Spring Lake Dental Group

Records for Transfer

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

I sit in my office on a Sunday afternoon completing tasks that I meant to do during the week and just never found the time. Today, it is processing records for transfer.  It is a task that I have come to appreciate because of my past service within the military. Soldiers get military orders and have to PCS to different locations. It is a part of what they do. The turbulence created by a military move has to be incredibly stressful. Between all of the plans you have to make in order to make it a organized transition, getting your health records to follow you has to be a part of that plan. A conscientious continuation of care is an important part of achieving optimum health. I realize this and it is the reason why Spring Lake Dental Group puts a large emphasis on providing accurate information to whomever is lucky enough to get our patients at their next duty station.

With digital technology available to us and the internet, the transfer of information has the potential to be a seamless endeavor if care is provided in the level of accurate data that is transferred. During your time with us, we have dedicated a lot of man-hours in compiling information about your health history, medications, allergies, level of anxiety, chief complaints and any number of stories about past experiences, both good and bad. This assists us in providing top level care to you and your family at our level. Would it not be beneficial if some care provider in your future had all that information as well?

We understand the stresses that life’s journey places on our patients and we try to do our part in helping you deal with at least some of them. Therefore, we provide high resolution copies of all of your digital radiography to include computer tomography, panoramic and cephalometric views. We document and provide all periodontal probings, bleeding on probing, furcation involvement and mobility charting. A full list of all procedures done on you during your time at Spring Lake Dental Group is provided with dates when they were performed.

Lastly, what I do before the record is released to you is to provide a cover letter that explains where we have been and where we are going. It includes a full periodontal assessment with recall recommendations. It details when your last appointment was with us and if any future recommendations have been made. I am not aware of any other dental offices that provide this service. Yes, they may provide a copy (?) of you records and they are entitled to even charge you for this service. We do not feel compelled to charge you as we are very humbled that you would choose us to provide your health care. Caring for our family members, soldiers and retirees has always been a huge honor.  I just wanted you to know. Thanks for reading about my meanderings as I sit here and muse about how lucky I am to be doing the things I do.


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

Your hygienist will tell you to brush your teeth at least twice a day, in the morning and before bed, floss at least once a day, preferably before bed, and rinse. With braces, this routine will require more time. Although it can be an arduous task, it is of vital importance. Plaque and food retention greatly increases with braces. The patient must continue recare appointments with their hygienist, brush the front and back of the teeth, above and below the brackets, and use flossing aids like floss threaders. The goal is to maintain a healthy dentition with the new hardware. Lack of proper home care will cause gingival inflammation, caries initiation, malodor, additional dental treatment. It is a huge disappointment to spend months to years in braces and have to spend more time and money for restorative treatment after the braces are removed. So remember, be true to your teeth or they will be false to you.

A New Restoration? Why?

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD

Often times you will hear us tell our patients that they need a new crown or a new restoration (filling). “Why?”, is the most common response. Unfortunately, dental work is not guaranteed to last forever. We always do our best to provide optimal, lasting care but we also have to consider the hostility of the environment of the mouth. There are several reasons why fillings, crowns and bridges fail. Fractures of the restoration itself, cavities formed under the restoration, open margins, excessive wear, etc. Failure or fractures of the restorations is commonly related to excessive biting forces created during clenching of the teeth. Some of these forces cause flexing of the tooth and restorative material, which in turn compromises the integrity of the margin of the restoration. Patients with high risk of decay in their mouths are prone to have recurrent decay under existing restorations and along the junction (margin) of the restoration with the tooth. There is not one sole cause for a restoration to fail but one factor can initiate additional ways for a filling or a crown to have to be replaced. As with any problem in life, the longer you leave it go, the worse is going to get.  With this being said, the sooner we see and diagnose a failing restoration and the sooner we treat it, the easier and more conservative the solution will be.

An Update For Our Patients

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

Governor Cooper has eased restrictions in North Carolina and folks are starting to feel as if this pandemic is behind us. Walmart has announced that mask wear is not required IF you have been fully vaccinated. I watch what is happening in the public arena and I wonder how I should be treating my patients at Spring Lake Dental Group.  Some of my patients have expressed frustration in our screening process at the front door and the social distancing in our reception area. I am writing this blog at a time where I understand that we are in a period of transition concerning battling this viral disease. We anxiously await new guidance, but as of 10 June 2021, I am still on the side of aggressive precautions and following the recommendations of the CDC. Our practice no longer charges for an additional PPE fee, but our policies and procedures have not wavered concerning universal precautions in dealing with this pandemic. It does mean that we are seeing less patients and having to jump through many additional hoops in managing our daily schedule. But we are swayed in following current scientific guidance and evidence that sometimes comes to us at a maddening slow pace. In June, North Carolina still reported 3,515 new cases and our general population’s vaccination rate is only at 43.8%.  The national rate is 51.5%. In North Carolina, 73 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week of June 10th. In the week before that, 120 people were reported dead. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but we are not there yet, in my opinion. Please have patience with staff and protocols that we have instituted that are there for your protection. Hopefully, the CDC will be providing new guidance in the near future.

On a better note, I am very proud to announce that Dr. Alison Vitelli was recognized at the annual convocation as a Fellow within the profession. She earned this honor by accumulating 500 hours of continuing education, being in the academy for at least three years and passing a rigorous examination of 292 questions challenging her knowledge of twelve disciplines of dentistry. We are extremely proud of Dr. Vitelli as only 6% of general dentists have earned this honor. Congratulations, Alison!

We are also proud to announce in my upcoming blog an addition to our staff. She is a residency trained dentist that has a special interest in treating pediatric patients. She will be joining us in August as she travels here to join her husband who is an emergency room physician at Womack Army Hospital. More to follow, but we are very happy to have her join our staff.


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

This past weekend we commemorated Independence Day. Your gatherings probably included sports, boats, swimming pools and most with with food, fireworks, and fellowship. It is important to celebrate all victories not just the ones designated as holidays. Each day let us make an effort to applaud, encourage, praise actions and attitudes that benefit our families, communities, state, and country. Bad times, hard times are inevitable. So, when those times pass, when we have overcome the difficulty, no matter how small, let us show our gratitude by celebrating….even with food, fireworks, and fellowship. 

Congratulations Are In Order

Congratulations are in order for some of the staff member at Spring Lake Dental Group. On Saturday, we celebrated the beautiful wedding of our Insurance Coordinator, La’Tesha Perkinson, now, Mrs. Leath! I know she is loving the way that sounds! La’Tesha has been a one of our most valuable business team members, and she has been with us for almost 9 years. She has grown here and her well-rounded knowledge on scheduling, insurance and treatment plans make her an amazing asset to our dental practice. Mr. and Mrs. Leath have a beautiful daughter who is greatly loved by all of us.

We also have Devares who just welcomed a wonderful addition to his family. This past weekend, him and his wife had a baby girl! They are now home and are doing well. Devares recently join our business team and is constantly showing his professionalism and dedication to our practice and to most importantly, to our patients.

Lastly, I am humbled by all the kindness and great spirits of all of you who had congratulated me on receiving my Fellowship Award from the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). This is one of the 3 awards the AGD grants, followed by the Mastership, and Lifelong Learning and Service Recognition (LLSR). In order to receive the Fellowship award, a dentist has to be a member of the AGD for at least 3 years, pass a 300 question test, and participate in 500 hours of continuing education in all areas and specialties of dentistry. I have to most sincerely thank my boys, my family and Dr. Dickerhoff and Janice Dickerhoff for encouraging me and supporting this big effort, every step of the way!


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.  

Aging and Dental Health

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

We are living longer.  Because of the growth of the aging population, attention is needed in maintaining their oral health.  According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), dental caries (tooth decay), periodontal disease (gum disease), xerostomia (dry mouth), and oral cancer are oral conditions that the older population are more prone to develop. Limiting alcohol consumption which is an oral cancer risk factor and tobacco use which is an oral cancer and periodontal disease risk factor can help maintain oral health. To help prevent tooth decay, drink fluoridated water, brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and floss. If you wear dentures, remove them before bed, keep them clean, brush your oral cavity to remove plaque and stimulate tissue circulation. Visit your dentist twice a year or even every three or four months depending on the recommendations of your hygienist/dentist for clinical and radiographic evaluations and oral cancer screenings. Continue with your biannual dental appointments even if you wear complete dentures as these appointments will address any denture adjustments needed and screen for oral cancer. Arthritis in the geriatric population can be a barrier to adequate tooth brushing. The AGD suggests securing your toothbrush to a wider object, such as a ruler, or try an electric toothbrush.  Always keep your dentist aware of any concerns you may have. We are here for you.

(Major source for this article is Academy of General Dentistry / AGD-Factsheet_Aging)

Sinus Congestion Causing Tooth Pain

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD

Recently we have been seeing several cases of severe sinus congestion that is the cause of a toothache. But why?

The maxillary sinus is a membrane. It lines the cavity in our head and on both sides of the nose where air flows through. Sometimes, allergies promote a response from our immune system and create thick mucus that sits at the base of the maxillary sinuses. The anatomy of the sinus varies from patient to patient. Some sinuses are quite low, to the point where molars and some premolars on the upper arch extend their roots into the sinus cavity. When there is congestion and mucus present in the sinuses, this pushes the back teeth down, also known as extrusion. This temporary extrusion is just a less than a  millimeter but, it is enough to create pressure on the ligament that holds the tooth to the bone, and also enough to alter the bite. This can cause temperature sensitivity, as well as pain upon chewing. 

The good news is that this pain is temporary and will go away after sinuses are cleared up. Severe sinus congestion will often require antibiotic treatment in conjunction with nasal decongestant and sinus rinses. This spring season, stay healthy and enjoy the beauty of the season!

A Big Deal

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

When our patients have dental work performed, there are certain instructions that are given. We are not trying to inconvenience them, but hoping that an expected and agreeable result occurs. Here are a few examples of do’s and don’ts after dental care. Do return to the office after getting a filling if your bite feels “off” or “high”. When adjustments to the filling are delayed, the tooth can become sore because of the excess pressure on the site and subsequent bruising of the supporting tissue. The adjustments are quick, no anesthetic is usually needed, and your bite will feel better. Do tell us if something is uncomfortable after seating a denture or partial. Not expressing your discomfort will have you returning to the office for adjustments and can cause sores in your mouth due to an ill-fitting prosthesis which could have been corrected the day of seat. Don’t smoke after a tooth extraction. Our post-op instructions help facilitate the best possible outcome after surgery, and we advise to not smoke for three days following care. We know that post-op complications can happen even following the instructions to the letter, but those are the exceptions. Smoking after an extraction can disrupt the blood clot in the socket causing a dry socket. Dry sockets are very painful, more so than the toothache. Don’t listen to “they”! We are here to answer all of your questions. The “they” experts can steer you down the wrong path, have you delaying needed treatment, and keep you in pain. We are here for you at the office and even a phone call away.