The Bedford Dental Centre was founded in 1982 by Dr. Leigh Smith.
Originally from PEI, Dr. Smith and his wife Regina moved to Nova Scotia for Leigh to attend Dental School while Regina worked as a Registered Nurse. In 1977 Dr. Smith graduated from Dental School and began practicing in Bedford. He eventually opened his own practice, the Bedford Dental Centre, in Bedford Place Mall, where it is still located.
Dr. Smith and his wife Regina have two sons and three daughters. Their three daughters are practicing dentists, two of whom are the current owners of Bedford Dental, Dr. Colette Vallee and Dr. Stephanie Schellenberg. Their son Darren Smith is the Office Manager of Bedford Dental. He helps to manage staff, accounting and overall operations of the practice. Although there have been multiple partner owners of Bedford Dental over the years, the most notable being Dr. Greg Lovely who practiced at Bedford Dental for over 20 years prior to his retirement, the majority ownership has always been within the Smith family.
Although he is retired from the clinical practice now, Dr. Smith had a passion for dentistry that is well-known by all his many patients and staff over his career of over 40 years. A meticulous clinician, Dr. Smith created beautiful restorations for his patients with superb skill and artistry. He was a pioneer in Cerec technology, learning to create in-office crowns for his patients in the 1990’s, before many others in our industry. He had one of the very first intra-oral scanners and mobile computer, whom we affectionately called “Herbie”, and one of the first mills to enable delivery of crowns in one visit. His calm, gentle and friendly approach was appreciated by his many patients, who still comment today how much they loved having Dr. Smith as their dentist.
His daughters Drs. Vallee and Schellenberg joined the practice in 2005 and 2013 respectively, and each had the opportunity and privilege to have their father as both a clinical and business mentor for years before his retirement. Those years will always be regarded as some of the most special working years of the daughters’ careers. Many patients and staff have noted the uncanny similarities in the way Dr. Vallee and Dr. Schellenberg practice dentistry and communicate with patients as being very similar to their Dad. Dr. Lovely was also a mentor for Dr. Vallee during the first eight years of her practice before he retired, and Dr. Schellenberg took over his practice. Dr. Asile El-Darahali joined the practice in 2010 and as a long-term associate has also been mentored by Dr. Smith, especially in the field of endodontics (root canal dentistry). Now that recent graduate Dr. Catherine Murphy has joined the practice in 2022, it has been fulfilling for Drs. Vallee, Schellenberg and El-Darahali to pass on their own experience and guidance to her as she begins her clinical career in dentistry.
Our office has moved locations within the mall over the many years it has been in operation, and in 2021 we completed a full re-build, creating a fresh, new and modern space for our dental patients and staff. The project was a labour of love taking place over the course of three years, with a pandemic in the middle. While we absolutely love the space and environment the new clinic offers, we will continue to provide our patients the same compassionate, knowledgeable, skilled and personalized care they have come to know, to continue Dr. Smith’s legacy. We are proud to be one of Bedford’s longest-standing dental offices, and look forward to many more years of caring for our patient’s smiles.