Innisfail dentist Dr. Clifford Tym opened his office in October 1968. (Advocate file photo)

Innisfail dentist Dr. Clifford Tym opened his office in October 1968. (Advocate file photo)

Innisfail dentist retires after 53 years

An Innisfail dentist who has been treating patients for more than five decades has officially called it a career.

“I have enjoyed my work being able to help people and being of service to people,” said Dr. Clifford Tym, who retired on Friday following 53 years of dentistry.

“We had a little party at the office and we invited people, of course under COVID provisions, and a lady who has been a patient of mine since my first week of practice came by.”

Tym was young when he first considered helping people for a living.

“I was thinking of taking medicine in grade school,” he said.

“Then after Grade 12 I thought I would go into dentistry. … I had an uncle who was a dentist and that may have been a factor. My mother, who was a school teacher, encouraged my sister and I to take a profession so you can make a living and be of service to the community.”

His sister ended up becoming a nurse while Tym became a dentist.

“I’m glad I made that decision and I’d do it all over again. The only difference is I’d probably go into a specialty – my sort of preference is endodontics. That’s when you do root canals to save teeth.”

Tym, who has four children and eight grandchildren, opened his office in October 1968.

“There’s been quite a change (in dentistry) since then,” said Tym.

“We had computers come onto the scene in the mid-80s. Now we’re at a point where we have computers in each treatment room and they just punch in the data,” he said, adding 3D imaging is making an impact in dentistry now.

The longtime dentist received Alberta Health Services Long Service Award after hitting the 50-year mark in his profession.

Tym said he couldn’t have made it through 53 years without the help of everyone who has worked at his office – from receptionists to dental assistants.

“They made it easier for me and they made it easier for the patients,” he said.

Now that he’s retired, Tym said he’s got a few things he’d like to do.

“I’m the type of person who likes to have something going on,” he said.

“I used to play a little trumpet, I’d like to get that out again. Just have to get my lips in shape and then join a community band – Red Deer has a couple of community bands.”

Another thing Tym said he’d like to explore is amateur radio, also known as ham radio.

Additionally, he hopes to continue doing some volunteers dentistry through the the Dental Outreach of Red Deer (DOoR) Program, which provides free dental treatment and prevention services for youths between five and 18 years.

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