Spring Lake Dental Group

Hard At Work

Author: Dr. David Dickerhoff, DDS, MAGD, FOCOI

If you will be kind enough to let me vent some of my frustration in this blog, I would appreciate it. This pandemic that roared its head in the early months of 2020 needs to be brought under control as soon as possible.  My optimism is based on knowing that many scientific minds and industries are hard at work trying to find ways to test for its presence, develop a vaccine and nail down its epidemiology. Seeing our children at bus stops in the morning as I drive to work without masks and not practicing social distancing makes no sense to me. Seeing presidential rallies at out local airport without these measures as well makes me fear for potential outbreak in our community in the upcoming weeks. As we practice these measures in our office as well as many other mitigating efforts, it helps us to reassure our patients that they can seek elective dental care, even during this pandemic.  The American Dental Association has yet to report any linked exposure to the Covid virus and receiving dental care utilizing contact tracing.

I recently visited a webinar sponsored by the Seattle Study Club where Dr. Leslie Fang, a Harvard professor and physician, told of a breakthrough by Abbott Laboratories, where they brought to the marketplace a test for Covid.  This test will allow anyone to get a positive or negative test for Covid within fifteen minutes by utilizing this ‘swab and analyze’ kit.  The government has purchased the initial production of this test so it is not available to the general public yet.  Their plan is to provide it to first responders and at-risk populations, but my hope is that it will be available to my practice in the very near future.  The kit costs $200.00 and has the capability of testing 40 individuals.  But by identifying asymptomatic individuals and getting them appropriately into treatment and/or quarantine, this will be a huge step in better managing this pandemic.  We are on this list to receive these tests once they become available.  Abbott Laboratories will be receiving a windfall because of this development, but hey, this is America.  You go, girl.

In the meantime, please take seriously our responsibility to social distance and wear masks.  Three coaches in the NFL were just fined 100$K for not wearing masks.  That should send the signal to all of us to step up to our personal responsibility to watch out for each other.  Stay safe out there!

The Anatomy Of The Tooth

Author: Dr. Rima Solanki, DMD

During your dental appointment, you may hear your dentist talking about different layers of teeth and how each part of the tooth shows up on your radiograph. Teeth have three layers. The outer layer of the tooth is called the enamel and it is the hardest and densest material in the human body. It is primarily made of calcium phosphate minerals. The middle layer of the tooth is called dentin. It is less dense and contained fluid filled tubules. The pulp (often referred as nerve) is the most inner layer and contained blood and nerve vessels. When cavities are forming in the enamel, your dentist may recommend to “watch” them when excellent oral hygiene is present. As soon as cavities reach the dentin, your dentist will strongly recommend to treat them since cavities spread very rapidly in to pulp. When cavities reach to pulp, it is necessary to do root canal treatment to get the infection out. The diagram is included for reference. If you have questions regarding your teeth, be sure to talk to your dentist at your next scheduled visit!

It’s Necessary!

Author: Kimberly N. Powell, DDS, MS, FAGD

We understand that most people do not like coming to the dentist. We are also aware of the number of forms that our patients are required to complete. However daunting, we want you to know that it’s necessary. One document that protects the patient’s health information and gives directives regarding to whom that information can be shared is the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) form. This form ensures the patient that only the person or entity that they denote on the form can be informed of their care. In order to treat our patient’s properly, a detailed medical and dental history is needed. This form is extensive, but the more we know about past dental and medical history, the better we can personalize a patient’s care, and be sure that we do no harm. We pay attention to the whole body. Patients who are uncontrolled diabetics, have had recent joint replacements, take certain medications, experienced a recent stroke or heart attack, etc., must be cared for differently than patients with no existing medical conditions, this can mean the difference between an expected outcome at the dental appointment or an extremely serious complication. So, as thorough as you can be, be as thorough as you can be, so we can give you the very best care!

Removable Prosthodontics and How To Care For Them

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD

Removable dentures are a relatively quick and financially reasonable option for replacing multiple missing teeth. Sometimes it can be used as an interim solution during the healing phase of more extensive treatment. There are two main categories of removable dentures: partials and complete. When a patient still has natural teeth present, these will serve as pillars to support a partial denture. On the other hand, a complete denture will be supported only by the bone ridge and soft tissue present as a result of extraction of all remaining teeth. Both of these have the option of being retained or supported by multiple implants in order to provide more stability. This is specially useful for complete dentures wearers with low bone ridges. Another important aspect of removable dentures is how to care for them. Dentures must be brushed and cleaned every day, and patients should never sleep with them in. Debris does get accumulated on the surface of the dentures causing bacteria and fungi to linger on it. Therefore, sleeping with them in will not allow the soft tissue to rest and also cause irritation to the tissue in contact with it. Here at Spring Lake Dental Group, we strive to provide you with all the available treatment options and help you get the best option for you!

Continued Dental Appointments

Author: Dr. Rima Solanki, DMD

This month, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated coronavirus guidelines and recommended that, “all non-urgent dental visits to be postponed until after the pandemic to reduce the spread.” After these guidelines were released, the American Dental Association (ADA) issued a statement responding to WHO, stating, “It respectfully, yet strongly disagrees.” (Link to the statement) At Spring Lake Dental Group, we agree with ADA statement and advised our patients to continue with their future dental appointments. Systemic health starts with oral health and that is the reason, routine dental check ups are extremely essential to maintain health. In addition, there is no scientific evidence supporting WHO guidelines. All safety measures are being taken at our office including patient and employee screenings, practicing great hand hygiene, wearing proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), changing our gowns between patients and proper disinfecting techniques. Furthermore, each operatory in our office is occupied with a UV air filtration system that has ability to filter air to 0.3 microns and it helps reduce aerosols in our office. Hypochlorus acid fogging is also being performed between each patient in  each operatory and at half hour interval at the reception area, hallway and lunch room. The mechanism of disinfection for hypochlorus acid is to destroy the cell wall of microbes or virus and inactivating them. Hypochlorus acid fogging has become the disinfectant of choice at our office. We ask all our patients to continue to keep your dental appointments as we are practicing highest level of safety measures. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call us or talk to us during your next dental appointment.

The Importance of Elective Care During The Pandemic

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) came out with a statement that they recommended that elective dental care be deferred during this COVID pandemic. I could not disagree more. This is the same organization that President Trump has largely de-funded because of their biased ties to China and their lukewarm response to the upcoming pandemic back in February of 2020. But why they would encourage patients to delay or forego their care is an enigma to me. The medical profession as well as the dental profession has used the last couple of months to gear up to the challenges that this virus presents to us. We are familiar with the concept of universal precautions and now that the logistical system has caught up the needs of the profession, we have geared our delivery of care with patient safety in mind.
Spring Lake Dental Group has installed many layers of policies and procedures as well as physical and chemical barriers that limit the risk to both our staff, their families as well as our patients. The patients that have been seen in the last month at our facility have filled our comments pages with testimonials on their observations about the effectiveness of these barriers. The American Dental Association (ADA) has replied to the WHO and said that it “respectfully, strongly disagrees” with the organizations statement. You may assume that the ADA is responding out of its own self-interest, but I would encourage you to look at the groundswell of opinions that have endorsed the ADA statement on the internet.
SLDG will always remain committed to providing emergency care to patients on a 24/7 basis.  But routine, elective care should not be deferred at this time.  Delayed treatment of gum and periodontal disease, cavities, broken fillings, space infections and dead or dying tooth pulps do not respond more favorably by deferring their care.  Elective treatment such as plaque control and cancer screenings are an essential component of preventive health care. Believe in the commitment that our practice has put forth in providing safe and effective care. Continue your march towards a healthy and beautiful oral environment by allowing us to take care of you and your family, even during these trying times.

The Teacher

Author: Kimberly N. Powell, DDS, MS, FAGD

As the school year begins, parents, students, educators are learning how to navigate another year under very different circumstances. Although there are various and valid opinions about how students should be taught, virtual, in-person, hybrid, I believe that our teachers will continue to provide excellent care, support, and instructions under such precarious times. During the quarantine, I was told of the challenges that parents faced when reviewing and implementing their child’s curriculum, keeping their attention focused on the required subject, and managing time effectively. A teacher’s job was spotlighted! I know that their creativity, patience, expertise, love of the profession was witnessed, applauded, and extremely appreciated. They have an understandably important job and made more difficult during this time of COVID. As the year begins, educators will do what they always do, teach with an uncompromising focus on what is in the best interest of the child. As with all students, their protection is paramount. Every profession, president, scientist, engineer, fire fighter, physician, CEO, nurse, tool pusher, police officer, professor, ambassador, professional athlete, artist, dentist had a first grade teacher, how invaluable is a teacher’s job.

Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD

Today we are going to be discussing several terms that some of you might have already heard, but do not necessarily know what they mean. We are going to be diving into some terms in Periodontology (study of the gums and its attachment and health). Two key dental term for our discussion will be Gingiva (gums) and Periodontium (anatomical complex of where and how the gingiva attaches to the bone that supports the teeth). It is of immense importance to keep this system in proper health, hence the importance of daily brushing and flossing. Plaque is the food and bacteria debris that accumulates on the tooth surface. Plaque accumulation is detrimental to the oral environment. It easily collects along the gumline and in between the teeth causing cavities and inflammation of the gingiva.

The most common condition found is gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). This is characterized by red, bleeding and sometimes swollen gums. Gingivitis is reversible by adequately brushing and flossing. Your gingiva should never bleed when brushing or flossing.

If gingivitis is not treated it can progress into Periodontitis, which is the inflammation of the periodontium (support system for teeth). It is diagnosed when we see the presence of bone loss. Unfortunately, periodontitis is not reversible. Bone loss can be stopped if properly treated, but it cannot be regained. This condition presents in different degrees of severity, as well as several complicating factors that contribute to the rate of progression. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) makes sure all dentist stay current on the classification of the disease. Throughout the years, clinical studies have shown the direct link between periodontal conditions and systemic health issues. The mouth is in direct communication with the rest of your body. When there is inflammation of the gums or the bone, it also translates to an array of other inflammatory conditions in the rest of the body. Every time you come to get your teeth cleaned, we evaluate the level and health of your gums. We can’t stress enough the importance of good oral hygiene and regular hygiene visits.

All About 3D Imaging

Author: Dr. Rima Solanki, DMD

CBCT stands for Cone Bean Computed Tomography. It is a radiographic imaging method that allows accurate, three-dimensional imaging of hard tissue, soft tissues, and nerve pathways in a single scan. CBCT technology has become widely popular in implant dentistry, oral surgery, orthodontics and endodontics. It has allowed the evaluation of vital nerve pathways and bone dimensions before an implant placement or performing any other oral surgery procedures. It allows dentists and endodontists to find nerve canals in teeth while performing challenging root canal therapies. Orthodontists use CBCT technology to evaluate growth patterns in patients. At Spring Lake Dental Group, you receive a recommendation to have CBCT taken, before implant placement and wisdom teeth extraction where nerve is nearby, during root canal therapy, to evaluation bony abnormalities, to find fractures in teeth and during orthodontic treatment. For more information, please ask your dentist at your next visit!


Author: Kimberly N. Powell, DDS, MS, FAGD

The internet provides a wealth of information on every professional discipline, social concern, political party and platform, COVID updates and potential vaccines, and everything else under the sun. There are many reputable websites that are excellent sources to feed your inquiry and there are others that do not. This is true of dentistry as well. We want all our patients to have the correction information when deciding their treatment needs. When you have a concern about your oral health, progression of treatment, cost of care etc, the doctors, hygienists, dental assistants, business team members are just a call away, at the office or personal line. We take pride in caring for you, and you have access to our knowledge and years of experience, internet with a personal touch. Our goal is to treat our patients like family. We always make time for family.