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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 181-185

History of the Tamil Nadu Government Dental College and Hospital-Part 1 - “The birth of the glorious institution”

Former Principal, The Tamil Nadu Government Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission22-Nov-2021
Date of Decision27-Nov-2021
Date of Acceptance27-Nov-2021
Date of Web Publication20-Dec-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. K S Gamal Abdul Nasser
Prof. K. S. Gamal abdul Nasser.,MDS.,Ph.D., 153, Secretariat Colony, Kellys, Chennai - 600 010, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/srmjrds.srmjrds_93_21

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How to cite this article:
Gamal Abdul Nasser K S. History of the Tamil Nadu Government Dental College and Hospital-Part 1 - “The birth of the glorious institution”. SRM J Res Dent Sci 2021;12:181-5

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Gamal Abdul Nasser K S. History of the Tamil Nadu Government Dental College and Hospital-Part 1 - “The birth of the glorious institution”. SRM J Res Dent Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Feb 4];12:181-5. Available from:

This article that traces the roots of the prestigious Tamil Nadu Government Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, has been one of the most gratifying works of the author. As it is not possible to truncate the voluminous history into few pages, this article is split into two parts. The first part that is published in this issue speaks about this prestigious institution from its inception till the year 2006, up until the author took charge as the Principal of this institution. The second part, which will be published in the next issue, will talk about the rapid pace of developments that took place in leaps and bounds once the author became the Head of the Institution.

Let us now embark on a journey back into the timeline….

  Tracing the Roots of Dentistry Top

The History of Dentistry like any other cultural civilization of the human race has its beginning before the dawn of history. Ancient Indian Ayurveda literature contains many interesting observations on dental diseases and their treatment. Susrutha, the ancient Indian sage is universally acknowledged as the First Dental anatomist of the world. The word “Dentist” is derived from the Latin word “dentist” and was first used by Pierre Fauchard of France, who is the Father of Modern Dentistry.

  Progress of Dental Science in India Top

The year 1920, the Red-letter year will remain as the first milestone in the progress of Dental Education in India when a full-fledged autonomous dental institution was founded at Calcutta by the Late Padma Bhushan, Dr. Rafiuddin Ahmed. Dr. Rafiuddin Ahmed (December 24, 1890–February 9, 1965) was an Indian dentist, educator and later minister in the West Bengal cabinet, who founded the first dental college of India, Dr. R. Ahmed Dental College at Calcutta. The course led to the award of a Diploma.

  History of Dentistry in Madras Presidency Top

In 1935, Dr. H. Venkata Rao, started the first Dental College in Madras called the “Madras Dental College and Hospital,” but it folded up in 1942. A few years later, during the earliest of 1940, Dr. H. M. Rao, a medical practitioner obtained the DDS qualification from the USA and started “The American Dental College” at Madras. The institution was well equipped and the course was methodically organized. This institution was the only scientifically standardized school at that time and produced many knowledgeable successful practitioners. This college unfortunately was shut down due to the untimely demise of its Principal, Dr. H. M. Rao.

  Origin of Dental Department in General Hospital Top

The origin of the Dental Department in the Government General hospital, Madras, dates back to 1883, when the Madras Education and Health Department, Secretariat initiated a clinic in the Government Hospital for the treatment of patients with dental problems and was handled by a Royal Army Dental Assistant. Several decades later, a Civil Surgeon post was created and successions of qualified people were recruited through the hands of amalgamated assignment of Professor of Dental Surgery, Madras Medical College and Dental Surgeon-General Hospital. They attended to the hospital duties and also taught the medical students about minor dental procedures. Dr. Chinoy, Licence in Dental Surgery-Royal College of Surgeons (LDSRCS) was the Professor of Dental department and on his retirement Dr. Udham singh Malik LDSRCS was appointed as the Head of the department. Dr. Malik's appointment was on contract basis for 5 years and was extendable.

  Dentists' Act, 1948 and Genesis of Tamilnadu Government Dental College and Hospital Top

The All India Dental journal and the Indian Dental Association (IDA) review provided an effective medium for the dissemination of the scientific advances and stressed the need for ethical practice in the field of Dentistry. The IDA founded in 1946 highlighted the necessity for regulating the practice of Dentistry and this resulted in the enactment of the Dentists' Act, 1948. This proved a turning point in the history of dental education and introduced a regulated systematic practice of dentistry. The provisions of the Act stipulated that the practice of dentistry without registration was a punishable offence with the intention of eliminating quackery and to standardize educational requirements. The Dental Council of India (DCI) was constituted in the year 1949, at the Central and State levels.

The IDA, supported by the Bhore recommendations made repeated representations to the Government for starting a Dental Institution in the South, at Madras. The Madras Dental Council was constituted on February 2, 1951 and simultaneously petitioned the Government to initiate the BDS course. The Government of Madras accepted the request and senior professor of the Dental wing was deputed abroad for higher training on various fellowships.

  Dental Wing of Madras Medical College Top

In December 1949, the Government of Madras by an order sanctioned the opening of a separate Dental Wing attached to Madras Medical College and Government General Hospital, Madras, for educating candidates for the BDS course and recommended an intake of fifteen students per year in the year 1953. The government also sanctioned money for the construction of an additional story to the then outpatient block of the Government General Hospital and for the purchase of equipment. The government also took action for the expansion of the dental unit accommodation by a Government Order on September 19, 1951. The building in the Government General Hospital was completed in the year 1952. The government appointed a committee and rules for the selection of candidates were framed. A total of fifteen seats were allotted among which six seats were allotted to Andhra and Rayalaseema regions and nine seats were allotted to Madras district and West coast in the year 1953. The Dental wing of Madras Medical College came into existence on August 10, 1953. Fifteen candidates were selected on the basis of representations from various linguistic parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. Mr. ChandrasekarReddy. C. J., Mr. Chiranjeevi. P., Mr. Dhanasekaran. C. K. Mr. Janardhanan. P. V., Mr. Jayakrishnan., Mr. Kannappan. J. G., Ms. Lakshmikantham. N., Mr. Rajagopal. A., Mr. PerumalRajan. B., Ms. Rajeswari, R., Mr. Rangachari. S., Mr. Seshadri. B., Mr. Shankar Prasad. J. K., Mr. Vasudevan. R., and Mr. Viswanathan. R.

The number of admissions was increased to meet the shortage of dental surgeons in the State later. In the year, 1954, the number of admission to BDS course was increased from fifteen to eighteen, and then in 1956, it was increased to twenty and periodically increased to the present 100 seats. There was progressive expansion in the staffing pattern with the creation of various specialties and the work had correspondingly increased. Due to the paucity of space and on the recommendation of the DCI, a separate building was constructed and started functioning from the year 1961 in the new premises opposite to Fort Railway station at No. 3, Muthusamy salai, Park town, Chennai 600003.

The Dental Wing of Madras Medical College came into existence on August 10, Monday, in 1953 and it was inaugurated by the Dean, Madras Medical College, Dr. Lt. Col. C. K. Prasada Rao and the Vice Principal was Dr. Rathinavel Subramaniam. The department was located on the first floor of the Government General Hospital, outpatient block at Room No. 15 and immediately adjacent to the Skin and ENT departments above Pharmacy. Since the Dental Wing of Madras Medical College was started on Monday August 10, 1953, the College Council of Tamil Nadu Government Dental College and Hospital decided to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee Celebration of Dental Education in South India on August 10, 2013. As the author's knowledge goes, this college is the 6th Dental College in India, started in 1953. The First Dental College in India was started in the year 1920 by Dr. Rafiudeen Ahamed at Calcutta and the second college, Nair Dental College in Bombay in the year 1932. The 3rd Dental College, Government Dental College Bombay was started in the year 1933, the 4th Dental College in the year 1936 at Lahore, the 5th Dental College in the year 1952 at Amritsar, and the 6th Dental Institution was started in the year 1953 at Chennai as Dental Wing of Madras Medical College. Subsequently, the 7th Dental College Government Dental College, Bangalore, was started in the year 1958 and later the 8th at Osmania Government Dental College also in the year 1958.

As already stated, fifteen candidates were selected for the first BDS batch for Dental Wing of Madras Medical College and students were drawn from the entire Madras Presidency which comprised Andhra Pradesh, Parts of Kerala, Karnataka and the present Tamil Nadu. Students from Malaysia were also enrolled later. The first batch of students was from the different districts of South India.

At the time of inception in the year 1953, the institution had two staff members, one was Prof. Dr. M. G. Rao and another was an Assistant Prof. Dr. K. Ramachandran. Dr. K. Ramachandran had finished his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and was selected and deputed to the Demontmorency Dental College, Lahore to do BDS. He was slated to return after the course and join the Madras government. On the completion of deputation, he joined the service as an Assistant Surgeon at the dental department and as an Assistant Professor at MMC in the year 1950. It would be surprising to learn, that in the year 1953, Dr. K. Ramachandran was the only Dental Degree holder in the entire Madras Presidency. Dr. K. Ramachandran was the last Head of the Dental department and he used to be a very strict administrator and he was known for Punctuality and Discipline. In December 1953, Dr. B. L. N. Rao., LDSRCS., who had just qualified, returned from England and joined as an Assistant Professor.

The preclinical prosthetic laboratory was well equipped, well ventilated and well lighted. The laboratory had the best instruments from different European companies such as Jelenko Induction casting Machine, Porcelain Furnace, Manual Pressure Casting Machine and Spring Loaded Centrifugal Casting Machine and all were available for BDS students. Similarly, Plaster Vibrators, Kerr Electric centrifugal casting machine, Manual centrifugal casting machine, Pressure casting outfits, Gold polishing lathes, Electrical furnaces, Plaster vibrators, various types of casting waxes, casting wax patterns, Platinum foil, Gold foil, Gold Solders and Silver Solders, Reversible hydro colloidal impression material, and Water cooled trays for their use were stocked and used by BDS students. All these were obtained by Dr. Capt. M. G. Rao who was trained in the USA. Some of the instruments for various departments such as Department of Prosthodontics, Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, Periodontics, Oral Surgery and Orthodontia such as Ash Articulators, Centrifugal Casting Machine, Impression Trays, Water Cooled Impression Trays, Gysi Gothic Arch tracer, Jelenko Casting Accessories, Jelenko Mallets for Gold Inlays, Arrow Head forming plier, Plier stretching 138 (Izires) Japan, Ash Hand Scalers, Ash Curettes, Various Ash Forceps, Nerve canal Hooks etc., were present till 2010 in the Medical stores of Tamil Nadu Government Dental college and Hospital, and it was distributed to the respective departments.

The Conservative dentistry clinic had 12 Japanese chairs and units with cabinets and Lzris sterilizers for each student adjacent to the operating area. The dental wing was the center of attraction for all as it was not only well equipped, but also was very clean and neat. The first batch of clinical students in 1956 had to report at sharp 7 AM and work in the clinics till the last patient walked out. Students had to work on all Sundays and all Government holidays in the Extraction Department. Late coming and absenteeism were discouraged and warranted disciplinary action, if deemed necessary.

Several Staff members joined the institution after 1956 which included Dr. H. S. Coonar, Dr. Mrs. Sarla Coonar, Dr. Sachdeva, Dr. Siddhu, Dr. Sethi, Dr. S. K. Patil, and Dr. M. K. Gandhi. All of them left after a couple of years.

LDSRCS qualified Demonstrators were appointed on contractual terms. Among them, Dr. J. D. Dias, Dr. Menon brothers, Dr Abraham, Dr. Leela Padmanabhan, Dr. Padmanabhan, Dr. Usha Mazumbdar, Dr. Zachriah, Dr. M. K. Mani, worked for about 5 years and left on expiry of their contract.

In 1956 a Mobile Dental Van donated by the Czechoslavakian Government to our then Vice-President Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, which was handed over to the Dental Wing and commissioned to tour all over the state ferrying the Dental Health Care to Rural people. Dr. J. G. Kannappan was appointed as Medical Officer in charge of camp and subsequently Dr. Hardayal Singh Coonar replaced him-an Oral Surgeon who studied in London was posted to the dental van. Despite being new to the place and not possessing knowledge of Tamil, he treated hundreds of patients and earned a very big name with great success in the rural areas.

In December 1959–1964 the college was run by four Assistant Professors, Dr. E. G. R. Solomon, Prosthetics, Dr. S. Rangachari, Oral Surgery and Orthodontia, Dr. A. R. Sreenivasan, Conservative Dentistry and Dr. R. Viswanathan, Oral Diagnosis and other branches. As in December 1960 there were only four Assistant Readers namely Dr. S. Rangachari, Dr. A. Sreenivasan, Dr. R. Viswanathan and Dr. Vanaja. During this time, Dr. B. P. Rajan, who had completed MDS was sent to Madurai Medical College to render service at the southern part of India. Dr. C. K. Dhanasekaran was sent to Stanley Medical College and Hospital to take care of North Madras region.

When the Madras Presidency was bifurcated, Dr. M. G. Rao was transferred to Osmania University in Andhra Pradesh as Professor in the year 1958 and Dr. K. Ramachandran was appointed as Professor and Head of Dental Wing, Madras Medical College (1958–1978). The Government at that point of time appointed Dr. D. C. Miglani, Dr. N. A. Pirosha, Dr. Y. C. Chawla as Readers to various departments as they had finished their postgraduate (PG) (MDS/MSD). Except Dr. D. C. Miglani, all others left after a few years.

  Shifting to New Bulding at Muthusamy Salai Top

Thereafter, Dr. D. C. Miglani was appointed in 1960 as Head of the Dental Wing and Professor of Oral Surgery and Periodontia, when Dr. K. Ramachandran was deputed to UK for higher studies (FDSRCS). Dr. K. Ramachandran returned from abroad in 1963. In April 1961, the Dental Wing of Madras Medical College was moved out from General Hospital to the premises in front of the Fort Railway Station at No. 3, Muthusamy salai, Chennai - 03. Dr. D. C. Miglani was instrumental in carving out the New building (Present Old Building Opposite to Fort Station) which had a Mini Operation theater adjacent to Oral Surgery O.P., Museum at the second floor and a Gas Plant made from Hexane oil at the Ground floor, adjacent to the Prosthetics laboratories. Adequate space was made available to all departments in the new block and new equipment were purchased from East European countries.

Dr. Duni. C Miglani was instrumental in bringing to Madras, a monumental research project the USPL480, later it was termed as PL480 the first of its kind in South India with American Aid of Rs. 4.5 lakh at this Dental wing of Madras Medical College and it was considered as corner stone in the field of periodontics in South India. It provided employment for a number of graduates and laid the foundation for research methodology which was till then unknown in this part of the country. He published numerous papers which have been adequately documented in international literature.

  Kaiwar Committee Top

It was at this juncture that certain clandestine attempts were made by some vested interest, to annex one floor of the new block for their use claiming that the space in the building was far in excess of what was necessary for the dental wing. The government constituted a Committee headed by Mr. S. R. Kaiwar, ICS., Mr. P. P. I. Vaidyanathan, ICS., and Dr. B. Ramamurthi, Neuro Surgeon as Members to inspect the building about the above claim and the committee, after inspection presented a detailed report with their recommendations.

Dr. Duni. C. Miglani, spared no effort to justify the need for every square inch of space in the building and pointed out, as to how the space would be even insufficient during the next 10 years down the line. His statements were strongly supported by Dr. B. Ramamurthi, Neuro Surgeon. The Government accepted the Kaiwar Committee's report and the building was dedicated to the Dental Wing of Madras Medical College. It is needless to mention that it was a visionary decision of Dr. D. C. Miglani at that point of time to put up a required space for the Dental wing. It is at this building that hundred students were later admitted with various PG specialties till 20-9-2012. The PG courses began as early as in the year 1966. Initially, the Post-Graduation Program of Oral Surgery and Periodontics was started in the year 1966, followed by MDS in the Departments of Conservative Dentistry in the year 1972, Orthodontics in the year 1975, Prosthodontics in the year 1979, Oral Pathology in the year 1981, Oral Medicine and Radiology in the year 1984 and the Post-Graduation Programme in Public Health Dentistry/Preventive and Community Dentistry in 2007-2008. Tamil Nadu Government Dental College was the third Institution in India, to start the PG in Public Health Dentistry/Preventive and Community Dentistry.

The Government of India in 1943 instituted a Community Health Survey headed by Sir Joseph Bhore to furnish suggestions for augmenting Dental Health Services in the country. This committee recommended augmentation of dental services and commencement of dental colleges to produce the required qualified personnel thereon keeping with the demand.

  Silver Jubilee Celebrations of Madras Dental College 1978 Top

The Silver Jubilee celebrations were organized at the Madurai Medical College in 1978 and the Inauguration was presided under the Chairmanship of the then Hon'ble Chief Minister, Ponmalachemmal Shri. M. G. Ramachandran under the aegis of the Silver Jubilee. The celebration of the dental wing of Madras Medical College in 1978, a proposal was submitted which was accepted by the Government and orders were for separation of the Dental Wing from the Madras Medical College and formation of an Independent Dental College with an independent Budget from October 3, 1979. Inauguration of the Madras Dental College was accordingly done by His Excellency Shri. Prabhudas Patwari, the then Governor of Tamil Nadu on February 26, 1980. But the Madras Dental College depended on the Madras Medical College and General Hospital for hostel facilities, teaching of basic subjects, operation and ward facilities. The continuation of Dr. B. P. Rajan, the Head of Dental Wing of Madras Medical College was immense in the establishment of an independent Madras Dental College and Dr. B. P. Rajan was appointed as the First Principal. He was also instrumental in bringing state of art Electrical/Hydraulic Dental Chairs, Imported Kavo Electrical Chairs, Airotors and other new Equipment. The Madras Dental College was initially affiliated to Madras University and along with all Medical colleges, but later, all the medical colleges including the Dental College was affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Dr. M. G. R. Medical University in the year 1992, and thereafter, the college was renamed as Tamil Nadu Government Dental College and Hospital. Today, many of the students of this Institution have become faculty members as also, Principals, Deans, and the like in leading institutions in India and abroad besides servicing as leading dentists. Some of them have taken up civil services like Indian Administrative Service. Some of our students are also Chancellors and Vice Chancellors of certain universities bringing laurels to their Almamater.

The generation of potential graduates from Tamil Nadu Government Dental College and Hospital has greatly helped in the appointment of dental Surgeons in district and taluk hospitals to keep pace with the contemporary Medical Services in the state and country as well.

The introduction of MDS degree course in various specialties and auxiliary courses in Dental Mechanics and Dental Hygienists have provided further Impetus in the development of state of art Services in Dentistry in the state for the benefit and welfare of citizens.

The number of BDS seats that was 15 in the beginning increased to 18, to 33, to 45 to the current 100 and all the hundred students continued to be accommodated in the same building in the extent of 3.06 acres with constructed area of 45000 sq.ft. The expenditure of Hexane oil for running the gas plant, continued to be white elephant, and hence, it was replaced by LPG Gas connection to the old building on June 1, 2007 and to the adjacent new building on Nov 26, 2008 resulting in huge savings to the Institution.

  Hanumantha Rao P. G. Lab Top

A laboratory for PG, specializing in prosthodontics is functioning since 1984 with all the necessary equipment funded by the Hanumantha Rao Trust and as a matter recognition the laboratory is named after Hanumantha Rao. The funds from Trust were also utilized creatively for the procurement for the necessary state of art the equipments for Chrome Cobalt Work and Ceramic work, in the year 1987 and probably The Tamil Nadu Government Dental College and Hospital, is the only Institution having this facility in this part of the country. All the Equipment were from BEGO, Bremen, Germany. The efforts of Dr. B. P. Rajan and Dr. T. N. Swaminathan and Dr. K. S. Gamal Abdul Nasser in installing this facility that was first of its kind, need great acknowledgement.

  Golden Jubilee Celebrations 2003 Top

The year 2003 was the Golden Jubilee year of Tamil Nadu Government Dental College. The Golden Jubilee Celebration was inaugurated by the Honorable Health Minister, Thiru Dalavai Sundaram, Health Secretary, Mrs. Sheila Rani Chunkath IAS, and Director of Medical Education Dr. P. Vijayalakhshmi with Dr. Sudharasan as the Principal of the Tamil Nadu Government Dental College and Hospital. The first (1953) Batch of students of Tamil Nadu Government Dental College were felicitated on the occasion of Golden Jubilee Celebration. The 50th Year College Souvenir ORNATE03 was released and the Cultural Programmes and Sports events were conducted to mark the events in the celebration. The first batch of students, Dr. Dhanasekaran. C. K., Dr. Rajan. B. P., Dr. Kannappan. J. G., Dr. Janardhanan. P. V., Dr. Rajagopal. A., Dr. Rangachari. S., Dr. Lakshmikantham. N., Dr. Rajeswari. R., and Dr. Viswanathan. R., attended the function.

It was at this point that the author, Dr. K. S. Gamal Abdul Nasser, MDS took charge as the new Principal of this prestigious institution. His tenure was the golden period for the institution that saw tremendous growth in his period. In the second part of this article in the next issue, the story of how this institution reached the stars under the visionary leadership of the author, Dr. K. S. Gamal Abdul Nasser, MDS, will be enlightened.


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  In this article
Tracing the Root...
Progress of Dent...
History of Denti...
Origin of Dental...
Dentists' Ac...
Dental Wing of M...
Shifting to New ...
Kaiwar Committee
Silver Jubilee C...
Hanumantha Rao P...
Golden Jubilee C...

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