Dr. Fioritto's wisdom in dentistry

Sia nella sua vita professionale che personale, il dott. Henry Fioritto mantiene vive le tradizioni e i valori del suo patrimonio culturale. Il dott. Fioritto, membro di Northern Ohio Italian American Foundation (NOIA), possiede uno studio dentistico a Mentor, Ohio, in cui lavorano anche figli, nuora e cugino.

Dr. Henry Fioritto's "wisdom" in practicing dentistry is to keep his family close -- so close that his two sons, Christopher and Michael Sean, daughter-in-law Nicole and cousin John Vanni are manning dental chairs in twelve rooms of the same building in Mentor on Route 615, next to City Hall.

Dr. Fioritto owns his office headquarters that the family helped build in 1936. The Fioritto's family history is entrenched in construction. In the mid to late 1930s, Nonno Gennaro Olivo, who emigrated from Rionero Sannitico (Isernia, Molise) at the turn of the twentieth century, was responsible for building two churches largely with his own hands. He started the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (East) by persuading local paisans; and Olivo's wife, Nunziata, was a leader among the women. The predominant nationality of the original population of the parish was about half Sicilian and half from the mainland. A brick basement was built on Luna Park property and when the housing authority acquired the land to build the projects, new land was acquired on Mount Carmel Road (Grafield and Ingersoll Road). The original basement was dismantled and the English Gothic brick church was built on the present hill site.

Dr. Fioritto's parents were born in the Little Italy and Blue Rock neighborhoods of Cleveland, OH. His father, William, is a retired plumber and mother, Pauline, was a full-time homemaker. Her family emigrated from Nocera (Salerno, Campania).

Raised in the East 110 and Woodland Avenue neighborhood, Dr. Fioritto attended Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, Cathedral Latin, John Carroll University and the Case Reserve Dental School where he topped his class in academics. He trained at St. Luke's Hospital under the direction and guidance of Dr. Anthony J. Tomaro.

Forty years into his practice and 15,000 patients later, Dr. Fioritto and family apply a variety of means to make patients comfortable. Methods are laughing gas, Novocain, oral medication and sedation (sleep) dentistry. The latter appears to be his signature treatment.

At work, Dr. Fioritto finds the time to share his culinary talents, which complement his daily regimen. He learned to cook by watching his mother and father prepare meals, and plies the stove with the equal skills of his very successful dental practice. In two kitchens -- one room for the staff and the other for doctors -- Dr. Fioritto prepares al dente pasta, pizza, calzone, sweet rolls and bread from homemade prepared dough.

During the Christmas season, Dr. Fioritto shares his blessings and thankfulness by displaying a lighted nativity scene on his building's property. Inside the presepio are three- and four-foot high figures and an empty crib that remains barren until Christmas Eve midnight when Dr. Fioritto arrives and places the Infant Child in the crib.

Dr. Fioritto and his family have traveled to Italy at various seasons throughout the years. Other than his family's native hometown of Rionero, his favorite stopover is the Renaissance City -- Florence -- where all the magnificent sights are within walking distance. Usually the family will fly into Milan, motor to Lake Como and Bellagio and then down to Florence, Rome and Naples. His favorite restaurant in Florence is Baldini's and in Rome, he loves the Sunday brunch at the Principe Hotel. In Venice, there's a stopover at Harry's Bar for a Bellini -- author Ernest Hemingway's favorite watering hole and drink.

In both his professional and personal life, Dr. Fioritto keeps the traditions of his ancestry and values alive; his heritage serves as one of his most prized possessions. Dr. Fioritto is a member of the Northern Ohio Italian American Foundation (NOIA).