Oregon's State Capitol Exhibits 100 Years of Dental School History

11/06/99    Salem, Ore.

A proclamation by Oregon's Gov. John Kitzhaber is just one of many pieces featured in Oregon Health Sciences University's School of Dentistry's historical exhibit presented in the Capitol's galleria starting Nov. 5. The governor proclaimed November 1999 as OHSU's School of Dentistry Centennial History Month in recognition of the school's 100th anniversary celebration. This year the school is celebrating its centennial with a traveling display of its accomplishments and other historical artifacts.

The oldest features of the display are ivory dentures carved by Oregon dentist Alfred Colling and dental instruments from John Pike Gage, who was the founder and first dentist in Stafford. Both practiced in Oregon in the mid-1800s. The saddlebag of one of these early dentists contains an array of antique instruments. Other historical dental memorabilia include an antique ornate dental traveling kit; ivory and mother-of-pearl dental instruments from the 19th century; antique ceramic tooth paste and powder dishes; and Gage's daily ledger (opened to the year Oregon's dental school opened, 1899). Major technological advances such as a high-speed hand drill with major improvements made by Oregonians will be featured in the display. Another technological advancement made at the school that became the standard worldwide was the development of the longer-lasting high copper-silver amalgam.

One of the accomplishments the dental school is most proud of is the contributions it's made to the dental health of Oregon in the last 100 years. Photos and descriptions of its various outreach clinics will be exhibited. Some of the clinics such as the Russell Street Clinic in Portland, Northwest Medical Teams' Dental Unit and OHSU's Area Health Education Centers provide dental care to the underserved around the state. Another primary mission of the school is prevention. Students in the dental hygiene program travel to elementary schools teaching young children how to take good care of their mouths.

Biographies about notable alumni such as actor Edgar Buchanan (from the TV show Petticoat Junction), William TenPas and the ambassador of Malta, Kathy Haycock Proffitt will also be available.

The School of Dentistry's historical exhibit will be located at the State Capitol's galleria from Nov. 5 - 27. The capitol building is open Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday 12 - 4 p.m. This year Oregon's only dental school is celebrating 100 years of clinical excellence in dentistry and dental education. OHSU's School of Dentistry is proud of its national reputation for producing outstanding clinical dentists who pass their board exams with some of the highest scores in the country.

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: J. Henry Clarke, D.M.D., professor emeritus of OHSU's School of Dentistry has spent months collecting and researching the historical artifacts and information for the display. He is available for interviews and can describe pieces in the display. To arrange, please call Christine Long at 494-8231.