Dr. Benson takes over for Dr. Ron

By Mike McKenna

A dental explorer, also known as a sickle probe, is one of the most common tools of the trade for dentists. Of course, what really makes a great dentist isn’t just an ability with tools, but also the ability to connect with the people they care for.

For nearly a quarter of a century, “Dr. Ron” Fairfax ran one of the most popular dental offices in Blaine County. Ron and his staff watched their patients grow from kids to parents, from parents to grandparents.

“Being a family dentist in a small town for nearly 25 years was great. It just created so many relationships. I got to follow families. I’d see them every six months and find out what’s happening with them,” said Dr. Ron, who is now officially retired. “I miss the people.”

Dr. Ron began practicing dentistry in Southern California and originally came to the Wood River Valley to help some friends move here in 1983. When he got home, he jokingly told his wife, Pamela, that he’d never take her to Idaho to visit because she’d want to move there.

They started visiting regularly in 1986 and wound up moving to Hailey in 1996. Dr. Ron opened his dental office the following year.

The Fairfaxes raised two sons locally, Matt and Scott, and immediately became active in the community. Dr. Ron joined The Chamber and helped fundraise for the annual Days of the Old West Fourth of July fireworks. He also served on the Citizens Committee to get the Local Option Tax enacted and was on the Friedman Memorial Airport Board for 20 years.

Besides his dental practice, what Dr. Ron is perhaps best known for is championing the creation of the Campion Ice House. He also spent countless hours driving the Zamboni for the free outdoor ice rink in Hailey each winter.

When Dr. Ron decided to retire so he and Pamela could spend the non-hockey season exploring America on a boat, he wanted to make sure his practice was passed along to the right person. The ideal candidate would be “very personable, committed to dentistry and who would care about the community.” Dr. Chase Benson was the perfect fit.

“We feel really lucky,” Dr. Benson said.

Chase, his wife Sheyanne and their young son Bronx have been calling Hailey home for six months now and have quickly taken to the small Idaho town.

“People have been so nice and friendly,” said Dr. Benson, adding he’s lucky that Dr. Ron’s longtime staff has stayed on.

“I really do have a passion for dentistry,” Dr. Benson said. “What I love about it is developing relationships with people and having the capability to make people feel better about their teeth or relieve them of any pain or discomfort.”

Dr. Benson’s goal is to “keep Dr. Ron’s great tradition going,” he said.

“I think he’s a good choice to take over,” Dr. Ron said. “I hope he gets involved and loves the community as much as I do.”

For more information, go to BensonDentalDMD.com or call (208) 788-0048.

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