On the trail of two ITI titans!
Within a very short time, the ITI family was forced to bid farewell to two personages who played a decisive role in shaping the International Team of Implantology (ITI). In due course, the German Section organized a small but high caliber symposium in memory of Professor Dr. Wilfried Schilli and Professor Dr. Dr. Dieter Weingart.
The ITI Study Club Freiburg provided the right setting because Freiburg was undoubtedly the fixed point that connected these two exceptional surgeons locally, both in terms of working domain and personally, over a long period of time. Three excellent speakers paid tribute to Professors Schilli and Weingart as visionaries, outstanding oral surgeons and teachers, but also as extremely honest, very likeable people.
In the large lecture hall of the Freiburg Dental Center that was filled to capacity (in line with Covid regulations!), the two Freiburg Study Club Directors, Dr. Kai Höckl and Dr. Georg Bach greeted the participants of the Schilli-Weingart-Symposium with the words: “Freiburg was the glue that bonded the two of them”. Höckl and Bach were particularly pleased to welcome the Weingart and Schilli families among the participants.
In the Chair of the German ITI Section, Professor Dr. Dr. Johannes Kleinheinz, Mr. Thomas Straumann from Switzerland and Professor Dr. Dr. Wilfried Wagner from Mainz, the symposium had three outstanding speakers who were able to pay appropriate tribute to the two ITI titans. And the speakers were able to highlight a surprising number of parallels between Schilli and Weingart. These began with their origins in Baden – Schilli came from Offenburg, a child of the Ortenau, while Weingart came from Pforzheim. Other parallels: a start as a dental technician through to a career as an oral surgeon and university professor.
Also common to both: they were visionaries and absolute perfectionists, and both could, knew how and wanted to enjoy life. For Weingart, pure joie de vivre even led to a job as a part-time winemaker, but – typically for Weingart – as a part-time winemaker at the highest level! Not only in terms of the final product, but also in terms of work in the vineyard, up to and including the development of a tool (a modification of orthodontic pliers) to increase the vineyard’s yield.
Schilli was a born networker who also knew how to attract extremely capable employees, to win their loyalty to his department and ultimately to place them in key positions.
Johannes Kleinheinz succeeded in depicting all of this with the help of numerous short videos that he had requested from friends and colleagues and put together into an entertaining, often funny, often touching video.
The Mainz emeritus Wilfried Wagner, who outlined the development of implant dentistry in Germany, established links between Schilli and Weingart and paid tribute to their substantial services to German and international implant dentistry.
Thomas Strauman spoke from a different perspective, that of the Straumann company and the International Team for Implantology. He summarized as follows: “These two ITI Presidents – each in their own time – shaped the ITI and made it what it is today – Schilli and Weingart can justifiably be called the most outstanding ITI Presidents!” Nothing more needs to be said.
After the symposium, the foyer of the Freiburg Dental Center, to which the ITI Study Club Freiburg had moved for capacity reasons, offered an ideal environment in which to spend a few hours exchanging ideas and recalling many of the memorable events that connected the participants with Schilli and Weingart. Because, with all their undoubted services to maxillofacial surgery and implant dentistry, both were also – here again a parallel! – one thing: outstanding doctors and dentists with the highest level of empathy for their patients as well as extremely likeable individuals!