Dr. Karen Winterfield-Dodds stands outside her office at Exceptional Dentistry, the dental practice she opened two years ago. (Photo by Alexandra Yearly.)

Karen Winterfield-Dodds, D.M.D., knows that for many patients, a trip to the dentist evokes anticipation and fear.

“That’s something we try to eliminate,” said Winterfield-Dodds, owner of Exceptional Dentistry. “We try to work on the fear factor, because I think that holds a lot of people away who really need the care. So I try to make people comfortable and not nervous.”

As a full-service dental practice, Exceptional Dentistry offers a variety of services for children and adults. They include cosmetics, implants, restorative work, periodontal maintenance, bleaching and even Invisalign, a type of orthodontics.

New patients are always welcome, but Winterfield-Dodds also has patients who have remained loyal after her transition to her current office.

“I worked in a couple different offices in this area, and I have some of my original patients who were my first patients 25 years ago,” Winterfield-Dodds said.

Winterfield-Dodds, 51, said she and her five-person staff are a small enough team to be able to pay close attention to and form a relationship with each patient.

“I can work with them one on one, and it doesn’t feel like it’s crazy and busy,” Winterfield-Dodds said.

At the Lawrence facility, patients will also find digital technology and healthy products, she said. The digital X-rays expose patients to less radiation, and the use of more quality products eliminates toxic materials like mercury.

“They realize that that’s not always what they’re getting in other places,” Winterfield-Dodds said. “So it’s just trying to get the patient the best product in the most comfortable way.”

In the two years since she opened her own practice, Winterfield-Dodds has been busy working towards another achievement, too.

She recently completed a mastership through the Academy of General Dentistry, which consists of 1,100 hours of continuing education. Only a few dentists achieve that honor each year, Winterfield-Dodds said.

“It’s just great to go out and learn more things and bring them back to your practice,” Winterfield-Dodds said. “You just feel really great when you get something that really works that you’ve never learned before.”

Winterfield-Dodds is set to receive that honor in San Diego in July.

As an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, Winterfield-Dodds had already decided to study pre-medicine. It wasn’t until she started working in the dental laboratory for a work-study job that she discovered her niche.

Originally from northern New Jersey, the Yardley, Pa. resident found the location in Lawrence was a great fit for business.

“It kind of had all the things we wanted—it was close to Princeton and Philadelphia, and we thought it was just a really nice are to settle in,” she said.

Exceptional Dentistry is located at 109 Franklin Corner Road in Lawrence. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. the first Saturday of the month. For more information, call (609) 895-8882. On the Web: winterfielddmd.com.