Today marks 49 years since Rob Wilton graduated from dental school, and now he has decided to retire from the profession.
“I’ll definitely miss it, I’ll miss the people,” Mr Wilton said.
“But it’s time to move on . . . the people you serve deserve to have you at your best.”
He said he knew people in the community valued his work, and had come to trust him.
“Some of them have said to me ‘You’d better not until after I die.
“Doing good things for people and have them be willing to return to your practice is the most rewarding thing.”
Mr Wilton had a varied career, setting up a practice in Milton in 1974, and then buying a second practice in Balclutha in 1981.
“In 1987 I was joined by David Tait, who bought an equal share of the two practices in Milton and Balclutha.”
The pair worked together until 2008 when Mr Tait took over the Balclutha practice and Mr Wilton continued running the Milton site.
“Things have improved a lot over the years,” Mr Wilton, who has served the Milton and Balclutha area since 1974, said.
“In those days we used to use silver amalgam for fillings, which was not the best.
“Now we use tooth-coloured composite resin.”
The make-up of the industry had also changed.
“When I graduated there was one woman in my class. Now the industry is weighted towards women, or it is at least even.”
Six years ago he sold his practice to Lumino, and worked four years full-time under their employ, then two years part-time.
For the past year, Mr Wilton has spent six half-days per month working at the Otago Corrections Facility.
“It’s work I have done previously with David [Tait]. When we first got approached we thought, this doesn’t sound good.
“But it turned out fine, It was like dealing with anybody else. And they have great facilities there.”
Outside of dentistry, Mr Wilton has been a key figure in his community.
He has been involved in the Milton Rotary Club for more than 40 years and has been heavily involved with the tramps organised in conjunction with the Otago Youth Adventure Trust.
They use the tramps to raise money for the community for events like school camps.
“I’m the only about to do my 21st walk of the Milford Sound track.
“I’m the only one who is still around from the original group that started the walking tours in 1986.”
The soon to be ex-dentist has taken up golf as a hobby for his retirement, and will continue with his wife Gretel operating a bed and breakfast in Albert Town.