Dr. Sanjay joins pioneer dentist Patrick J. Kelley

"The secret to our success I believe is really treating people better than family," Kelley said.

Sanjay Talluri wanted to be an astronaut until a friend’s father steered the kid into a different universe.

“He showed me that dentists can volunteer a lot of services for the people that need it,” recalled the 31-year North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics graduate who moved to Robbinsville to begin his career last month. “Dentistry is a way I’ve found that allows me to give back to people, give back to community. Plus, it really utilizes my ability to understand science, and I really like to use my hands.”

Talluri sounds a lot like the man who hired him, local dentist Patrick J. Kelley.

“The secret to our success I believe is really treating people better than family,” Kelley said. “All the staff put themselves in the patient’s place and treat them how they’d want to be treated if they were here. That’s really what our foundational philosophy is. We try our best to treat people nice. We’re here to make friends and change the dental health of the whole community.”

There wasn’t a dentist in Graham County when Kelley arrived 29 years ago this month. Today, he sees 600 patients a month in a spacious, modern office at 41 Ghormley St.

He’s needed a second dentist for years. And now he has one – one who shares his commitment to excellence and service.

“It’s challenging, but I like a challenge,” said Talluri, who prefers to be called Dr. Sanjay. “It’s like solving puzzles all day. And I like helping people, I enjoy chatting with people.”

Kelley is enjoying having a second set of hands. “We’re glad he’s here to lighten the load. He’s doing great. He’s a blessing.”

Dr. Sanjay can’t imagine a better place to be.

“I’ve taken my dog hiking on the Appalachian Trail pretty much every day after work. It’s just a five-minute drive from where I live,” Dr. Sanjay said. “When I was here before, I did lots of camping. I’ll get myself a kayak sooner or later.’

He also wants to learn to play the fiddle and piano. Any teachers out there?

“I figure this is southern Appalachia, which is known for fiddle. I figure there’s no better place to learn it than here.”

He feels the same way about dentistry.

“It was an easy decision,” Dr. Sanjay remarked. “It was definitely a selling point for the practice that he’s held in such high esteem. And I get to enjoy that as well.”

Dr. Sanjay is in the perfect place to earn his own esteem.

“We have a great team,” Kelley said. “Most of them have been with me for years – Janie [Haney] for 29, Melissa [Crisp] for 28. Most of the staff has been with me eight years or more.”

The Graham Star

Mailing address: P.O. Box 69, Robbinsville, NC 28771

Street address: 720 Tallulah Rd., Robbinsville, NC 28771

Phone number: 828-479-3383

Fax number: 828-479-1044