The Dr. Waldemar Brehm and Dr. Leonard Carapezza Continuing Education Lectureship of the Early Treatment of Malocclusion in Pediatric Dentistry Endowed Fund

A new gift expands the fund’s name, celebrates friendships, and advances innovative practice
Leonard Carapezza speaking on a podium with the Tufts University Logo
Leonard Carapezza, D.M.D.
Headshot of Dr. Waldemar Brehm
Waldemar Brehm, D.D.S.

Early in his career, in 1972, Leonard Carapezza, D.M.D., clinical associate professor at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM), read an article by Lawrence F. Andrews, D.D.S., that would change his career, and the fields of pediatric dentistry and orthodontics. The article, "The Six Keys to Normal Occlusion," was the catalyst for a revolutionary new orthodontic method called the straight-wire approach that was adaptable to early treatment and guidance of the teeth during eruption, rather than forceful moving and extraction of permanent teeth later. As Carapezza explains, this process takes advantage of natural biological processes to address malocclusion.

As Carapezza’s skills in this method grew, he met Waldemar Brehm, D.D.S., a pioneer in the field of early orthodontic treatment. Together, Brehm and Carapezza helped to make the straight-wire approach, and its underlying principles elucidated by Andrews’s 1972 article, the gold standard in orthodontic care. In the process, they became dear friends.

“Walt was my mentor and a second father to me,” Carapezza says. This spring, Carapezza made a significant gift to The Dr. Waldemar Brehm Lectureship Fund, originally established in 2008 by Mrs. Caryl Brehm in memory of her husband. Carapezza’s name will be added to the fund, expanding its impact, and he hopes the fund can continue to offer dental professionals the same “epiphany” that he and Brehm experienced regarding the benefits of early treatment.

Shaping a culture of collaboration

Carapezza, who describes himself proudly as “a Medford kid,” earned his D.M.D. from Rutgers University and completed his postdoctoral training at Harvard University (Boston Children’s Hospital). In 1974, George White, D.D.S., Ph.D., professor emeritus at TUSDM and past chair of the department of pediatric dentistry, invited Carapezza to join the faculty; he went on to teach at TUSDM for nearly 50 years, retiring in 2024.

“What I’m most proud of,” he notes, “is helping to change the culture” at TUSDM and in the field of dental medicine, enabling pediatric dentists and orthodontists to work in greater harmony. At the beginning of his career, general dentistry and orthodontics were “almost like oil and vinegar,” but in time, the benefits of early treatment became clear and his relationships with colleagues in the field of orthodontics, like the late Marcel Korn, D66, DG70, deepened into friendship, cooperation, and mutual respect. The goal is for all specialties to converge in a patient-centered approach that Carapezza calls “total pediatric care.” Tufts dental students today receive a training that reflects this philosophy, and he’s proud to have been a part of it. “During my career, orthodontics went from the modern age to the space age, and I got to be a pediatric dentist at the beginning of that.”

A legacy of friendship and innovative care

The familial connection between Brehm and Carapezza grew to include their spouses, children, and grandchildren. Carapezza recalls with emotion the day he received a call from Brehm’s son, Lindsay, informing him that his friend was in his last days and wished to see him. “I immediately flew to San Diego,” Carapezza says, “and we had a goodbye conversation. He passed away that day.”

For Lindsay Brehm, the expansion of the fund, and the addition Carapezza’s name, is very fitting. Like his father, the younger Brehm has worked in the field of orthodontics, on the business and entrepreneurial side, for decades. “Lenny and my dad were leaders in early treatment in orthodontics, and this fund reflects the love they both had for teaching and early treatment. Having that all connected to Tufts, where Lenny taught, is really satisfying for our family.” In Carapezza, the younger Brehm sees many of his father’s traits and values: “Lenny just loves his work, and he’s so committed to practice, teaching, and sharing his knowledge with others.” The Brehm and Carapezza Lectureship Fund represents a new link between their families, between pediatric dentistry and orthodontics, and most importantly, between Tufts-trained dental professionals past, present, and future.

For more information or to make a gift to The Brehm and Carapezza Lectureship Fund, please contact Kevin Driscoll by phone at 617-636-6792 or by email at, or visit