MONROE, CT — Dr. Elsa George, who has shown a genuine interest in the well being of her patients over her 20 years in dentistry, brought that same level of care to Monroe Dental Arts, her new office at 501 Main St.
George said people often feel anxiety about going to the dentist, so she tries to put them at ease, while treating what ails them.
“Treating teeth is easy,” she said. “It’s treating the whole person in front of you. I want them to leave feeling good about their experience and their teeth. I just want people to feel okay. That’s my niche.”
Monroe Dental Arts is part of Dental Associates, which has 20 locations in Connecticut. On Wednesday evening, a grand opening celebration was held at the new office.
First Selectman Ken Kellogg, State Rep. Tony Scott, R-112th, Economic and Community Development Director William Holsworth and several members of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and the Monroe Economic Development Commission attended the event, which included a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Guests mingled with staff members over drinks and light refreshments and went on tours of the facility. Paintings hang from the walls, which are painted light blue and white. Rooms off the hallway include eight operatories to treat patients.
George said the color scheme promotes a relaxing vibe.
Dental Associates began in 1971, when Dr. Larry Daum and partners opened a general dentistry practice in Newtown. Other specialties were added over the years and it now has a full offering of dental care.
Newtown, the largest of Dental Associates’ offices, is one of the oldest employers in town with 70 employees, according to Adam Richichi, the CEO. Overall, the practice employs 400 people statewide.
The second office opened in Danbury, then others opened in New Milford and Shelton. “We started to bottle what we do well: Caring for people,” Richichi said.
In 2016, he said locations opened across the state. Within the next three weeks, the practice will grow to 22 locations, when new offices open in Oxford and Prospect.
Though all of the offices are part of the same practice, most have their own name. “We want to be the hometown dentist, so we have individual, local brands,” Richichi said.
He and George are among 18 partners and, aside from Richichi, all of them are dentists.
“We are a big dental practice that cares,” he said. “We are not influenced by investors. We are dentist-owned. We don’t compromise on anything, not on materials, not on equipment or people. Every speciality exists here.”
George, who practiced dentistry for 17 years at the Newtown office, was asked to open the new location in Monroe.
“Dr. George will be here full time,” Richichi said. “She will set the culture and tone.”
Dentistry is an art
George grew up in Westchester County and graduated from Somers High School. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a minor in art at Pace University.
“When I was in college, I decided to go into dentistry,” she said. “I like to work with my hands. I like talking to people and making them feel better. I combine art with medicine. We do a lot of sculpting, creating beautiful smiles.”
George enrolled at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and her first job out of school was at her cousin, Dr. Paul Iaropoli’s dental practice in Fairfield.
George and Bernard Cassidy, her husband of nearly 13 years, have four sons and live in Ridgefield.
For a long time, George said the Newtown office was “home”. She is still treating some patients there, but said Monroe Dental Arts, which opened in late November, will be her new home.
“I love it here,” George said. “I absolutely love it. I love the town. The town, the people and existing staff have been wonderful.”