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Oral and maxillofacial specialty group celebrates its centennial

September 03, 2018

By Michelle Manchir

Photo of the Auditorium Hotel in 1918
Inaugural: A group of exodontists, later becoming the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, held its first meeting in Chicago in 1918 at the Auditorium Hotel.
In August of 1918, 29 exodontists from around the country gathered at a hotel Chicago, signing a charter and launching what's known today as the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

This year, the association boasts more than 9,000 members and will celebrate its 100th anniversary during its annual meeting scheduled for Oct. 8-13 in Chicago, according to a news release.

"We will celebrate the rich history of our association and the oral and maxillofacial surgery specialty," said the association's president, Dr. Brett Ferguson.

After their first momentous meeting in Chicago, the group became known as the American Society of Exodontists, later becoming the American Society of Oral Surgeons and Exodontists, then the American Society of Oral Surgeons and finally, in 1978, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the group said in a statement.

The AAOMS sent the ADA News some notable milestones from the last century.

  • In 1918, Dr. Menifee Howard contacted other exodontists about the need for an oral surgery organization to benefit the specialty and serve the public, which led to the Aug. 6 meeting that year in Chicago. The first initiation fee for the group was $10, while annual dues were $5.
  • The association's first annual meeting that included education was held in 1920, where participants heard presentations on "Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen" and "Higher Standards of Ethics in the Exodontia Specialty," among others.
  • In 1934, the annual meeting included a seminar on using intravenous agents such as sodium thiopental, following years of discussions focusing on inhalation of general anesthesia.
  • In 1942, the American Society of Oral Surgeons and Exodontists canceled its annual meeting for the only time in its history, "as the nation focused on World War II."
  • At the 1961 American Society of Oral Surgeons Annual Meeting, the House of Delegates became the organization's legislative body.
  • In 1994, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons House of Delegates voted unanimously that oral and maxillofacial surgery is and always will remain a specialty of dentistry. In 1997, the ADA adopted a new definition of dentistry that includes oral and maxillofacial surgery.

In honor of the AAOMS' centennial, its October annual meeting will offer a historical review as part of nine different educational tracks based on the oral and maxillofacial scope of practice. The tracks include anesthesia; cosmetic and orthognathic surgery; dental implants; dentoalveolar; head and neck oncology; pediatrics and cleft; reconstruction; temporomandibular joint; and trauma.

For more information about the meeting or the organization, visit