Dentistry is an Ory business

Published 11:45 pm Friday, June 13, 2014

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE — Tomorrow we celebrate Father’s Day. The idea of leaving a legacy to future generations is something that probably crosses a father’s mind at one point or another over the years of raising his family. This week, Dr. Robert D. Ory Sr. mused over the idea of his legacy while talking about his family’s interesting occupational history.

Robert Sr. practices dentistry in his office located at 430 W. 5th St. in LaPlace. But as many residents know, when you call for an appointment you can’t just say you want to see Dr. Ory. That’s because Robert Sr.’s two sons, Robert Jr. and Benjamin, also work in the office with their father.

The two generations now working in the office represent only half of the total family history. The Ory family’s dental history is one that has spanned over a century in the River Parishes and includes four generations of dentists.

Dr. Oscar Joseph Ory Sr. was the first Ory to become a dentist when he graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Dentistry in 1906. His son, Dr. O.J. Ory Jr., graduated from Loyola University School of Dentistry in 1939.  Known as “Doc” to his family, he practiced until the 1980s. 

Thirty years later, Robert Sr. graduated from Loyola in 1969 and joined his father in the occupation. He opened the West 5th Street location, where the family practice remains today. 

The most recent two Ory dentists, Robert Jr. and Ben, joined the family practice in 2006, when they graduated from Louisiana State University Dental School.  

In addition to the three Ory men in the office, Robert Sr.’s niece Melissa Ory Tregre is a hygienist and one of his son-in-laws, Ben Dickerson, is a specialist who has a rotation at the office.

All of the Ory men agree the vocation seemed to fit them naturally, and none of them felt forced to become a dentist from their fathers.  

In fact, Robert Jr. said he never really thought about what he wanted to study in college, but while he was at spring testing at LSU he said “just put me down as pre-den” when a school official asked what his major was.

Ben said he was initially more interested in the laboratory side of dentistry, but while in college decided to shift his focus to the family business.

The three men said it benefits them to work together, as it lets them collaborate on ideas about care plans and techniques, all while having the opportunity to spend time with those they can completely trust.

This week Robert Sr. laughed when he said some of the office’s patients have said they want to make appointments with only Robert Jr. or Ben so they can say they’ve been taken care of by four generations of Ory dentists.

That legacy and repertoire with patients is something the Ory men seem to cherish.

“I worked with my dad for many years and felt so fortunate to have that opportunity, because we had so many experiences together,” Robert Sr. said. “I know him so well and he left a good legacy for me.

“Now, the roles have reversed, and I’m working with two sons in the dental practice. Again I feel it’s such a gift because we can be together and I have the opportunity to leave a good legacy.”

Robert Jr. felt the same sentiments, and said it was a wonderfully unique experience to work along side his dad and to continue the life-practice of learning from his father.

Robert Sr. made it clear, however, that his pride is not just in his dentist sons. He and his wife Jeanne have 10 children, and he said he’s equally proud of his other children for all of their accomplishments and occupational pursuits.

It all comes down to everyone doing what they love to do, Robert Sr. said. 

That sentiment is shared by Robert Jr. and Ben, who said all they want for their children is to be happy and be in a job they love, whether or not that is dentistry.

It seems, at least for the Ory men, that leaving a legacy of being a loving father is even more important than leaving a legacy of dentistry.