Ohio State Dental Journal

Reflecting on Two Remarkable Careers

With a combined 61-plus years of service at the College of Dentistry, pediatric dentists Paul Casamassimo, DDS, MS, and Dennis McTigue, DDS, MS, have become ingrained into the very fabric of the college. Close friends since they were residents together at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry, their contributions to the dental students and residents they have educated and the patients they have served — and, by extension, to the patients their students have served — have been immeasurable. Following their recent retirements, Drs. Casamassimo and McTigue shared memories of their careers and their plans for the future:

Q: How did you end up working at the College of Dentistry?

Paul Casamassimo: I came to Ohio State to work with my best friend, Denny McTigue. He needed someone to run the hospital department and residency in pediatric dentistry, and the chance to work together was a dream come true. (Dr. Casamassimo went on to succeed Dr. McTigue as Chair of the Division of Pediatric Dentistry in 1991).

Dennis McTigue: I came here from the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry in 1984, succeeding Dr. Don Bowers as Chair of the Division of Pediatric Dentistry.

Q: What are some significant changes you’ve seen at the college over the years?

PC: The big change was getting us out of the college and into Ohio communities with good care and the message that oral health matters! Today, no dental school remains an island, and we were out there early and with force. Another change was the inclusion of special needs in our curriculum. Ohio State remains one of only a handful of dental schools offering hands-on care for persons with special needs.

DM: The greatest change I’ve seen in the college in the almost 33 years I’ve been here has been the recruitment of a broad and diverse group of faculty from all over the United States and the world. This rich mix of talent has enhanced our didactic and clinical curricula at all levels of instruction. Another wonderful change has been the steady improvement in our clinical facilities with the exciting anticipation of a new clinic in the near future.

Q: What are some of your best memories of working at Ohio State and the College of Dentistry?

PC: It has to be the people. Even in a huge institution, “like” people tend to find one another and become friends. My fellow chairs, my faculty colleagues, the dental assisting and clerical staff are all favorites, and there are too many stories to tell.

DM: My best memories are of the outstanding students, staff and faculty that I’ve been privileged to work with here at Ohio State. I’ve had the opportunity to teach some of the brightest and most dedicated students who are now providing excellent care to their patients all over the country.  That is very gratifying. The staff that I worked with in a variety of positions in the college have been top notch and made my jobs much easier and more enjoyable. I also treasure the experiences that I had treating children in the Dental Faculty Practice. I had the opportunity to treat several generations of patients in many families, and the friendships that I made with them will endure.

Q: What are you looking forward to in retirement?

PC: I want to relax, move into different spheres of public policy related to children’s health, continue to do a little research and publishing with faculty and residents, spend more time at home with my wife and family — a lot to look forward to in retirement on personal and professional levels.

DM: I am continuing to teach on a part-time basis and enjoy that very much. My wife and I are spending much more time with our grandchildren and are finally finding the time to visit places that have been on our “bucket list” for years. I look forward to spending more time doing my hobby of woodworking and tinkering with my ’53 Chevy pickup!