Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is now in its one hundred and forty-third year of continuous service at Mass General. During its illustrious lifespan, it has grown from a fledging dental unit to a leading destination for clinical excellence, breakthrough research, and training. To those who have trained and taught within its walls, there is an enduring connection to the history of the hospital as well as to the evoluation of oral and maxillofacial surgery as a specialty of dentistry and medicine. Its standing as a major force in defining and shaping oral and maxillofacial surgery results from the continous legacy of distinguished graduates who today serve as academic leaders, deans, outstanding clinicians, and researchers across the specialty.

A Distinguished History of Innovation, Excellence, and Quality Care

 

1846

First public demonstration of ether performed at Mass General when Dr. William T.C. Morton, a dentist, anesthetized a patient while Dr. Warren, senior surgeon, removed a tumor of the salivary gland.
1867
Establishment of Harvard Dental School adjacent to Mass General.
1868
Mass General Trustees report details the addition of a “Dental Service in connection with the Dental School of Harvard College”.
1872
Charles Wilson, DMD, appointed to office of ‘Dentist’ but soon requested that his title be changed to ‘Dental Surgeon’.
1893
Harvard Dental School moved into the old Medical School building on Fruit Street, allowing it to absorb the care of dental patients from the Mass General outpatient ‘Grey Ward’.  They were called the ‘Dental Infirmary of the Massachusetts General Hospital’.
1910
Harvard Dental School relocates to Longwood Avenue, requiring the reinstatement of a dental clinic in the Mass General out-patient department.  Dr. Leroy M.S. Miner, MD, DMD is among six Dental Surgeons assigned to the Out-Patient department.
1924
Dr. Miner named Chief of the Mass General Dental Service, serving also as Dean and Professor of Oral Surgery at Harvard Dental School.
1930
Only gradually of late years has the relation of the teeth to health been widely recognized, and the subject able to claim its position as a branch of medicine.”
--A. Laurence Lowell, President, Harvard University
1936
Dr. Leroy Miner appears on the July 23rd cover of Time Magazine as the President of the American Dental Association.  To this day, Dr. Miner is the only dentist ever to appear on the cover of Time.  The cover price of the issue was fifteen cents.
1937
First oral surgical intern, Dr. George H. Sweetnam
1943
Kurt H. Thoma, DMD, becomes chief of the ‘Dental Service’.  He was known chiefly as an oral pathologist, having authored the widely used ‘Textbook of Oral Pathology’.  During his tenure—which coincided with World War II—he expanded the practice to include jaw deformities, cysts and tumors, salivary stones, fractures and lacerations, ankylosis of the jaws, osteotomy for deformities of the jaws, and dento-alveolar surgery.
1944 Dr. Thoma publishes "Massachusetts General Hospital Dental
Clinic
."
1948
Mass General Trustees appoint David Weisberger, DMD, MD, Chief of the Dental Service.  The title of the service was changed to ‘The Dental Medicine Service’.
1950
A second internship was authorized for the service.
1959
First resident appointed.  Drs. Earle Rosenberg and J. Henry Stempien, who trained as residents under Dr. Weisberger, continue to this day to volunteer their time to work with Mass General residents.
1966
Dr. Walter Guralnick becomes Acting Chief of Service upon the untimely death of Dr. Weisberger. 
1967
Dr. Guralnick chosen by the ad hoc committee to serve as Chief of Service at Mass General and Professor and Chairman of the OMS Department at Harvard Dental School.  Guralnick recommends changing the service’s name to ‘Oral Surgery’.
1972
The first double-degree oral surgery training program was instituted:  Graduates of Harvard School of Dental Medicine who trained in oral surgery were allowed to return to Harvard Medical School to earn the MD degree in one year.  The program was limited (at this time) only to HSDM graduates.  First graduates of the double-degree program were Bruce Donoff, Steve Roser and Leonard Kaban.
1974
Dr. Kaban becomes head of a new division of oral surgery at Children’s and the Brigham under Dr. Joseph Murray, chief of plastic surgery.  This enabled the Mass General chief resident in oral surgery to rotate through these institutions to gain experience in both pediatric and craniofacial surgery—giving rise to a Harvard-wide oral surgery service, anchored by Mass General.
1979
The name of the service was changed to ‘Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery’ to reflect the expanded scope of the specialty and the work being done by the Mass General service.
1982
Bruce Donoff, DMD, MD selected chief of oral and maxillofacial surgery.  His major accomplishments included opening the double-degree program to non-HSDM graduates, introducing implants to the service, expanding the service to include Beth Israel, and increasing the number of residents from two to three per year.
1991
Walter Guralnick Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery was established as the first endowed chair at HSDM.  Dr. Donoff is appointed to the Guaralnick chair.
1992
Dr. Donoff becomes dean of HSDM.  Guralnick serves as deputy chief of the service for two years.
1994
Leonard B. Kaban, DMD, MD, FACS becomes chief of service and Walter C. Guralnick Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.  He establishes the Skeletal Biology Research Center.
1999
The six-year double-degree training program for oral and maxillofacial surgery is standardized, allowing equal access and uniform training for HSDM and non-HSDM graduates. 
2003
Kaban establishes the Education and Research Fund, to promote self-funded support and faculty mentoring for pilot programs and major research initiatives among Mass General residents, HSDM students, and junior faculty.
2004

Thirty-year report on double-degree OMS residency program published
in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

2005 Center for Applied Clinical Investigation is established.
2008
Division of Dentistry established within the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, with Agnes Lau, DMD, serving as chief of the division. 
2010 Dr. Walter Guralnick, Professor Emeritus, presents the 'History of OMS' to a
standing-room-only crowd in the history Ether Dome on.  In a poignant moment,
three chiefs of the service pose for a photograph in front of the famous
painting recreating the "First Demonstration of Ether". (9/1/2010)
2011

As Mass General celebrates its bicentennial, the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery completes one-hundred-forty-three years of continuous service to the hospital.  To this day, the department’s Grand Rounds are held twice monthly in the historic Ether Dome, recognizing the tradition of excellence and the legacy of innovation that are synonymous with oral and maxillofacial surgery at Mass General.

OMS alumni gather in record numbers in Boston to celebrate Mass General's Bicentennial with a weekend symposium and gala dinner in conjunction with the annual "change party" welcoming OMS residents Cory Resnick, Brad Williams, and Paul Gordon to the ranks of distinguished MGH OMS alumni.