The year was 1878 when doctor Friedrich Flamig, born in Prague, left the still existing at the time Austro-Hungarian Empire to became the first and only dentist in Bulgaria.
On 25.06.1880 dr. Vasil Argazov was issued license ¹1, containing the following text: „...was given the present license for free practice of the dental art.“ He was the first licensed dentist!
Twenty-five years later the dentists M. Elmazov and D. Toshkov set the beginning of the organized life of the newly-created dental profession in Bulgaria.
The following form was sent to all Bulgarian dentists:
As it is well-known to you, all the professions in Bulgaria, learned or not, are organized by establishing associations which to work for the whole profession, as well as for the interests of its separate members, who are in one way or another underprivileged by the authorities or by particular individuals. Only the dentists' profession, being equal to any other, if not standing above, but in no way below others, lacks in such useful association, therefore it needs to be organized and it's a unforgivable mistake for us not to appraise the co-operaion and its great power when it comes to defending the whole profession or a single member.
Keeping that in mind, some of us gathered here and after having considered establishing a Bulgarian dental association, we thought despite few in numbers to address all of you with the present letter, asking you to answer the following questions not too late:
Do you accept it, that a dental association should be created? and If you accept, then do you agree for all of us to gather together this very year, in the end of December (say, like the 20th of December) at a congress?
The purpose of the congress is to listen to some of the essays on Dentistry and Stomatology of the colleagues who wish to read them; to pass the statute of the association and finally to elect a management which will be in charge of the association's affairs.
Committee: Elmazov dentist
D. Toshkov dentist
On 20.12.1905 in the small lounge of „Slavyanska beseda“ dr. Rusev - director for public health care opens the First Congress of Bulgarian Dentists. The beginning is set!
A decision is taken to found the „First Bulgarian Dental Association“ (PBOD) with the following statute:
the First Bulgarian Dental Association
1. The association of Bulgarian dentists founded on the 21st of December 1905 names itself First Bulgarian Dental Association.
2. The Association aims at:
a/ working for the learned union of its members;
b/ working for raising and keeping the prestige of the dental association and its separate members in the area of science and law;
c/ contributing to the wide spread of the practical dental and stomatological knowledge among the masses and
d/ discussing sanitary-dental and stomatological questions raised either by its members or by the authorities;
3. The goals are achieved:
a/ through written and verbal essays in general and popular public lectures about dentistry and stomatology and
b/ when the association has a capital of its own, through publication of magazine about dentistry and stomatology.
According to preserved information the founders of PBOD numbered 19 people.
1. Elmazov Mihail, graduated the Medical Faculty of the Russian Empire University „St. Vladimir“ in 1894 with a degree of Zubnoi Vrach. In practice in Sofia.
2. Hadzhi Ivanov B.D., graduated the same university with a degree of Zubnoi Vrach in 1907. In practice in Stara Zagora.
3. P. Didov, graduated the Medical Faculty of the Urev University in 1900 with a degree of Zubnoi Vrach. In practice in Plovdiv.
4. Nikola Varbanov, graduated the Medical Faculty of Kharkov Russian University in 1901 with a degree of Zubnoi Vrach. In practice in Sliven.
5. Sp. Barumov, graduated the Kiev Empire University in 1907 with a degree of Zubnoi Vrach. In practice in Sofia.
6. M. Sakarova-Lazarova, graduated the Medical Faculty of the Moscow Empire University with a degree of Zubnoi Vrach. In practice in Sofia.
7. Kaldaramova, graduated in Russia with a degree of Zubnoi Vrach. In practice in Tarnovo.
8. M. Senkov, graduated in Russia with a degree of Zubnoi Vrach. In practice in Tarnovo.
9. Z. Seferyan, /has not provided information/.
10. Berbenko, graduated in Russia with a degree of Zubnoi Vrach. In practice in Sofia.
11. Zorka Tosheva Toshkova, graduated in Russia with a degree of Zubnoi Vrach. In practice in Sofia.
12. D. Toshkov also.
13. Mancheva, not known.
14. Dzherasi, /has not provided information/.
15. Mutanova, graduated in Russia with a degree of Zubnoi Vrach. In practice in Sofia.
16. B.T. Malchev, graduated the Geneva National Dental School with a degree of Chirurgiendentiste in 1904. In practice since 1905 in Ruse.
17. Radbil, graduated in Germany.
18. Paraskevov, graduated the Athens University with a degree of Doctor of Medicine, specialized in Ecole dentaire de patis. In practice in Burgas.
19. Gercheva, graduated the Kiev Empire University in 1906 with a degree of Zubnoi Vrach. In practice in Shumen.
Chairman of the „First Bulgarian Dental Association“ was elected Mihail Elmazov and secretary - Dimitar Toshkov.
On 04.07.1910 the 4th regular congress of PBOD changed the name of the First Bulgarian Dentist Association to Bulgarian Dentist Association (BZS). The main motive of the chairman Flamig was „...our demands to be heard and satisfied by the High Medical Council, as we organize into a dential association with provincial autonomous colleges“.
An year later regional companies with the following number of members existed: Sofia - 19, Plovdiv - 7, Varna - 9, Ruse - 9, Sliven - 3, Stara Zagora - 4, Shumen - 4, a total of 55 members.
On 11.09.1911 the first issue of „Zabolekarski pregled“ magazine was published, in 1951 it was renamed to „Stomatologia“ and in 2001 was restored its original name, „Zabolekarski Pregled“. This first our professional magazine has been published without interrupting for 94 years now.
During the first half of the 20th century BZS proved itself an authoritative professional organization. The main undertakings that were taken care of were: creation of a normative order, regulating the practice of the dentist profession in Bulgaria; creation of a dental section in the law for public health care; improvement of the dental treatment of children, students and soldiers through nominating dentists in high schools, regiments, first-class hospitals, divisional hospitals and big city health stations; connecting sanitary-profilactic measures and living conditions to teeth illnesses and opening an institution of higher dentistry education, with the first professional demand dating back to 1906-07 and going to 1942, when the Dental Department of the Medical Faculty in Sofia was created.
After World War II, in 1948-49 by means of law were liquidated all independent professional organizations, including the Bulgarian Dentist Association. Scientists from the Stomatological Faculty in Sofia created the Learned Medical Association for Stomatology - a member of the Union of Medical Associations in Bulgaria.
The democratic changes after 1989 made it possible to create professional organizations in Bulgaria. In 1990 stomatologists from Plovdiv, supported by their colleagues from Sofia and the country restored the Bulgarian Stomatological Union (BSS).
At the head of it, as co-presidents, stood dr. Ivan Antikadzhiev, dr. Krasimir Kumanov and dr. Angel Bakardzhiev.
This period characterized with voluntarily set-up and consolidating the national stomatological organization numbering about 2000 members. Free stomatological practice is legitimated once again, after a 19-year break.
From 1992 to 1994, under the chairmanship of dr. Kr. Kumanov was made the first exploitation, evaluating stomatological work - an important prerequisite for initiation of the health insurance system in Bulgaria - later was applied to Regulation ¹5 of the Ministry of Health, which is still current today.
Until 1997 president of BSS was dr. Antoniy Gotsev, head assistant professor in the Stomatological Faculty in Plovdiv. That space of time characterized with growth of the organization's prestige, serious debates concerning the model of dental care in Bulgaria, and finally conluding that the headquarters of BSS should be in Sofia.
From 1997 president of BSS was dr. Zhivko Mihailov.
In 1998 was published the new law for professional organizations which regulated membership in the professional organization to be obligatory for every dentist in practice.
The Bulgarian Stomatological Union (BSS) changed it registration to the Union of the Stomatologists in Bulgaria (SSB).
Dr. Zhivko Mihailov was re-elected as president until May 2005.
A concrete reform was commenced in dental care, regional stomatological polyclinics became private, new relations with National Health Insurance Fund were regulated, etc.
At the review and election congress in May 2005 president of SSB was elected dr. Nikolai Sharkov.
Currently the members of SSB number nearly 8000 people, combined into 28 regional colleges. The Sofia region has the biggest one in Bulgaria with its over 2300 members.
Let's not forget the fact that for 100 years in Bulgaria there has been only ONE nationally responsible stomatologist organization, no matter how it was named...
...And the history of stomatology in Bulgaria isn't necessarily a history of the organized stomatology. There is wide space for work for the good-willed historian of the profession.
And with these few lines the beginning of the „History of stomatology in Bulgaria“ rubric is set.
Information by Prof. Anton Filchev and Dr. Ivan Bosnev