rapidly develop from an amused smile into delightfully explosive laughter.

Anders was a highly talented visual artist, producing pastel-like watercolors of sunny landscapes, especially from the archipelago of Bohuslän on Sweden’s western coastline, where he spent the summers with his family. He expressed his visual power not only in watercolor and oil, but also in ingenious sculptures and mobiles made of orthodontic materials and wood.

His eyesight eventually failed him, yet he continued to collect his fresh thoughts for regular transcription by an assistant. Despite near blindness, he kept on painting lively outdoor scenes on smaller and smaller sheets to satisfy his inner vision for beauty in nature and life.

Anders and Olga left a loving family of 5 children: Viveca, Fredrik, Robert, Cecilia, and Torbjörn. The Lundström penchant for clinical science probably led 3 siblings to pursue doctorates; Viveca and Torbjörn in medicine, and Fredrik in dentistry, serving an accomplished career in orthodontics in the grand Lundström tradition. There are 12 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. Fredrik’s son Jan is a fourth generation Lundström orthodontist, a remarkable feat for any family.

Anders Lundström was an honor to his profession in every possible way. Contemplative and tactful, modest and uncompromising, he personified fair play to all who were lucky to know him. He was the distinguished son of a distinguished father, and he nurtured a distinguished legacy in his family and students. We shall miss dearly his brilliant contributions, his easy access, and his inspiring personality. The name of Anders Lundström will be inscribed forever in the pantheon of greats who have given the specialty of orthodontics its scientific and biologic foundations.

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Apr 14, 2017 | Posted by in Orthodontics | Comments Off on Anders Lundström, 1916-2009
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