Dr. James J. Greeves, 71, a retired Washington dental surgeon, died of cancer Tuesday at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

He practiced dentistry in Washington from 1932 until retiring in 1973.

Dr. Greeves was a founding member of the International Academy of Oral Dynamics and twice served as its president.

The academy was organized in 1950 at a meeting of the American Dental Association. It provided a new and at that time controversial specialty in dentistry.

The object was to apply oral dynamics (bite correction) by grinding of teeth to the equivalent of normal wear that teeth were not getting in modern soft-food diets. Known as occlusion, the practice is used universally. Dr. Greeves held clinics on the subject in this country and abroad.

He served as president of the D.C. Dental Society in 1949-50.

Born in Tuxedo Park, N.Y., Dr. Greeves moved to Bayonne, N.J., as a boy. He came to Washington in 1926 and graduated from Georgetown University's Dental School in 1931. He worked for the U.S. Public Health Service for a year before establishing his own practice.

Dr. Greeves was a former president of the Northeast Businessmen's Association. He had belonged to the Washington Board of Trade and the Knights of Columbus.

He is survived by his wife, Louise, of the home in Kensington; five children, Ann E. Girman, of Pittsburgh, Jeanne M. Dawson, of Edgewater, Md., James J. Jr., of Calverton, Md., Edwin A., of Fairfax and Mary Louise Walsh of Silver Spring; three brothers, William, of Bethesda, and Joseph and Edwin, both of Milford, Pa., and 13 grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions to the Vincent Lombardi Cancer Research Center at Georgetown University.