Hello Friends and Patients;

This is a new post to say that the dental clinic re-opened in a different form in May. I will be working Tuesday with Arlene and Wednesday with my wife Robin, who used to be a part of the dental clinic operation some years ago. We will be able to see about 0.3 of our previous  volume of patients and some procedures we will refer out. I remain committed to the continuation of dental services on Hornby Island, where the dental bus was born and should remain.

The backstory: over the last three years, a buyer for the dental practice could not be found . I concluded that the operation of a large bus and travelling with it to another island was outside the willingness of most dentists. Unfortunately, that mode of operation  was essential to be able to hire and retain excellent full-time staff. These were inescapable drivers for full-time practice. Finally, after three discouraging years, at 76 years of age, I saw the writing on the wall and decided to step aside.

Closing seemed inevitable. Between the two islands,  we had 1600 patients, half of them regular. I employed 6 staff, including two  certified assistants and a hygienist. Three more staff were in the background. I used four laboratories, had  all the conventional software and equipment and other support services in place. I was both taking and giving a wide array of continuing education programs. The bus saved about 40,000 commuter kilometers a year for patients, through not having to commute for their dental care.

As an experience,  it never approached burnout but it was a good mini-marathon on a daily basis. My staff often had 11-hour days door-to-door.

Both my wonderful assistants, Arlene Cearns and Aggie Hebert-Mondry,  wanted to retire, and they had already hung on for one more more year to help  me sell the practice.  My excellent hygienist, Louise Hansed , decided to return to her previous life in Cumberland. To top it off, Canada’s major  insurance  carrier for dental clinics decided to un-insure mobile clinics, which included me and four others across the nation. The game was up.

After a brief dalliance with a locum, I elected to re-open a reduced practice rather than pursue off-island work. Once no longer mobile, I could insure it.  I could reduce its size, complexity and  overhead expenses. Perhaps in this simple format it could become an attractive satellite for another dental office, and dental services could be maintained for Hornby Islanders?

Over the winter and spring  I was able to find solutions. We are open for 2023 until the end of October, and  for 2024  as well starting in April . Here’s the profile.

  • It is no longer mobile . The bus is permanently stationed on Hornby  in the same location beside the medical clinic.
  • It is open two days a week, Tuesday and Wednesday
  •  Appointments are made by calling my home 250 335 0824 or texting 250 218 9238
  •  The scope of practice is reduced. I expect it will be about 0.3 of what we did before.
  • We do not take credit or debit cards, only cash an e-transfers. If you are insured, you cover the cost of treatment and we fill out the form for the insurer to reimburse you.

Procedures we will do:

  • Dental hygiene. Those of you who have lived on Hornby a while will remember that except for my final 18 months of practice, I did not have a hygienist on staff but performed hygiene services myself. I enjoy this side of dentistry, especially since my father was a periodontist, one of the first in Canada.
  • Deep prevention in the way that a fast-paced schedule does not permit.
  • Smaller and less demanding restorative procedures. Big work will be referred to select practitioners in the Comox Valley.
  • Conservative procedures which I developed and perfected over my career, essentially methods which retain more tooth structure, cost less and  are less invasive than mainstream thinking. After nearly 50 years of practice I know what works.
  • Select cases of crown work.
  • No denture work.
  • Esthetic enhancement- whitening and restorative cosmetic procedures to enhance the appearance of the smile
  • Pain relief
  • Examination, diagnosis and treatment recommendations . Dr. Walford may  refer  some or all of it to other dental practices

That’s the new format. As most of us do for our medical needs, I suggest that patients establish with another dentist to cover for the months I go away in winter (December to April) so that emergencies are not a problem. But I am open to make life easier for travel and probably the cost of care, and as a sounding board for alternative courses of treatment.

To find another dental practice, please scroll down two pages to see a list of those seeing new patients. It is not exhaustive but I have eliminated those practices that are full.


Dr. Peter Walford