Ray White

Six Decades and Still Going Strong

Dr. Raymond P. White is a respected researcher and long time donor.

White, RayAfter six decades in the specialty, Dr. Raymond P. White, Jr. still says, “I am extremely happy to be an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.” His career, which started as an interest in biological systems in the 1960s, has evolved into a distinguished tenure of leadership and clinical research.

He adds, “I am fortunate to have had a rewarding academic career.” An internationally-known research investigator and presenter, Dr. White is the Dalton L. McMichael Distinguished Professorship of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Dentistry. He served as Dean there 1974 to 1981.

Among many awards, he is also the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award given by American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) and the OMS Foundation Torch Award, Research Recognition Award and Daniel M. Laskin Award.

One of the highlights of his career is his role as the Principal Investigator for the Third Molar Clinical Trials, a series of clinical studies designed to improve third molar treatment.

In 1998, the AAOMS and the OMS Foundation funded the Multicenter Trial of Third Molar Patient Management with an initial pledge of $2 million over five years. Funding from the OMS Foundation continued until 2012. Total support for the Third Molar Study from the OMS Foundation was $1.4 million.

The Third Molar Clinical Trials was the umbrella project aimed at generating data on management of patients with asymptomatic third molars. Results from this study have significantly impacted the oral and maxillofacial surgery specialty. The studies produced strong evidence that even asymptomatic unerupted and partly erupted third molar teeth may have significant bacterial colonization with periodontal pathogens and associated periodontal pathology.

The study has generated more than 130 peer reviewed abstracts and papers. In addition, at least three OMS residents have won Straumann awards for their papers based on data from the Third Molar Clinical Trials.

Dr. White says it is difficult for clinical faculty to get National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. OMS Foundation funding for research, therefore, is critical to advancing the specialty. “The OMS Foundation is a major funding source for the specialty,” says Dr. White.

Early on he was inspired by specialty leaders Drs. Phillip Fleuchaus, Gerald Laboda, Markell Kohn, and James Kelly to donate to the OMS Foundation. “Their vision had a huge role in moving the Foundation forward,” Dr. White says. He was also inspired by Dr. James A. Davis, Jr.’s vision of dramatically increasing the OMS Foundation’s financial base to enable research funding for multiple years.

He has been a donor to the OMS Foundation since 1990. In addition to annual gifts, Dr. White is a member of the Robert V. Walker Society.

“I appreciate what the OMS Foundation has done,” he says. “It’s important to our future as a specialty.”