A doctor, a father, a friend, a philanthropist. Orthodontist, Specialist in individuals with craniofacial malformations, Tolis Laspos, someone I met in my early 20’s who changed my smile forever. Doctors aren’t easy to click with, but I felt immediate chemistry with this man. Was it his good nature, bed side manner, humour, warmth and friendliness? A bit of everything! After 18 months of treatment I left his clinic with my ‘new smile’ and with solid knowledge that I had made the best decision. He was definitely the type of person that I would be happy to have in my life and it was only after a couple of years when I met his wife that we became family friends.
Back in the day, my braces were the invisible type which I thought were perfect even though I had to change my elastics weekly because they would go yellow and make my teeth look dirty. But with today’s technology, Invisalign, a technique which is discreet, faster and pain free, my treatment would have been much more patient friendly. Tolis gives us the insight to this and a lot more.
- Who is Tolis? Tell us a bit about you.
I was born in a small village, Kalo Chorio, my favourite, most loved place on earth. This is where I relax the most. I always talk highly about my birthplace because I believe it formed my character. I learnt to work hard early in life and ever since I strive for excellence. I believe that people who work hard with values and passion make a difference.
- You are a good father; how do you juggle fatherhood with doctor life?
My family is the most important thing in my life. I adore my daughters and my wife and I love to spend time with them. So my free time (not clinic time) is family time.
- How do you mentally unwind and relax?
You cannot be successful if you do not relax or “sharpen the saw” according to Steven Covey’s, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I run, play tennis and I also help my daughter’s
volleyball team coach.
- If you were stranded on island what favourite book, film and food dish would you take?
Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carniege
Film: Patch Adams
Food: Traditional Cyprus Cuisine: Koupepia ( stuffed vine leaves)
- You work with 11 women and you live with 3! What is your secret to keeping them all happy?
I learnt to say “Yes Madam” early on in my marriage and I try not to get into arguments that I know I will lose. I try and be diplomatic and try to make everybody happy around me.
At work, I MAKE MY TEAM FEEL IMPORTANT. This is how I treat all my employees in my clinic. Nobody likes to be criticized. Meetings take place and this is where I discuss the things that I want and talk about changes. I try not to make anybody feel bad for what they do. I like to reward than criticize. Keeping my employees for years is solid proof that my philosophy pays off.
- What do you think has been the key to your success?
I apply the 8 keys to success every day in my life. Work hard, push, focus, passion, serve, persist, ideas, improve. I think that all the above are important and are common traits in most successful people I know. However, I feel that so far the most important thing I’ve achieved in my life is my family; my wife and my two daughters.
- What does job satisfaction mean to you?
Changing people’s lives is wonderful. Building confidence in people and creating beautiful smiles in young children as well as in adolescents and adults is pure satisfaction to say the least.
- Tell us about your clinic. What services do you offer your patients?
I practice my specialty, which is orthodontics for kids and adults with emphasis on individuals born with cleft lip and palate and facial deformities. We make people happy creating beautiful and healthy smiles.
- Do you recommend different treatment for different ages?
Every person is different. Every treatment is based on each of the individual’s needs. Children like to have more colourful braces based on their likes and interests. Adults like to have more discrete appliances. This is why we have been using the Lingual braces “Incognito” and clear aligners “Invisalign” for the last 10 years. Invisalign is the future of orthodontics. This is a much simpler and straightforward procedure for someone who wants to get his/her teeth straight. It is by far more aesthetic, it is easier, it is faster, it is more hygienic, and there are no hiccups.
- You are the founder of Chrysallida, a charity foundation, Tell us more about it.
Chrysallida is the association of individuals born with cleft lip and palate and other craniofacial anomalies. This was one of the reasons I returned to Cyprus from the United States. I knew that we needed to organize such a TEAM in Cyprus. Firstly, I organized MEDICLEFT the Team of doctors that treat individuals with clefts and other craniofacial anomalies.
This is a Team of 12 different specialists: Plastic Surgeon, Orthodontist, Maxillofacial surgeon, Speech pathologist, ENT, paediatric, dentist, prosthodontist, psychologist, Neurosurgeon, Ophthalmic surgeon, Physiotherapist, Geneticist.
These doctors meet together every two months to examine patients and organize and plan their treatments based on international protocols. We are glad we treat the majority of patients born in Cyprus and also patients that come to us from other countries. Doctors involved offer their services to these children and their families free of charge.
Chrysallida (the parent’s association) also offers services to the families and the patients. It pays for their treatment in private hospitals as well as the cost of medical devices needed for their treatments. Chrysallida also offers psychological support and assistance to families in relation to the treatment and problems they are facing. We are constantly improving and upgrading our services to individuals with Clefts and other Craniofacial Anomalies. We want to educate and make aware the multiple problems that individuals with Clefts and other Craniofacial Anomalies face and the need for acceptance of their diversity, as well as the new scientific methods that are applied for their treatment.
Therefore, from all the work I do this is the most rewarding because we really change people’s lives. In a small place like Cyprus it goes a long way to bump into your patients or people that you have helped seeing that their lives are changed for the better.
Life is not counted by your bank account digits…Life is counted by the moments of joy you have /offered…
“I want you to know that you are the reason for my smile”
Make sure your job and your life decisions will offer you the opportunity to share moments like this and feel the gratitude.
- Who is your role model?
Alexandros Stratoudakis, the plastic surgeon and the leader of the Hellenic Craniofacial Centre. We organized the Cyprus Centre for Clefts and facial Deformities together. He is the man who taught me the values and ethics of medicine and the love for treating individuals with facial deformities. He had passion for his work and was modest. He still guides me even though he is not with us today.
- What’s next for you?
I have a big list of TO DO things. I am writing a book at the moment on the Treatment of Infants born with Cleft Lip and Palate. I have a couple of more books in my mind that I need to write. I will be the president of the European Orthodontic Society for 2021 therefore I’ll be organizing a big meeting in Limassol. I want to keep improving my knowledge and skills, I want to keep teaching around the world but above all I want to spend time with my wife Maria and my two wonderful daughters Ellie and Vasiliki.
Thank You Maria for this experience. I wish you luck and success for the future.
Laspos Orthodontic Center Website
Dr. Chris Laspos personal website