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In praise of pearly whites...

August 6, 2019

General dentist Dr. Clifford Tym, who’s served generations of families in Innisfail for more than 50 years, still loves bringing a smile to his patients’ faces as he improves their quality of life.

Dental surgeon Clifford Tym has put smiles on Innisfail faces for more than 50 years

Story by Yolanda Genu | Photo by Leah Hennel

INNISFAIL — Dentist Clifford Tym follows a simple philosophy: “When a person comes into our office, we want to make sure they feel better when they leave.”

Tym, a long-service award recipient in Central Zone, embodies excellence, a core value for Alberta Health Services (AHS).

So far, he’s served his Innisfail community for more than 50 years, and built strong relationships with his loyal, diverse patients. He’s served four generations for several families, and continues to put smiles on their faces.

He strives to provide the best care possible and advise patients about all available treatment options. Once their teeth have been restored, his patients are often thrilled with the results.

“People who were once self-conscious about decayed or missing teeth smile for the first time in years,” says Tym.

Reaching today’s career milestone took “love, passion and dedication”—qualities he says he learned from his late mother, who was a young widow and a teacher. She instilled a foundation of excellence early in Tym’s life and encouraged her children to get an education and make positive contributions to society.

Tym earned his two degrees—a doctorate in dental surgery and a master’s in public health—from Loma Linda University in California. Although he initially wanted to study medicine after finishing high school, he ultimately chose dentistry.

“I enjoyed chemistry and biology, but thought dentistry would give me more time for family life, so I switched,” adds Tym.

The opportunity for more independence and the freedom of operating a small business—while taking care of people—served to solidify his decision.

Tym says he’s worked with excellent staff over the years, and describes the key to a well-run office: “People who are willing to work with other people, meet their needs and be pleasant.”

He recalls how dental offices first started using computers in the ’80s, and the waves of technology that followed. For example, the integration of computer-aided design and milling technology enabled dental crowns to be made in the office and inserted on the same visit.

“There’s one thing that’s constant in life, and that’s change,” he says.

Joy and creativity obviously inspire Tym’s work; even after a half-century of practice, he still delights in helping his patients.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to offer quality of life through dental care, and provide patients with the gift of a smile.”

Tym says he’s grateful for his continued good health—and promises to keep serving his community as long as he can. He sees his dedication remains his No. 1 achievement,

“It’s important to choose a career because you enjoy it. Don’t go into it for money; there’s much more to life.”

And, with a twinkle in his eyes, he adds: “I’d rather do dentistry than cut the lawn at home.”