Obituary: John Forrest

John Orchover Forrest, dental surgeon, born London 4 May 1918, married 1944 Irene Leanse (two sons), died London 20 June 1992.

AS AN AMBASSADOR for the dental profession John Forrest was outstanding. His considerable authority in the worlds of dentistry and clinical publishing reflected his standing as a London clinician celebrated for his sensitivity for the feelings and needs of colleagues and patients. His skill in saying or writing the right word at the right time led to many books and articles and his professionalism, integrity and courage were always unobtrusive.

Parental influence temporarily guided Forrest away from his original ambition to become a writer which could not match the economic security of the dental profession. After graduating from Guy's Hospital in 1940, his professional development, ultimately to lead to a West End of London practice, included wartime service with the RAF Dental Branch and founding an NHS general practice in the Maida Vale area of London. Guy's Hospital, which had appointed him on graduation as a house surgeon, later invited him to start a training school for dental hygienists. He was an honorary lecturer from 1969 to 1971.

John Forrest never underestimated the psychological distress of tooth loss or unsightly teeth. His advice to patients, whether received at the chairside and interspersed with his wry humour, or delivered through one of his books, The Good Teeth Guide, revealed a highly effective communicator and motivator.

He was a pioneer of preventive dentistry. His early clinical practice convinced him that many patients needlessly lost teeth from the bacterial diseases of caries and periodontitis. Caries is the destruction of mineralised tooth substance; periodontitis the progressive loss of the bone, ligaments and gum tissue that support teeth. Scientific confirmation that individuals vary widely in their susceptibility to these diseases, and that caries and periodontitis comprise multiple diseases with markedly different patterns of clinical behaviour and outlook, emerged in the later years of his career.

He published widely and well. His several textbooks include Preventive Dentistry (1976) and A Guide to Successful Dental Practice (1984). His chairmanship of the Editorial Board of the bimonthly magazine Dental Practice ensured discussions that were vigorous and far-ranging. Even the most senior contributor would find their words and thoughts distilled to give maximum benefit to the formidable editorial partnership of Colin Davis and Mary Newing. Within Britain his chairmanship skills were also deployed as president of the British Society of Periodontology, the British Endodontic Society, and the Metropolitan Branch of the British Dental Association. His international work included the European Dental Society and honorary membership of the American Dental Association; at the time of his death he was president of the International College of Dentists.

His modesty extended to academic achievements that included the Fellowship in Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Gibbs Prize Scholarship which he used to examine (and dramatically improve) the dental health of the Olympic athletes in Mexico City.

To younger colleagues, embarrassed and uncertain how to proceed in their early clinical career, unsure of committee work or how to develop a writing style, his guidance was charmingly old-fashioned. 'Do the best you can and the best will come back to you,' he would murmur.

(Photograph omitted)

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform