Dr. Bhende

Dr. Bhende has been practicing dentistry for over 20 years. He received his BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) degree from India. He went on to do a residency and then practiced in India before coming to the United States. He then attended Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine where he graduated with honors and received his DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree in 1999. He later attended New York University for further training in Implant Dentistry. He received a Fellowship from the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (FICOI) in 2003.

Dr. Bhende moved from New Jersey in 2006 to settle in the Western Piedmont Area. He lives in Hickory with his son. He established EcoDental in 2010. His patients include Doctors, Surgeons, Pediatricians, other specialists, nurses, CEO’s other Dentists, Hygienists, dental lab technicians and their families. Some of his patients travel over an hour to be seen by him. He has several patients who have been with him over a decade.

Dr. Bhende is also a U.S. Army Veteran. He joined the U. S. Army in June of the year 2000 as a reserve. He was awarded the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal for exemplary behavior, efficiency and fidelity in June 2003.

He was mobilized for Operation Noble Eagle (Homeland Defense and Civil Support) in 2005. He was also cited for meritorious achievement and extraordinary effort on behalf of the Mills Dental Clinic and the West Point DENTAC in March of 2005. He was promoted to the rank of Captain for his patriotism, valor, fidelity, and abilities. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 2008.
Dr. Bhende has always been enthusiastically involved in the community. In India, Dr. Bhende has provided consultation and treatment in several villages for the underprivileged population. He volunteered for the “Special Olympics” dental screening for patients with special needs in Boston in 1998 and 1999. He was featured in the newspaper “The Boston Globe” for the same.

In North Carolina, Dr. Bhende has volunteered for the Dental Bus sponsored by the NC Baptists Association to provide dental treatment for underprivileged children and adults in Hickory, Lenoir, Newton and Conover areas. He has also volunteered for providing dental treatment for children in need at the Viewmont Baptist Church. He volunteered for the NCMOM (NC Missions of Mercy) to provide dental treatment to the needy. Dr. Bhende has also been an integral part in facilitating the NCMOM clinic in Hickory in 2012. He has also donated his services at the Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry (GHCCM)

Dr. Bhende is a past president of the Western Piedmont Dental Society and is currently on the board of Exodus Homes a non-profit organization in Hickory. Dr. Bhende also supports causes like the Child fund, WWF, Salvation Army, Shriners Circus, UNICEF, and Doctors Without Borders. Dr. Bhende and staff members have also gone on mission trips to Haiti and Romania to provide dental treatment to those in need.


Heather Young

I graduated from Western Piedmont in 2006 as a dental assistant. For the last twelve years, I have enjoyed assisting and helping patients feel comfortable during dental treatment. I love spending time with my patients, helping them understand their dental treatment needs and oral hygiene care. The most satisfying aspect of my job is seeing the transition of our patients smile after treatment.


Karen Dillon

I have been a dental assistant for over 30 years. It is an honor to have the ability to educate people about their dental hygiene and help restore their self-confidence. Dr. Bhende and the staff make working a true pleasure.


Bekah Soots

I have been with EcoDental Since Oct. of 2016. I moved to Hickory in August 2016 after marrying the love of my life. I have a beautiful little girl. I enjoy going on mission trips. I started as a Dental Assistant in July 2015. One of the things I love about EcoDental is how it feels like a family. We have a great working environment that makes our patients feel at home. I love to see patients achieve a healthy and beautiful smile.


Marti Lingerfelt

I graduated from the dental hygiene program at Catawba Valley Community College in 2001. Since then, I have enjoyed a career in dental hygiene, helping patients maximize their overall health through proper oral hygiene and treatment. I have been employed with EcoDental since November 2016 and LOVE my job here with my work family and patients. I live in Granite Falls with my husband and three children. April through November you can find us at Lake James boating, hiking, and swimming.


Caelee Powell

Hi, I am Caelee,
I have been apart of the EcoDental family since 2018. I graduated WPCC as a Dental Assistant II in 2016. I love to see all of our patients smile while helping meet their dental needs. I truly value my job here and love helping our patients feel comfortable while receiving quality care. When not working I enjoy spending my free time with my husband, daughter, and stepson.


Karla Clara

Hi I am Karla,
I graduated from Lake Norman Dental Assistant School in 2018. I have been with the EcoDental family since March 2019. I love helping our patients accomplish their dental needs. In my free time, I love going to concerts and hiking with my family.