Dentist ready to retire after 57 years – had massive student loans

staff photo | Dusty Compton
Tuscaloosa dentist Dr. E.K. Wood, seen in his office on 15th Street, is retiring after 57 years of dentistry.

By Stephanie Taylor Staff Writer

Published: Friday, February 4, 2011 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 11:55 p.m.


For 57 years, Dr. E.K. Wood enjoyed going to work at his dental office on 15th Street every morning.

He looked forward to seeing the patients he’s known for decades and, at 82, he still had a steady hand and an interest in what’s new in his field. So why retire?

“I’m still physically able, and I still enjoy coming every day and meeting the challenge,” he said. “To be able to do that and be able to stop when you can still do it says something to me.”

So, after deciding that time had come, Wood wrapped up his practice this week.

Wood practiced dentistry for years in the 1960s-era building with globe pendants at the entrance. Inside, the decor and equipment are modern and updated, with one exception: He doesn’t have a computer in the office. Throughout his career, he wrote in his patients’ charts by hand, and his wife, Jo Ann, filed insurance claims and scheduled appointments the same way.

That doesn’t mean Wood isn’t technologically savvy. He uses a smart phone to send text messages to his grandchildren and uses his home computer to digitize slides from photos taken on vacations around the world.

“I’m not knocking using computers. This is what works for me,” he said. “A busier practice wouldn’t be able to survive without one.”

The Woods said they will miss the patients and the relationships that have developed over the years.

Wood said he never wanted a large practice, preferring a manageable number of patients, and he never took on a partner.

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