Periodontics History

The specialty of periodontics in the State of Ohio dates back to the early Twentieth Century with Gillette Hayden who graduated from the Ohio Medical University (later to become The Ohio State University College of Dentistry) in 1902. She was the great-granddaughter of Horace Hayden, one of the founders of the first dental college in Baltimore, and she gained fame for her achievements in periodontics over an unfortunately short career in dentistry. After entering practice in Columbus in 1903, she became involved in the promotion of the field of oral prophylaxis and in 1914 had the vision to form a national society associated with this area of periodontia called The American Academy of Periodontology. As one of the founders of the AAP, she also served as the President in 1916. In recognition of her contributions to the Academy, the Journal of Periodontology was dedicated to her memory "…for her pioneer efforts and selfless devotion in behalf of periodontia and the American Academy of Periodontology." We are fortunate to have in our departmental library bound volumes number 1 through 23 of the Journal which are inscribed in her memory.

Gillette Hayden
Gillette Hayden

The postdoctoral program in advanced periodontics at OSU has always been a combination of clinical training with graduate education. As the oldest continuously operating periodontal graduate program in the nation, it has been responsible for educating not only quality clinicians but also nationally and internationally renown academicians. Dr. John R. Wilson who was Chair of the Department of Periodontology, formally initiated the program in 1949. This feat was impressive considering that the American Dental Association had only a few months earlier recognized periodontics as a specialty. With this recognition of periodontics, Dr. Wilson quickly realized that the specialty would require a formal education process and that apprenticeships would no longer be acceptable for the health and growth of the specialty. Dr. William P. Engleman was the first student to matriculate and graduate with both a certificate and M.S. degree. As was the custom for training at that time, it was considered adequate for the periodontal education of post-graduate students to be only one-year in duration. In 1957 the program became two years in duration due to the increased emphasis upon specialty training education. Over an 11 year period, John, who was both the Chair (1949-1965) and Program Director (1949-1960) in a small Department, was able to provide a quality periodontal education not only for dental students but also for the advanced periodontal education students. In his tenure as Chair, he was responsible for the education of 48 periodontists, 42 who received their Masters Degree, 1 who received a PhD and 8 who became boarded by the American Board of Periodontology. From this group of periodontists, Professor Wilson influenced many students who later became leaders in academics; some of these individuals included Billy Pennel, Pete Fedi, George App, Gerry Bowers, Tim Moore and Bob Ferris.

As John Wilson became more involved in the administration of the College of Dentistry, he had less time to manage the graduate program and named two different program directors. The first program director of the advanced education program in periodontics appointed by Dr. Wilson was Dr. William V. Walton, Jr. (1960-1963). Professor Walton was a notable man with a large white mustache for which he was nicknamed "The Walrus". He also had lost his index finger to cancer since for many years previously he had held radiographic film in patients' mouths while exposing the film using x-rays. On the academic side, William Walton was highly recognized as the designer of the first impression-molded latex mouthpiece made in 1956. Derivatives of this are widely used today in the sports field to prevent injuries to the teeth and jaws. Also, he had apprenticed in Periodontics with Dr. Gillette Hayden as was customary to receive training during the early 1900's.

Dr. John Wilson
Dr. John Wilson

In 1963, Dr. Charles Conroy (1963-1966) returned from the University of Texas Dental School in Houston where he had trained in periodontics and was appointed by John Wilson to replace Professor Walton and lead the graduate periodontal program. He previously had trained in oral pathology at Ohio State prior to moving to Houston. Charlie brought to the program hospital and anesthesia training and established basic science training tracks for periodontal students to gain graduate school credit toward advanced degrees. He also conducted numerous continuing education courses in periodontics for many general practitioners within the state. These often were combined or ended with hunting and fishing expeditions as he was an avid sportsman. Charlie also conducted extensive plaque and stain studies for a major toothpaste company as well as having a private practice in Columbus.

When Dr. Wilson was selected as the Dean of the OSU College of Dentistry, Dr. George App (1965-1977) was appointed as the Chair of Periodontology to become one of the youngest periodontists in the nation at the time to be named to lead a major department. Due to differences in educational philosophy, Charles Conroy stepped down as the Program Director and Dr. App assumed his position as the fourth Program Director in 1966. George was extremely knowledgeable in occlusal therapy and an expert in diagnosing and treating patients with temporomandibular joint dysfunction and myofascial pain. George also emphasized the "5 x 5" oral hygiene technique (brush each tooth 5 times, five times a day), using a 2 x 6 hard toothbrush which was in vogue at that time. George was also noted for designing the "App flap", and also was one of the early investigators of hydroxyapatite and plaster of paris for augmenting bone defects. During his tenure he established the Periodontal Disease Research and Training Fund which supports the advanced education in periodontics program. George was a "lover" of big Oldsmobile automobiles as well as his "farm" in Hamilton to where he eventually retired. At his retirement, he was honored by the alumni with the establishment of an endowed fund in his name, the interest from which supports activities for the periodontal residents. In his tenure as Chair, he was responsible for the education of 59 periodontists, 49 who received their Masters Degree, 1 who received a PhD and 9 who became boarded by the American Board of Periodontology.

Charles Conroy
Dr. Charles Conroy
Dr. George App
Dr. George App

In 1977, OSU dental Dean Charles Howel replaced Professor App with Dr. Leonard Ebel (1977-1980). Dr. Ebel was a previous graduate of the OSU advanced education program in periodontics ('73) and was currently a faculty member in the Department. As Chair of Periodontology, Leonard did two important things: 1) he emphasized and enhanced the predoctoral curriculum and, 2) he named Dr. Charles Solt (1977-1982) as the fifth Program Director. John Horton remembered Charlie as a jovial man who hailed from Bucyrus, the "only" place to buy "brats". Charlie was especially liked by the graduate students for his excellence in clinical teaching and also his literature review course. His literature review course became the foundation course in the program, spanning 5 quarters to first and second year students on a weekly basis, and consisting of a review of two different textbooks and up to 700 different scientific articles. Students were noted to spend hours studying for his course and examinations each quarter. Charlie studied periodontics at Tufts University under the tutelage of Dr. Irving Glickman and was known to be one of his strong disciples. Charlie also conducted some of the early work on guided tissue regeneration evaluations. In 2005, alumni came together to donate money for the dedication of the Charles Solt Periodontal Library. In his tenure as Chair, Professor Ebel was responsible for the education of 13 periodontists, 7 who received their Masters Degree and 4 who became boarded by the American Board of Periodontology.

When William Wallace was appointed interim Dean of the College of Dentistry in 1980, he decided to increase the research activity of the College and instituted a national search for a new Chair of Periodontology. While the search was progressing, Dr. William Myers, Chair of Endodontics, was named as the interim Chair of the Department of Periodontology until the new, permanent Chair could be named. In 1981, Dr. John E. Horton (1981-1995) was named as the fourth Chair of the Department of Periodontology. John had conducted research on the immunopathophysiology of periodontal disease at the National Institutes of Health (NIDR), Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Harvard Dental School prior to coming to OSU, and was one of the discoverers of "osteoclast activating factor which proved later to be IL-I, a cytokine. Additionally he was an advocate for ultrasonic instrumentation and researched its use for the surgical removal of bone. John was a retired Colonel from the U.S. Army Dental Corps prior to his academic career. In 1982, he assumed the direction of the advanced education from Professor Solt and changed the program from two to three years in 1983 when most of the programs in the nation were still two years. John built on the previous strengths of the program by mandating an advanced degree (M.S./Ph.D.) prior to the student receiving their Certificate in Periodontics. He also continued to recruit students to pursue Ph.D. degrees in basic sciences and encouraged students to select alternative Masters degree educational programs in education, business administration and public policy. During this period the basic sciences were emphasized, but not to the exclusion of clinical training wherein the students experienced classic periodontal therapeutic procedures. In his tenure as Chair, he was responsible for the education of 55 periodontists, 43 who received their Masters Degree, 2 who received a PhD and 6 who became boarded by the American Board of Periodontology. When Professor Horton stepped down as Chair of the Department of Periodontology in 1995, Dr. John Walters, an OSU periodontal professor, was named as the interim Chair.

Leondard Ebel
Dr. Leondard Ebel
Charles Solt
Dr. Charles Solt
John Horton
Dr. John Horton

Following a year long national search, Dr. Angelo Mariotti (1996-2022), was named as the fifth Chair of the Department of Periodontology. Ang was the first Chair to have a both a dental degree and a PhD in the basic sciences (pharmacology). Following his specialty training from Virginia Commonwealth University, he became the Program Director at the University of Florida and used these experiences to build on the previous strengths of the postdoctoral program while augmenting the clinical training of both predoctoral and postdoctoral students at OSU. In the postdoctoral program, he amplified the experiences in guided tissue regeneration and implant therapy and initiated guided bone regeneration for patient care. To ensure treatment consistency, he hired Dr. Leo Kupp (1997-2000), an OSU dental graduate with a PhD in immunology and specialty training from Virginia Commonwealth University to be the Program Director. Leo was a strong supporter of graduate education and significantly increased the quantity and quality of implant placement, intravenous sedation and guided bone regeneration. In the predoctoral program, Ang named a standing faculty member with extensive teaching experience, Dr. Lewis Claman (1998-2009), as director of the predoctoral clinic. During Dr. Claman's tenure, clinical competency in periodontics with decision making were emphasized while clinical skills in periodontics were improved. In 2000, Professor Kupp left OSU for private practice and a year long national search lead to the hiring of a talented, clinician-scientist, Dr. Dimitris Tatakis (2004-present) as the clinic director. Dr. Tatakis received his specialty education and a PhD in oral biology from the State University of New York in Buffalo. Dimitris maintained the clinical experiences of the postdoctoral students, augmented their opportunities to do clinical research, improved the credentials of the matriculating students and increased the clinical revenues of the program. In 2004, Dr. Tatakis was boarded by the American Board of Periodontology and was named the 9th Program Director. During the tenure of Dr. Mariotti as Chair, the involvement of periodontal alumni with the Department was strengthened via improved communication through publications, such as The Cutting Edge, and consistent alumni events. As a result of alumni participation, an unprecedented period of remodeling within Postle Hall resulted in a new postdoctoral periodontal clinic, a kitchen/preparation room, a conference room, a resident room and a library. All of the periodontal educational changes in the Department have led to the predoctoral students receiving high scores on national periodontal examinations and regional clinical examinations, while the number of publications by postdoctoral students and those students who have become Diplomates has risen dramatically. As of 2006, Professor Mariotti has been responsible for the education of 39 periodontists, 39 who received their Masters Degree, 2 who received a PhD and 28 who became boarded by the American Board of Periodontology.

Angelo Mariotti
Dr. Angelo Mariotti

Since 1949, our residents have achieved phenomenal success during their time as students as well as following graduation. OSU periodontal students have received honors for research by being Orban Competition finalists and winner; awardees in the Graduate Student Research Forum of the Midwest Society of Periodontists, Saul Kamen Scientific Report Award sponsored by the American Society for Geriatric Dentistry, American Association for Dental Research Hatton Award, and the Hatton Award by the International Association for Dental Research; recipients of the Pursell-Heibert Award from the Ohio Dental Association, and Research Fellows by the Alpha Omega Foundation; First Place Graduate Table Clinic Award winners sponsored by the OSU Dental Alumni Association and Research Fellowships sponsored by the Cincinnati Insurance Company and the American Cancer Society. Not to be outdone by honors for research endeavors, our graduate students also have received awards for scholastic achievement which include election to Phi Kappa Phi, the OSU Graduate School Honor Society; the Golden Key National Honor Society from the OSU School of Business and the Phi Beta Delta International Honor Society. This high degree of achievement has been maintained following graduation which has been substantiated by thriving private practices, successful academic careers in teaching and research (e.g., professors and Chairs of periodontology), outstanding work in the armed forces (e.g., Surgeon General of the Air Force) and exceptional service for organized dentistry (e.g., presidents of the American Dental Association, State Dental Associations, American Academy of Periodontology, Ohio Academy of Periodontolgy and Columbus Academy of Periodontology). It is obvious that our periodontal educational programs have a rich and outstanding history in research endeavors and scholastic honors, as well as training some of the finest periodontists in the world.

Dimitris Tatakis
Dr. Dimitris Tatakis


Postdoctoral Program Directors

Predoctoral Program Directors

John Wilson (1949 – 1965)

John Wilson (1949 – 1960)

William Walton (1960 – 1963)

Charles Conroy (1963 – 1966)

George App (1965 – 1977)

Charles Conroy (1963 – 1966)

George App (1966 – 1977)

Leonard Ebel (1977 – 1980)

Charles Solt (1977 – 1982)     

William Myers (iterim:1980 – 1981)

Charles Solt (1977 – 1982)    

John Horton (1981 – 1995)

Charles Solt (1977 – 1982)

John Horton (1982 – 1997)

John Walters (interim:1995 – 1996)

John Horton (1982 – 1997)     

Angelo Mariotti (1996 – 2022)

John Horton (1982 – 1997)

Leo Kupp (1997-2000)

Angelo Mariotti (2000 - 2004)

Dimitris Tatakis (2004 - present)

Lewis Claman (1998 – 2009)

Hua-Hong (Ben) Chien (2009 - present)

Binnaz Leblebicioglu (interim: 2022-present)

Dimitris Tatakis (2004 – present)

Inaugural Full-Time Periodontal Faculty (1949)

Dr. John Wilson
Dr. John R. Wilson AB, DDS ('42)
Arthur Luckhart
Arthur E. "Lucky: Luckhart DDS ('22)

50th Anniversary Full Time Periodontal Faculty (1999)

Group picture of 50th anniversary full time periodontal faculty
First Row (L-R): Walters, Claman, Mariotti, Marucha, O'Neil. Second Row (L-R): Brumfield, Horton, Kupp, Hefti, Preshaw, Solt
  • Lewis Claman, DDS, MS ('71)
  • John Horton DDS, MS
  • Arthur Hefti DDS, PD
  • Leo Kupp DDS ('87), PhD
  • Angelo Mariotti BS, DDS, PhD
  • Phillip Marucha DDS, PhD
  • Joseph O'Neil DDS, MS
  • Philip Preshaw BDS, PhD
  • Charles Solt DDS ('59), MS
  • John Walters DDS, MS

Dental Emergency Care Clinic

7:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

7:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.

Student Dental Clinics

8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Ohio State Dental Faculty Practice

7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Upper Arlington Dental Clinic

7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.