SCHENECTADY – Dr. Cara Hernas didn’t always think she’d be a dentist – in fact – she didn’t finalize her decision to go into dentistry until her senior year of college.
Hernas grew up interested in the health care industry. Her mother works as a veterinarian at Hernas Veterinary Clinic – right down the street from her dentist office.
“Originally I thought OK, I want to be a vet,” she said. “I knew I wanted it to be something in healthcare, but then I was doing a cleaning on one of the dogs teeth and I’m like ‘oh I like this’ and that was it. I was still going back and forth in college and then I kept going back to that time that I had so much fun cleaning the dog’s teeth and granted I’m not a hygienist, who is really the one that does the cleaning, but it’s what sparked my interest initially.”
After getting her dental degree she worked for 16 years as an associate dentist at different locations in the Capital Region, but her goal was always to open her own location.
“They were great,” she said. “I learned different things from different dentists but ultimately being a dentist or a doctor we’re so particular and we like doing things our way and I wanted to start doing things my way now,” she said.
She also always wanted to open her own location in Schenectady.
“This is my hometown, this is where I grew up,” she said. “I grew up on Wendall Avenue.”
She was able to accomplish that dream when she opened her office The Tooth Fairy Family Dentistry at 408 Rosa Road around a year ago. The name for the business came to Hernas in a dream while she was in college where someone called her the tooth fairy. While the Rosa Road location wasn’t the original site, she said it all worked out.
“After being an associate for 16 years and driving everywhere one of the goals was to be as close to home as possible, at least for a little bit and I’m closer to home in this location than the other location, so it worked out very well,” she said.
Since opening around a year ago, she said business has been a little slow but not unexpected for a new place.
“People are responding well to us, they like what we’re doing,” she said. “They like the level of care we’re providing.”
People going to the office are welcomed by a light, airy and very clean and state of the art 1,200 square foot space. The rooms each have top notch equipment and the space includes a lab and sanitizing area. The location offers all the traditional general practice services. She said she uses the cleanest products possible that don’t have chemicals such as Bisphenol A or BPAs.
“We are exposed to so many more chemicals on a daily basis regularly, why do you want to introduce into your body something else,” she said.
For right now it is just Hernas and her receptionist and assistant Krystal Lopez.
“That’s probably what it’s going to be for a little bit and then we’ll bring in more employees,” she said.
She said doesn’t want to become a big corporate dentistry, but remain a small neighborhood place where people can go and have a bit more of a personal relationship with their dentist.
“There’s a need for that,” she said.