Meet the Dentists

Serving several locations throughout Central North Carolina, The Happy Tooth is proud to offer you a range of options for selecting a dentist that’s right for you. Our highly-trained professionals are experienced and committed to ongoing training and education to consistently provide exceptional dental care.

Getting to know our doctors and about our services will not cost you anything. We encourage you to schedule a consultative appointment with any of our doctors so we can help meet your dental needs.Contact Us


Dr. Sara Valencia – Cary

Happy Tooth DentistDr. Sara Valencia grew up in Cary and received her Bachelors of Science degree in Microbiology with a minor in Spanish from NC State. After graduation, she spent a year in the Dominican Republic fine-tuning her Spanish. Upon returning to the States, she worked in dental research for several years and then entered dental school at UNC-Chapel Hill, receiving her DDS in 2013. Following Dental School she completed a two-year hospital dental residency at UNC Hospitals which allowed her to expand her skills in oral surgery, prosthodontics, pediatric dentistry and dental emergencies.

Dr. Valencia enjoys furthering her dental education through CE courses and being an adjunct faculty at the UNC Chapel Hill School of Dentistry. She is a member of the ADA and North Carolina Dental Society. In her spare time, Dr. Valencia enjoys spending time with her husband, Miguel and her two children, Sam and Amelia. When not running after her kids, she enjoys cooking and exploring new restaurants with her husband.


Dr. Min Shin

Dr. Nelson RuizDr. Min Shin is originally from South Korea and received her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry in Chapel Hill. In addition to the completion of her dental education, Dr. Shin worked as a research assistant in a biochemistry lab at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville after graduating from UNC-Greensboro with M.S. in Biology. As a result, Dr. Shin has a strong background in cutting edge scientific research and practical application. Her research culminated in the publication of an article in a major research journal. She enjoys working with all age groups, and providing high-quality dentistry to best suit the individual needs of the patient, in a comfortable and relaxed environment.

She has been volunteering to help refugees and the under-served at the Luke Charity Clinic in Raleigh once a month. She is a member of the North Carolina Dental Society, the American Dental Society, and the General Dentistry Study Club.

Dr. Shin has been married to her husband, Dr. Sae Kim for 10 years. Outside of dentistry, she enjoys traveling, camping and baking.


Dr. Javier Lazaro – Mt. Airy

Dr. Javier Lazaro

Dr. Javier Lazaro, a native of Puerto Rico, received his DMD from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras in 1989. Dr. Lazaro practiced dentistry in his private practice in Puerto Rico until 2008. In March 2008, he and his family moved to North Carolina when he accepted the position as the Dental Director for the Forsyth County Department of Public Health. In April 2016, he joined our Happy Tooth in Mount Airy as our general dentist. Since at a very young age, Dr. Lazaro was interested in painting, drawing and repairing things, talents he inherited from his parents and grandparents. He feels that dentistry combines all these elements. Dr. Lazaro uses his extensive training and his 27 years of experience to help patients with challenging dental cases. He has the ability to design the most beautiful dentures, crowns, and bridges, to near perfection.

Dr. Lazaro has been happily married to his beautiful wife, Zoraida, for 26 years and they have two amazing daughters, Cristina and Andrea, who are both college students. In his free time, he enjoys reading, jogging, outdoor sports, and spending time with his family and friends. He would love to learn how to play a musical instrument one day. If he could have one super power, he would like to have the power of healing.

Dr. Lazaro speaks fluent Spanish and is very excited about being in Mount Airy, and he is looking forward to meeting all of you!

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