Hayward, Clint (Dr.)

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                                     DR. CLINT HAYWARD 
                             Retires After 40 Years in Dentistry
                                     By Joanne Cadogan


When Dr. Clint Hayward looks back over his 40-year career in dentistry he sees thousands of smiling children’s faces. “There were a lot of children in my practice. In fact, they were the patients I enjoyed the most,” he said. Where some dentists might run from the challenge of a nervous child in a chair, Hayward revelled in it.

“I never booked real solid,” he said. “I wanted to have more time to spend with the children, to show them around the office and explain what I was going to do. Sometimes I’d let them watch while I worked on their older brothers or sisters. Once they knew what was going on, 99 per cent of them hopped into the chair without a worry.” Of course, some of his young patients never knew a needle or a drill. “Fluorine treatment was a great advance,” he said. I’ve treated kids who never had a cavity and still don’t.”

Some of Hayward’s funniest and fondest memories of his practice involve his tiniest patients. One day I had a little boy come in who was not yet four. “I thought it might be a good idea to break the ice with a story, so I picked up a children’s book I kept in the office and asked if he would like me to read to him. He said he would. As I read, he watched each of the pages so intently and I thought to myself – I must be doing a pretty good job. He’s really interested in this. When I finished reading he said ‘Now, do you want me to read you your paper?’ And he picked up the newspaper and read a whole paragraph. And here I thought he was too young to read. It’s a good thing I didn’t slip up on any of the words”, Hayward said. “I guess his mother didn’t know he could read either until his sister brought home her report card and he looked at it and said, ‘Gee, you didn’t do so good.’ He said he learned how to read on Sesame Street. It’s amazing what kids can learn from television these days.”

                      Hayward Proud of Contribution to Children’s Dentistry

Hayward is proud of the contribution he made to children’s dentistry, particularly to the children of low income families. Until 1983, when government funding for the program was cancelled, he dedicated every Thursday morning to working on poor children’s teeth. “Teachers in this area were really supportive and took time off to send the children to the clinic. I could have made a lot more money in private practice, but I wanted to do what I could to help the children,” he said. Sometimes doing everything he could meant getting up in the middle of the night to rush to the hospital. “I got called into the hospital for a lot of emergencies over the years – haemorrhages mostly, but if somebody had a bad toothache and was really in extreme pain, I’d go in, particularly if it was a child. I could never stand the thought of a child being in pain.

“I did a lot of extractions in the evening.” Hayward continued with his hospital work right up until April of this year. He made many good friends at Hotel Dieu Hospital, particularly among the operating room stall and the orderlies. “They’ve been extremely good to me,” he said. “This past April one of the orderlies up at the hospital mentioned to me how discouraging it was to get snow so late in the year. “I said ‘The old folks would say it’s just a poultice to take away the old snow.’ “He turned to me and said,” ‘Yes I suppose you would say that.’”

                           For Years, Dr. Hayward Chatham’s Only Dentist

When Hartland-native Dr. Clint Hayward first moved to Chatham 40 years ago, he was the only dentist in town. “When I graduated from Dalhousie University, I started looking around for a place to set up practice. This seemed a prime spot to come because there was no dentist here,” Hayward said. “I set up shop over the old Mic-Mac (building downtown) and kept an office there for five years. Then Bernie Flam, who was the mayor of Chatham at the time, built an office building. I’ve been there for the past 35 years.”

Coming to a town that had no dentist was a sharp move for a young dental physician looking to build-up a successful practise. But the decision had its drawbacks. “I was over-worked for the first fifteen years I lived here,” Hayward said. “The office was packed every day and I was handling a lot of emergency calls at night.” One day Hayward arrived at his office first thing in the morning to find his waiting room already packed with anxious patients. “As I pushed my way through the door, one fellow pushed me back and said, ‘You’re not getting in ahead of me.’ “I was so tired and discouraged I just turned around and went to walk out the door until one lady looked up and said, ‘Let him in, he’s the dentist.’”

Hayward saw many changes in the dental profession from those first harried days in practice to his retirement last week. “It was difficult, but I always kept up with the latest advances. I’d go away once or twice a year on courses to make sure I knew what was new,” he said. Among the most important technical advances he saw during his career were in equipment and materials. “The main change was the air rotor drill,” he said. “That replaced the electric belt-driven drill and was much easier on me and my patients.”

In later years, tooth bonding made a big difference. Hayward said bonding allows dentists to cap a tooth without drilling. The results are also more attractive since bonding replaces the old metal caps with white plastic inserts.

However, one thing that never changed was Hayward’s rapport with his patients. “When I announced I was going to retire, a lot of my patients tried to talk me out of it,” he said. “But I had to stop. The rheumatism in my fingers was getting too bad.”

Faced with the inevitability of Hayward’s decision, patients started bringing in cards and presents to wish him well. “One chap brought in a bird house and another gave me a box of salmon flies he’d tied himself. Another family brought me a beautiful rose bush.” These gifts are testaments to how well Hayward’s patients know him.

Now that he’s retired he plans to devote his time to his hobbies – gardening, golf, fishing, hunting, cross-country skiing and travelling around the Maritimes. He and his wife, Anne, also expect to see more of their five children and six grandchildren.

“What I’ll miss most is meeting people,” Hayward said. “I’ve made a lot of friends over the years. I’m going to miss seeing them.”


Source: Miramichi Weekend – June 05, 1992

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