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Doctor Spotlight: Dr. Karen Noel

Dr. Karen Noel

For Dr. Karen Noel, dentistry has proven to be the perfect blend of her passions. “I always wanted to be in the health sciences, and dentistry in particular interested me because I really enjoy arts like sculpting and painting,” she shares. “Just being hands-on, getting to use my hands daily to create and help people, has really been a blessing for me.”

Drawn to Benevis’ commitment to offering quality care for underserved communities, Noel joined the company in 2005 when they opened two offices in her home state of Indiana, Pippin Dental & Braces. “I liked the fact that Benevis had such a focus on providing quality care, so I think that is ultimately what captured me; but also the community we serve was also important,” she said.

Currently, the Pippin Dental office primarily serves patients 21-years of age and under, with around 90% covered by Medicaid. “Since we are serving an underserved community, some of the families may have more difficulty getting into the dental office because of things such as transportation issues or getting off work. We tend to see more cavities on the kids’ teeth, as some haven’t been to a dentist for several years and there’s catch-up work on treatment,” Noel said. “There’s also education for the parents, just making sure that they know how to best support their children’s oral health needs.”

When she first started at Benevis, she wasn’t sure if she would want to treat children long-term but thought it would be a great way to gain experience. “I knew it was going to be a good building block for me, and I grew to absolutely love it,” Noel shares. “There’s always something funny that happens daily with the kids. They have me laughing. Hopefully, I have them laughing. They may be a little upset sometimes during treatment or a little nervous, but we can get them laughing by the end usually and make a good appointment out of it.”

For Noel, one of the greatest rewards has been seeing her former patients return as parents themselves. “A lot of the patients I used to see have now grown and have their own children, and they’re bringing their children to me. I take that as a big compliment, and I really enjoy that.”

When she’s not creating bright smiles, the Indiana native enjoys adventuring in the Midwest, a region she loves. “I’m a big fan of the Midwest in general. We have all the seasons in the Midwest. The cost of living is low,” she said. An avid adventure racer, Noel frequently competes in events combining trail running, hiking, paddling, mountain biking, and orienteering that can last up to 30 hours. Noel’s family, including two elementary-age children, keep her busy when she is otherwise not occupied with work and adventure.

Her advice to aspiring dentists? “I think anybody who wants to be a dentist or says they want to be a dentist when I grow up should do it. I’ve had such a great experience. I enjoy it every day. Yes, I have my challenges, or I have my hard days, but I enjoy the work so much. I enjoy being able to help people and improve their health. It’s a great profession. You get to create, you get to help people, you get to make people happy.”

For current or prospective patients interested in dental services with Dr. Karen Noel or her fellow providers in Indiana, call (219) 533-3111 or visit the Pippin Dental & Braces website for more information.

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