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Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley

Meet Dr. Nirali Patel: Lehighton Family Dentistry’s Newest Member Focuses on Prevention

Jan 30, 2019 02:11AM ● By Sheila Julson

Since joining Lehighton Family Dentistry this past May, Dr. Nirali Patel’s compassionate and proactive approach to dentistry has made her a natural fit among the clinic’s team. She, along with clinic dentist Dr. Jignesh Patel (the two dentists are not related) strives to offer minimally invasive dentistry in a comfortable, stress-free ambiance.

Dr. Nirali Patel has had a lifelong interest in dentistry. As a child growing up in India, she was intrigued by how her grandmother, who had dentures, was able to still eat well and talk with false teeth. Also fascinated by the artistry and hand skill involved with dentistry, Dr. Nirali Patel began researching the profession, and by the time she graduated from high school, she had made up her mind to pursue dentistry.

After earning a bachelors degree in dental surgery in 2010, Dr. Nirali Patel practiced general dentistry in India for five years. In 2015, she moved to the United States to study at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, at the University of Southern California. She graduated last year and moved to Pennsylvania to join Lehighton Family Dentistry.

Dr. Nirali Patel believes in preserving the natural tooth structure whenever possible, and one way she accomplishes that is by encouraging patients to come in regularly for cleanings and exams so that any issues in the mouth can be detected before they turn serious. She notes that the common silver or amalgam fillings, which have been used in dentistry for decades, causes tooth structure to break down.

“Silver fillings expand because of a chemical reaction and create micro-cracks in the tooth,” she says. “Then if you eat something hard or crunchy, the tooth will fracture. Patients with silver fillings should come in as soon as possible for regular checkups so we can check the tooth structure and replace silver fillings with composite fillings.”

Lehighton Family Dentistry also specializes in dental implants, which Dr. Nirali Patel says is not offered by many other clinics in the Lehigh Valley area. Dental implants replace missing teeth and provide an alternative to removable partial or complete dentures. Implants are surgically placed into the upper or lower jawbone, and are durable and long lasting. Dr. Nirali Patel says most patients are good candidates for implants, except for those taking osteoporosis medication or people with critical medical conditions.

Other services provided by Lehighton Family Dentistry include teeth whitening, veneers, crowns and treatment of periodontal disease, which often begins with a deep cleaning to remove excessive tartar buildup. Dr. Nirali Patel also emphasizes that there is a mouth-body connection, and oral examinations can reveal initial signs and symptoms of systemic disease. A prompt diagnosis of oral health issues facilitates earlier and potentially more effective treatment that may improve and protect overall health.

Because prevention is key to avoiding serious problems in the mouth and body, Dr. Nirali Patel and the Lehighton Family Dentistry staff emphasize regular checkups, but they also realize many people are fearful or develop anxiety about going to the dentist. They schedule patients to be seen promptly for their appointments so they don’t have to sit long in the waiting room, which can build anxiety and stress. There’s also calming music, a tea and coffee station, and patients receive vitamin drinks after treatment.

In the eight months that Dr. Nirali Patel has been part of the Lehighton Family Dentistry team, she says her experience has been amazing, and she takes great joy in helping people smile again through cosmetic dentistry and preventive measures. “People are happy that their teeth look nice again. It boosts their self-esteem,” she enthuses.

Lehighton Family Dentistry is located at 233 S. 3rd St., Lehighton. For more information, call 610-377-5948 or visit

Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.

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