The first dentist to open a practice in the west end has retired after 47 years of practice in the Kanata and Stittsville areas.
Dr. George Maroosis was instrumental in changing the face of mouthguards in sports, having developed a vacuum formed, intimate fit piece for a reasonable production price.
“All I did was develop a technique,” said Maroosis, who lives in Bridlewood with his wife and menagerie of rescue dogs and cats.
“George is a very unassuming man and although he has given so much to this community … he is very quiet about his contributions,” said his wife Diane.
Maroosis, former chairman of the Mouthguard Committee for the Ottawa Dental Society, began researching a new mouthguard-making technique in the 1970s after a study of 386 student football players showed only three of them could still use their mouth piece by the end of the season.
“Our primary purpose was to encourage our young people to participate actively but in doing so, not to sustain any brain injuries,” he said.
After refining the technique, regular dental labs weren’t able to produce the high numbers of mouthguards needed. So, Maroosis put together a group of five retired seniors trained in making the laminate guards.
“(They) became known as The Team,” Maroosis said. The group took individual impressions, let the mouthguards set, and trimmed them for “maximum suction,” he added.
Maroosis and the team outfitted entire high school sports teams with custom mouthguards – the largest order being about 1,800 students in 10 days – including the former football squad at A.Y. Jackson Secondary School in Glen Cairn. The team was so grateful they presented Maroosis with a custom jersey.
“Not too many people get to make a difference,” he said, adding clinics around the world picked up his technique. “I’m proud of it.”
The money they made from selling the mouthguards were funneled back into high school sports.
“We weren’t a company,” said Maroosis. “This was fun and we enjoyed it … It was a real adventure.”
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Maroosis’s first office, opened in 1966 in the Connolly Developments Sale Office, was located on Hazeldean Road where the Kunstadt Sports is now.
“The only dentist for the area – Richmond, Stittsville, Arnprior, and I believe Carleton Place – was in Richmond, and he retired the day that I opened my door,” said Maroosis.
“I worked for two years straight with no days off,” he said. Between regular visits during the week and emergencies on the weekend, Maroosis spent a lot of time at the office.
In 1989, he moved his office to the Terry Fox Plaza at Hazeldean and Terry Fox Drive.
“The office was designed (with) ceramic floors … for my dog to come to work with me,” he said, adding his patients would likely remember Samantha, Katie, Jenny, Molly and Annie.
“They’re my friends,” he said.
“He is well known for having brought his dogs to work as part of his practice and many of his patients would come to an appointment with their dog,” said his wife.
Maroosis has also carved many wooden pieces for local churches.
“It gives me a chance to give something back,” he said.
One of his greatest accomplishments is “when you get someone who’s terrified of the dentist to relax when they come to see you,” said Maroosis. “That means everything.”
As for retirement, he said he’s just catching up on everything at the moment. He said he and the dogs go on walks and now he can nap during the day if he chooses.
“I have a lot to be thankful for,” he said. “The personal interactions of my professional life have been very rewarding. To be able to bring a smile and comfort to someone either professionally or personally, is very special.”