Dr. Richard Chace Caven is a fifth generation Florida dentist. This amazing and truly unique family has served thousands of patients for 140 years
The following is found in the textbook, "75 Years of Dentistry," Haines and Thoburn University of Florida Press 1960
"[James Chace] is the acknowledged father and first president of the Florida State Dental Society. He was the first member to be awarded the Honorable Fellow degree in 1917. Over the years he received countless honors by the state, district and local dental societies for his unsurpassed record of service and accomplishment.
Dr. Chace was born in Monticello, Florida and started practicing dentistry in 1869. He would travel by horse and buggy to care for his patients. When dentures were needed it was his practice to extract all the teeth in one operation, with whiskey as the only anesthetic. He would then return in about 6 months to make the dentures. His horse and buggy office was equipped with everything he needed for his work, including a vulcanizer. Setting up the vulcanizer on the kitchen stove in his clients' farm home, he would turn out a full set of upper and lower dentures in one day.
Dr. Chace invented the gasoline blowpipe with a single tube for air and gas, which was used for many years - and which was still in use in remote rural districts at the time of his death in 1933. In 1882 he began to do dental bridge work and was the first dentist in Florida to construct fixed [dental] bridges. He had never seen a demonstration and based his work solely on an illustrated article in the Dental Cosmos. He was recognized as a true craftsman.
In the early 1880s, there were no formal dental laws, no examining board and no license requirements. On October 15, 1884, Dr. Chace instigated an organizational meeting for the Florida State Dental Society. All Florida dentists were encouraged to attend the meeting, which was held in Downtown Jacksonville at Library Hall. Dr. Chace was the chairman of that meeting and was elected as the first president the following year. The Florida State Dental Society has since been renamed Florida Dental Association.
1888 Dr. Chace moved to Ocala where he practiced for 10 years. His final move was in 1898, when, at the age of fifty, he went to Jacksonville. Failing eyesight forced his retirement in November 1925.
From the time of his first interest in the profession until his death at 84 in 1933, his life was dedicated to the advancement of dentistry in Florida. Although the establishment of the Florida State Dental Society in 1884 is one of the most tangible evidences of his untiring efforts and devotion to the profession, his influence on Florida dentistry and the younger dentists of the time was profound."
In recognition of his amazing life story, the University of Florida College of Dentistry has the James Chace Lounge for Facility and staff.
His son, Dr. Richard Chace (Dr. Richard Chace Caven's namesake), was trained by his father, but then graduated from Northwestern Dental School and went into the military during WW II. There, he treated many soldiers with "trench mouth" which is now called periodontal disease. He became interested in this specific area and when he got out of the service, he moved to Ocala and started limiting his practice to periodontal treatment. He was 1 of only 2 periodontal specialists in the entire state of Florida in this emerging field. Later, he also became the President of the Florida Dental Association and among many other awards and honors, received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Periodontics. Dr. Richard Chace helped start the University of Florida College of Dentistry and taught there for many years.
Dr. Richard Chace Caven's primary mentor in his professional life has been his grandfather, Richard Chace. Dentistry in its most pure and noble form was a common dinner table conversation and it was part of the routine for Dr. Caven to spend time looking at his grandfather's dental slides from his college courses or reviewing treatment techniques both modern and from years gone by.
This has given Dr. Caven a truly unique vantage point on dentistry and what it can do for patients. There is a genuine pure love of the field and a desire to uphold its altruistic intent. Dr. Caven has committed his professional life to staying true to his patient's wants and needs and loves what he does.