Dr. Guy Merritt was raised in Buena Vista, Virginia, served in World War II, graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1944 and has practiced dentistry in Roanoke, in the Grandin Village area, ever since.
He still has a dentistry license, but, now in his 90s, he’s decided to let it lapse. In a profile in The Roanoke Times, he said he decided to become a dentist when he was 12. “My school teacher had told me I had a cavity, so I said, ‘I will go the dentist and get the cavity fixed.’ ” Turned out he had three. “The dentist fixed them. He didn’t smile, and he didn’t talk. I had been the recent victim of stage fright, and I said I didn’t know what I’m going to do with my life, because I’m not going to talk. And I thought I wouldn’t have to talk, and I could make money.”
He’s preparing to sell his equipment, including a collection of forceps that he believes might be the largest in the state. He noted, “That’s one thing they haven’t been able to change: forceps for pulling teeth.”
As befits a dentist, Guy has a full set of straight teeth, all his own. He obviously follows his own advice: “People can eat the sweets. All they’ve got to do is use their dental floss. A toothbrush is great, but use your floss.”