CC BY 4.0 · Surg J (N Y) 2020; 06(01): e1-e6
DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-3400537
Original Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Maxillary Prosthetics, Speech Impairment, and Presidential Politics: How Grover Cleveland Was Able to Speak Normally after His “Secret” Operation

Margaret Murray
1  Department of Family and Community Medicine, East Virginia Medical School, Norfolk Virginia
Theodore N. Pappas
2  Department of Surgery, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
David B. Powers
3  Division of Craniomaxillofacial Trauma and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

16 September 2019

14 October 2019

Publication Date:
02 December 2019 (online)



In the summer of 1893, President Grover Cleveland discovered a mass on the roof of his mouth. Two physicians examined it, determined that it was a neoplasm, and recommended resection. In an effort to avoid revealing the illness to the public, the President and his doctors boarded a yacht on July 1 1893, where the surgeons resected the affected portion of his maxilla and several teeth under an ether anesthetic. Afterward, Kasson C. Gibson, a New York dentist, created a rubber obturator, which was placed in the surgical defect in the maxilla and restored the President's facial contour and speech. Due to the precise reconstruction with the rubber appliance crafted by Gibson, the President lived the rest of his public life without facial or speech abnormality. This article will review the details of the work of Kasson Gibson and the President's maxillary prosthesis.