With the death of Dr. Craig A. Andreiko on Sunday, August 25, 2013, the orthodontic profession lost a gifted innovator who transformed orthodontics. His career at Ormco Corporation spanned 43 years, lastly as Technical Director, New Product Development. He was 63 years old.
With 74 assigned or pending patents, Craig's inventions are mainstays in today's orthodontic practices: anatomically-based arch forms, early light-force wires, braided archwires and brazed mesh for weld-free pads on direct-bonded brackets.
Brazed mesh so greatly improved bond strength that clinicians felt comfortable switching from banded to fully bonded brackets. According to Dr. David Sarver, "Eliminating bands meant we could treat crowding without having to account for the 7mm or so of space that bands created, expanding exponentially the option for treating cases in a nonextraction manner. Mesh was a game changer and it was Craig's vision that made it happen."
He also invented Orthos®/Titanium Orthos® and Insignia™ Advanced Smile Design™, a comprehensive digital treatment solution with customized brackets, wires and placement trays. He was intimately involved in early lingual appliances, the T.A.R.G. setup method and the development of the rhomboid shape for brackets. He revolutionized heart therapy by writing the code for and developing a catheter for Edwards Lifesciences.
Vicente Reynal, Ormco President, witnessed Craig's value firsthand saying, "I feel honored to have worked alongside such an amazing person. I will never forget brainstorming new technological advances. More importantly, I will never forget how incredibly humble he was. I know that Craig's spirit and determination will always be with us."
After receiving his dental and orthodontic education at Loma Linda University (LLU), Craig served as assistant clinical professor there from 1994. Dr. Joseph Caruso, Chair of the Orthodontic Department at LLU, reminisces that, "Craig's resident research project was to fully understand the shape and position of the upper second bicuspid from which he could construct ideal positions of all teeth, then determine arch form and fit to design appliances and wires to deliver the ideal result. These steps eventually led to Insignia. He saw what others didn't see and created what others couldn't create."
Craig was a formidable character, generous with his talents and time as a mentor. Long-time friend, Dr. Jim Hilgers said, "I know people talk about his brilliance and he was, indeed, brilliant. What I appreciated most was that he treated residents with care and concern. He loved them. He was truly what teaching and sharing are all about."
His aptitude for being an idea machine permeated both his personal and professional lives. According to Dr. Steve Tracey, "He was brilliant yet practical—whether the work was for an orthodontic appliance, a surround sound system that could push you back against your chair or a shower head that could generate enough pressure to take the skin off your back."
Dr. Larry White, clinician and past editor of the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics, had this to say: "My friend Craig had the passionate intensity of a pioneering savant that fueled his imagination and creativity and which, subsequently, resulted in a myriad of inventions that benefited us all. I will miss Craig's authentic friendship, sagacity and wit and will forever remain chastened by the dimension of the void he has left."
Dan Even, former Ormco President and Danaher President and Group Executive remarked, "Craig's type of genius comes around rarely. He was a true forward thinker. The profession has lost a treasure and, more importantly, a dedicated, passionate and humble friend."
Dr. Steve Tracey's sentiments summed up the general consensus of opinions about Craig, "The thing I admired most about him was his selflessness. Of all the amazing things he did, I never saw him worry about getting credit. I could relate countless stories of his generosity that few people will ever know. He was a giant in the profession whose intellectual capacity was only matched by the size of his heart. I feel blessed to have known him and called him friend."
Dr. Andreiko was the author of numerous research studies and papers and had been inducted into Omicron Kappa Upsilon in 2010. A PADI Master Scuba Diver who produced underwater adventure videos, his recent expedition was a scientific one with the New England Aquarium, Woods Hole and Scripps oceanic institutes to measure the health of the ocean and look for Amelia Earhart's plane (no find). Craig is survived by his wife of 39 years, Jean; son, David; daughter, Sarah; father, Andy, former President of Ormco; brother, Scott; and sister, Jody. A celebration of Craig's life will be held in late September. Charitable gifts can be made to the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Office of Development, 1441 Eastlake Avenue, Room 8302, Los Angeles, CA 90033.