History Of The Program

Gaston John Gaston Hospital, circa 1936

Established in Nashville, Tennessee in 1878 and relocated to Memphis in 1913, the University of Tennessee School of Dentistry is the 3rd oldest public college of dentistry in the United States and the oldest continuously operating dental school in the South.

The oral surgery residency program at UT found its beginnings in the 1940’s under the guidance of Dr. John Jones Ogden. Dr. Ogden graduated from UT dental school in 1916 and later, after serving in the U.S. Army Dental Corps during World War I, became the first dentist in Tennessee to limit his practice to oral surgery. Dr. Ogden served intermittently as a professor of surgery at UT and is recognized today as the first oral surgery residency program director at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Ogden was a fellow of the American Society of Oral Surgeons, a Vice President of the American Dental Association, and in 1932 served as President of the Tennessee State Dental Association. He is also well known as the designer of the parallel forceps used in the extraction of anterior teeth.

Rogers Rogers Hall U.T. College of Dentistry 1913-1949

Dr. Julius Roy Bourgoyne served as the chairman of the UT oral surgery department from 1948 until 1959. He received his dental degree from Loyola University in 1941 and later completed an oral surgery residency program at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Bourgoyne brought his hospital based training with him to Tennessee and transformed the surgery curriculum at UT from little more than an advanced exodontia program to a comprehensive hospital based residency. Under his direction, the program was lengthened in 1954 from 2 to 3 years and standardized to include anesthesia, exodontia, pathology, trauma, medicine, and general surgery training. Hospital operating room privileges were first granted to the UT oral surgery program by John Gaston Hospital with Baptist and Methodist hospitals soon following suit. These developments opened the doors for the oral surgery program to practice and perform true oral and maxillofacial surgery as we know it today. The oral surgery residency program advances that took place under Dr. Bourgoyne led to board eligibility in 1961.

It was in this same year, 1961, that Dr. Lloyd C. Templeton stepped in as chairman of the oral surgery department and program director of the oral surgery residency program. During his tenure, Dr. Templeton continued to advance the specialty of oral surgery and added a second resident position to the program. Dr. Templeton held the position of director until 1965 and that of chairman until 1966.

U.T. College of Dentistry Building 1949-1977 U.T. College of Dentistry Building 1949-1977

Dr. Joe Hall Morris became director of the oral and maxillofacial surgery program in 1965 and chairman of the oral surgery department in 1966. Dr. Morris graduated from the University of Tennessee, College of Dentistry in 1945 and received his training in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Tennessee. He then went on to serve as an oral surgeon in the U.S. Army at Fort Benning, Georgia from 1951 to 1953. Throughout his career Dr. Morris contributed immensely as an inventor and contributor to the biomechanical aspects of oral and maxillofacial surgery. He is best known for his development of the Bi-Phase External Fixation Splint and the Orthognathic Surgery Simulating Instrument (OSSI). These two contributions have been well represented in the literature and have had a significant impact on both the fields of maxillofacial trauma and orthognathics.

In 1977 Dr. Morris oversaw the physical transition of the oral surgery program to its current home within the Winfield Dunn College of Dentistry. Additionally, in 1983 the Regional Medical Center at Memphis opened along with the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center. These new facilities brought with them additional opportunities for surgical experience, so much so, that additional resident positions had to be added to keep pace with the surgical work loads. Dr. Morris continued as the department chairman until 1988 when Dr. Jim E. Albright accepted the position.

Dr. Albright completed his dental school training at the University of Tennessee in 1963. Upon completion of his dental training Dr. Albright accepted a commission as a dental officer in the U.S. Navy and completed his oral and maxillofacial surgery training at Bethesda Naval Hospital in 1973. He served on active duty until 1974 and as a reserve officer until his retirement at the rank of Captain in 1990. Dr Albright then served as the director of the oral surgery residency program from 1978 to 1988, at which time he accepted the position of department chairman. In his first year as chairman, Dr Albright added a fourth year to the oral surgery residency program bringing the total number of resident positions to its current tally of eight. In 1997, after 19 years as program director and 10years as department chairman, Dr. Albright stepped down and turned the department chair over to Dr. Ben R. Hipp who served as the oral surgery department chairman until 2001.

Winfield Dunn College of Dentistry 1977 - Present
Winfield Dunn College of Dentistry 1977 - Present

Today, the University of Tennessee Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery department is chaired by Dr. Lawrence Weeda. Dr. Weeda received his D.D.S. from the University of Missouri at Kansas City in 1974 and, like several of his predecessors, went on to accept a commission in the U.S. military. In 1984, he completed his oral and maxillofacial surgery training at Portsmouth Naval Hospital and continued to serve as a surgeon in the Navy until his retirement in 1988. As department chairman, Dr. Weeda has continued to develop and improve the training and education of both dental students and oral surgery residents alike. In 2003, an optional MD degree training track was approved for those graduating surgery residents interested in additional medical education and experience. Most recently, the department installed a state-of-the-art cone beam CT unit allowing for the use of three-dimensional computed tomography image reconstructions in CT guided implant and bone graft treatment planning and placement.

The University of Tennessee Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery department has always been on the forefront of innovation. From the historical invention of the parallel forceps to today’s use of three-dimensional computed tomography, the University of Tennessee has and will remain on the cutting edge of oral and maxillofacial surgery.