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Obituary: Allen Sclaroff, professor of clinical otolaryngology, 75

Oral surgeon dedicated to patient care, graduate education over 40-year career

September 10, 2021

Allen Sclaroff, DDS, a professor of clinical otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, died Aug. 18, 2021, in St. Louis, following complications of multiple myeloma. He was 75.

Sclaroff was an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who cared for patients — adults and children — with a variety of diseases, from oral cancers to temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ). He was a sought after speaker, giving grand rounds lectures on his areas of expertise, including TMJ surgery and reconstruction, surgical treatment of maxillofacial injuries, dental implants, treatment of cleft palate, oral and dental care for patients undergoing chemotherapy, oral care for patients undergoing radiation for head and neck cancer, and oral considerations in sleep apnea.

Also dedicated to teaching, Sclaroff led graduate education in the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery from the time he joined the faculty of what was then the School of Dental Medicine in 1978 until the dental school closed in 1991.

Sclaroff earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry, physiology and economics from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1968. He went on to earn his doctorate in dental surgery in 1972 from the Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia. He served two years in the U.S. Air Force before coming to Washington University in St. Louis in 1974 for his internship at the School of Dental Medicine.

He remained at Washington University for the rest of his training and his entire professional career, including completing his internship in oral and maxillofacial surgery in 1975 at the school and what was then Barnes Hospital. From 1975 to 1978, he completed two residencies, one in anesthesia and general surgery, and a second in oral and maxillofacial surgery at Washington University, Barnes Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and St. John’s Mercy Medical Center. From 1977 to 1978, he was also chief resident and a fellow in the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at Washington University.

Sclaroff joined the faculty of the School of Dental Medicine in 1978. In 1986, he was named head of the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at the school. And in 1987, he became surgeon-in-chief of the Division of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in the Department of Surgery at the School of Medicine, Barnes Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. After the dental school closed in 1991, Sclaroff served as a professor and director of the Division of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Washington University until his retirement in June 2020.

Sclaroff was a member of the American Dental Association, the Missouri Dental Association, the Greater St. Louis Dental Society, the St. Louis Central District Dental Society, the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons (OMFS), the Missouri Association of OMFS, the St. Louis Society of OMFS and the American Academy of Osseointegration.

He is survived by his wife, Jan Sclaroff; two daughters, Megan Katz and Lindsey Creech; their spouses; and five grandchildren.

A service was held Aug. 20 at Bellerive Gardens Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Siteman Cancer Center, MSC 1204, 7425 Forsyth Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63105 or online at