Today, we take a moment to pause and remember with gratitude our long-time volunteer, Thomas J. Vergo, Jr., D.D.S. The prosthodontist passed on March 7 after a long illness.

Dr. Vergo was a kind man who donated his time to our NFED families for two decades. The Professor Emeritus spent much of his career at Tufts University and was highly regarded in his field. He thoughtfully reviewed our Treatment Assistance Program applications, advised on dental issues and co-authored our Parameters of Oral Health Care for Individuals Affected by the Ectodermal Dysplasia Syndromes.

He played a major role in educating other oral hear care providers about the conditions and how to diagnose and treat them. Dr. Vergo was gracious with his time and sharing his expertise and experience in dentistry.

You can read his obituary. We extend our sympathy to his wife, Elizabeth, their seven children and the rest of his family. We will miss him and his passion to help families affected by ectodermal dysplasias.

During the 20 years Dr. Vergo was involved with the Foundation, he continuously demonstrated his commitment to patients affected by ectodermal dysplasias. Here is a conversation we had with him back in 2012, which highlights his care for our community. At the time, he was the Chair of the Patient Care Council (PCC), their focus is to advise staff and families on issues related to both treatment and education.

One of the Smile Makers – Thomas J. Vergo, Jr., D.D.S.

Dr. Tom Vergo had treated patients with ectodermal dysplasias his entire career. Yet, the first time he came to an NFED National Family Conference and saw a room filled with people affected by the conditions, from the cradle to the elderly, he was taken aback.

“It gave me a whole different view of my patients,” Dr. Vergo said. “It blew me away.”

Dr. Tom Vergo started volunteering for the NFED in 1999 but his interest in the ectodermal dysplasias goes back 30 years to his prosthodontics residency. He treated two patients affected by dentinogenesis imperfect, which is treated nearly the same as ectodermal dysplasias.

“That’s when I got interested…once I knew that I could do it,” Dr. Vergo said. Since then, he’s treated more than 50 patients affected by ectodermal dysplasias and continues to do so.

How He Helped

He started as a NFED volunteer on the Treatment Fund Committee in 1999, reviewing applications. From there, he was a part of the national dental team that the NFED convened to write the Parameters of Oral Health Care for Individuals Affected by the Ectodermal Dysplasia Syndromes.

That one meeting is probably the highlight so far of my volunteer career with NFED. As dentists, we took a multi-disciplinary approach and worked toward just one goal: advancing treatment of ectodermal dysplasias.

– Dr. Vergo

Dr. Vergo has been an incredible volunteer for the NFED. He’s lectured numerous times on treating the ectodermal dysplasias at professional symposia and at Family Conferences. Currently, he’s the chair of the Patient Care Council which oversees all of the NFED’s treatment initiatives. As part of his role on the Council, Dr. Vergo reaches out to dentists who are providing care to patients requesting funding assistance. Dr. Vergo will discuss alternative treatment options and give ideas when applicable.

“Our conversations are about how we can best benefit the patient,” he said. “We try to improve their chewing, phonetics but especially their self-assurance.”

Dr. Vergo retired from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 2004 as a Professor Emeritus after 29 years of service. Yet, he continues part-time practice at The Dental Group at Post Office Square in Boston, Massachusetts and Emirzian, Mariano & Associates in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. And, of course, he works for the NFED, too! He’s always willing and happy to help advise staff on treatment issues and we love that!

When I’d teach students, I’d tell them, ‘You are a privileged group of people who have a degree by your name. You should give back.’ How I give back is by helping patients with ectodermal dysplasias; so naturally, NFED is very important to me.

– Dr. Vergo

Thank You, Dr. Vergo

The NFED was very blessed to have Dr. Vergo as an advisor, supporter and friend. He was loved by the NFED staff and families, and we are grateful for his contributions.

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