Bill Hayhurst, DDS
Bill Hayhurst, one of VIM’s team of excellent dentists, began his connection with VIM about eight years ago when he sold his New York practice to a young couple, who, valuing his wisdom, experience, and genial manner, have held onto him on a part-time basis. When Bill’s time opened up, his wife Joanne, anxious to keep him busy while she was still working, noticed the VIM sign while shopping at Guido’s; that’s how the inquiries began, back in 2008. Since signing on, Bill has dedicated virtually every one of his Tuesday afternoons to the wide range of dental patients VIM brings to him.
“At VIM everyone has wonderful relationships with the patients…when you take money out of the equation, it changes the feeling – you’re giving your well-honed professional skills without looking for any remuneration… there’s a lot of satisfaction in that. I never think of my time at VIM as work. I look forward to it. Other clinicians mention this too…VIM is doing us a favor by letting us come in here to work.”
As an example of the joy and satisfaction Bill feels in his work at VIM, he tells of a young female patient who had a habit of sucking on lemons, stripping her front teeth of their enamel, turning them brown. She came to VIM for help. “It took us only an hour or so to restore them with cosmetic bonding. When we handed her the mirror she took one look at herself and burst into tears! Everyone else in the room was getting choked up too. It was such a pleasure – it made such a difference to that young woman’s appearance.”
In another “only at VIM” experience, Bill tells of the work he and his team completed on a 9/11 victim, a restaurateur from Lower Manhattan whose business had been destroyed that terrible day. He moved to the Berkshires to begin his life over, trying to get started in the same business up here. “He had been in the midst of having his mouth reconstructed when he left the city, but everything was coming apart. He was having trouble smiling; teeth were falling out of his head. We were able to finish his case up properly and it’s made a big difference to his life. He has a pleasant smile now and is running his restaurant as he had dreamed.
Born in Brooklyn, Bill moved with his parents and three sisters to Long Island. As a young boy, he had spent many hours in the office of his next-door neighbor, a dentist with an office attached to his home – a common occurrence in those days – the 50’s – when professionals often had home offices on Main Street. His neighbor was a very professional fellow – a person he admired – a great role model. By the time he was 16, Bill knew that dentistry was what he wanted to do, and his parents happily reinforced that wish.
Bill headed to Fordham University for undergraduate work, and then to Georgetown University Dental School. During his college summers he worked wherever the jobs were: with union workers in a brewery, in a cemetery tidying lawns, and even door to door in a Long Island neighborhood where he tried his hand selling encyclopedias. (one night – quite unsuccessfully….he adds with a smile).
After earning his D.D.S. at Georgetown, during the Viet Nam War era, Bill was accepted for a dental residency in the U.S. Navy at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, where, coincidentally, his first son was born. Subsequently, Bill was promoted to Lieutenant Commander, and stationed (with his wife and infant son) at a small Navy base in Puerto Rico, where, for four years, he was the sole dentist for 300 active duty personnel and their families.
One memorable experience Bill recounts of his Navy years occurred when he was only two weeks out of dental school and was “still supposed to be just following my mentor around”. This was in the Oral Diagnosis Department at Bethesda, and his superior had to step out for a few minutes. Admirals, the top officers of the U.S. Navy, came through Bethesda one day a month for their dental check ups. Who should appear at the office but Admiral Hyman G Rickover – the Father of Nuclear Power. Not daunted, but certainly very nervous, young, inexperienced Doctor Hayhurst replaced the Admiral’s broken filling.
Bill and Joanne enjoyed their four years in Puerto Rico, where their second son was born. When Lieutenant Commander Hayhurst’s tour of duty was about to be completed, he was offered a promotion and residency in oral surgery, a three-year stint at the Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois, thereby committing him and his family to a full 20-year military career. It was a difficult decision, but, in the end, the Hayhursts left the military. Bill joined a private dental practice in Amenia NY. And Joanne began her own career in education. The Hayhursts settled into a home in Lakeville Ct. where they still live today.
What does Bill wish for the Dental Department at VIM? His number one wish is for Digital Radiography. “Digital is instant, and it’s stored in a computer and easily retrieved.” It would be quicker, reliable, make a big difference. The price tag? about $50,000.