Spring Lake Dental Group

Fresh Breath!

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD

We must admit it; all of us have gone through that awful moment when we can’t stand our breath for whatever the reason may be! Halitosis (bad breath) can be the result of multiple things all of which are linked to the presence of bacteria that produce the compounds associated with the bad breath.  It can range from poor oral hygiene, improper cleaning of the tongue, periodontal conditions (gum disease), and persistent infection of the throat or tonsillitis, just to note the most common.  But there is a way to resolve them and in my opinion, we should always start with the “easy fix” and build up from there.  This would be starting to improve oral hygiene and incorporating extra tools into the daily routine.  Always make sure you get your dental cleanings twice a year to discard the presence of gum disease, which requires extra treatment.  More persistent cases would have to be evaluated in more depth to rule out inflammation of the tonsils among other possible conditions.

But, how can oral hygiene be improved?  At Spring Lake Dental Group, we have incorporated a couple of tools that would benefit a wide range of our patients.  The first one is the “Burst Sonic Toothbrush” and “OraCare” mouth rinse.  The sonic toothbrush technology has proven to be very efficient in dental plaque removal especially for patients with different challenges of proper plaque control.  The “Burst” toothbrush is a very affordable option to incorporate this technology into your daily routine.  It has charcoal in its soft bristles giving the benefit of mild whitening of your teeth as well as absorbing bad breath causing bacterial byproducts present in the plaque.  The “OraCare” rinse has been designed to target a wide variety of dental conditions.  We recommend it to patients with periodontal disease, dry mouth, braces, bad breath and to use after dental surgical procedures.  It is a good adjunctive system that will help in fighting the bacteria that produce volatile sulfur compounds (which causes bad breath), viruses, and fungi.

Both of these new tools can help you achieve a healthier mouth.  So, please feel free to ask your hygienist or your dentist about the benefits of these at your next visit!

The Changing Face of Dental Materials Continued

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

Dr. Dickerhoff and smiling patient

Last month, I talked with you about treatment planning a new prosthetic dental material called zirconia dioxide in fabricating crowns, bridges and implant restorations for our patients. The advantages of using this new yet proven dental material lies in our ability to mill it out of a processed block of zirconia that has all the inherent strength we need for service in the mouth yet still can be fabricated to have all the intrinsic properties of color, hue and value so it looks like a real tooth. Since it is being scanned and milled by a computer, sending digital information to the dental laboratory is a real possibility. For the patient, this means that your tooth preparations might be digitally scanned and sent via a secure internet connection to a laboratory for milling. We, at Spring Lake Dental Group, also have the ability to digitally scan and mill our restorations in house.


What should really matter to you is whether these restorations will hold up over time, be asymptomatic and mirror reality. A five year survival study was performed and published in 2010, which stated that the survival rate for all fixed dental prostheses was 94.29%. 76.41% of the prostheses were considered free of complications, with chipping being the most reported complication. This chipping complication was mostly related to layered zirconia restorations. We layer some of our restorations in order to achieve superior esthetics because the base of zirconia cores sometimes lacks the translucency that real teeth exhibit. When I am working on posterior restorations, I almost never layer restorations and breakage of these restorations has never been an issue for me and because our core manufacturing process is getting better and better over time, I am finding that I need to layer in the anterior area less often.

If you have been a patient of record with Spring Lake Dental Group over the years, you probably have seen that we stand behind our work and deal with any complications that arise. Our prosthetic work is guaranteed and your happiness with the complete process and the final outcome is our ultimate goal. As long as you are doing your part and coming in for your routine examinations and cleanings, whenever a problem arises, we are here to fix it! This new class of restoration has me excited to be able to provide a very functional and esthetically pleasing restoration that will keep you smiling beautifully for a lifetime!

Holly Day Fair Chairwoman Lives To Help Others

Posted by: Spring Lake Dental Group, Author: Bill Kirby Jr. (Fayetteville Observer)

Call Angela Carr-Finch a woman with purpose in her life.

Today, she’s busy putting the finishing touches on the 51st Annual Holly Day Fair, which opens a 4-day run Thursday at the Crown Expo Center.

“We are expecting our vendors Monday and Tuesday,” Carr-Finch, 48, chairwoman of the fair, was saying Monday, “and getting ready for our shoppers Thursday morning.”

Carrying the responsibility of the fair itself would be enough for anybody, and yet there is her job as office manager at the Spring Lake Dental Group, where Carr-Finch takes equal pride in her work, and where her compassion for patients recently was recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management based in Alexandria, Va.


Carr-Finch was honored in September with the Elizabeth “Clay” Smith Humanitarian Award.

“She was known for her volunteer efforts,” Carr-Finch says about Smith. “She was a selfless person who made a difference in her community while encouraging others to do the same. Unfortunately she lost her life to breast cancer. The award is all about giving back to the community. Tracy Mozingo and I are members of the Society for Human Resource Management, and she nominated me. I was extremely surprised to be nominated, and then to be the recipient.”

The honor, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, is especially meaningful to the organization, it says, and was created to honor what it describes as one of its more selfless members who lost her battle to breast cancer in 2014.

“This award is given to honor a HR professional who promotes well being, respect and dignity within their community, while striving to make a lasting difference and to encourage others to do the same,” the SHRM says. “In doing so this person exemplified compassion, courage and professional in the practice of human resources as well as their personal lives.”

Giving back to others is just a part of Angela Carr-Finch.

“I am compassionate about volunteerism,” says Carr-Finch, who also serves on The CARE Clinic board of directors that assists the low-income. “I think I got it from when I was a child growing up in Nathalie, Virginia. My parents were givers. My grandparents were givers, too. When you are in a field of service for mankind, you don’t look for a pat on the back. I just do it. If you can help somebody, why not help.”

Carr-Finch says she has learned about giving back, too, from Dr. Dave Dickerhoff, who founded the Spring Lake Dental Group.

“He is an amazing mentor,” she says. “I have learned a lot from him, and he has a lot to do with the adult person I am today. He is compassionate and gives back a lot. He is one of those people who is always giving back.”

Dickerhoff says he has nothing but respect for Carr-Finch, and her heart for helping others.

“Angela is my North Star when it comes to doing what is right,” Dickerhoff says. “Even though she works for Spring Lake Dental Group, her primary passion has always been for doing what is right. She has always been a patient and employee advocate. I admire her never-wavering sense of ethics and humanity.”

Giving back is another reason Carr-Finch relishes her membership with the Junior League of Fayetteville, and takes pride this year in serving as chairwoman of the Holly Day Fair.

“Our platform is children and mental health,,” she says about the league that, according to its website, provides support to children with mental health issues, and the adults who care for them. “We had 22,000 people attend last year, and we are so hoping and prayerful to get more this year.”

To say Carr-Finch is a busy woman is an understatement.

’This week I am in and out of the office,” says Carr-Finch, a wife, mother and usher in her Simon Temple AME Church every other Sunday. “And this week, I’m lucky if I get four hours of sleep.”

She wouldn’t change one hour in herday … or her life.

“I couldn’t have it any other way,” Carr-Finch says. “It keeps me pumped up and motivated.”

Call Angela Carr-Finch, to be sure, a woman with purpose in her life.

Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at [email protected] or 486-3571.

The Changing Face of Dental Materials

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


Dentists in their training have always been challenged to stay abreast of changes in methods and materials that are available to help them restore their patients back to form and function. Esthetics, too, has always been a concern for our patients. Practitioners must always be careful to separate hype from scientific data that guides our decisions. The marketplace changes so quickly and companies are constantly trying to educate us with the next best product that is “the up and coming thing.”

Image result for dental crowns

Evaluating dental literature in a peer-reviewed journal helps us to separate hype and marketing from clearly assess dental materials. As the staff of Spring Lake Dental Group convenes for our monthly training sessions in our education center on the second floor, I have always reassured them that I have thoroughly evaluated a product before training them on its indications, contradictions and use. We may not be the first user on the block, but always try to use good judgment in adopting new techniques and materials in order to stay current.

But within the last decade, newer dental materials in the field of prosthodontics have surfaced and shown great promise in replacing lost tooth structure. Zirconium Dioxide is a monolithic (solid) material that can be used in crowns, bridges and implant restorations. It is tooth colored but unlike past ceramics (glass) we have used in our restorations, it is metal. You can find it on the periodic table as a metal and thus the difference. Porcelains used previously are glasses that have a certain brittleness to them that limit their use in functional on occlusal areas. Our Dentists at Spring Lake Dental Group have looked at the literature supporting the use of Zirconium and agree that there are some stark advantages to using this material.

In my next blog, I am going to present the evidence for why we are treatment planning this material for the benefit of our patients. It is not panacea, but, like any new material, needs to be treatment planned correctly. But suffice it to say that Zirconia restorations can withstand the rigors of the mouth and can also be extremely esthetic. Speak to your dentists about the materials and techniques that he or she is choosing for you. We, at Spring Lake Dental Group, have the most current technology and materials, allowing you to benefit with a beautiful and long-lasting smile.

Warning Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Author: Dr. Rima Solanki, DMD

Despite their friendly-sounding name, impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain and discomfort when you least expect it. For this reason, most dentists recommend removing wisdom teeth before they cause discomfort, damage to adjacent teeth, infection or abscess to the surrounding area, tooth decay, or even cysts to form. A thorough understanding of these signs and symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth can help a patient schedule a dental consultation prior to dental complications arising.

Early detection and monitoring is key. One way to do this is by using a panoramic x-ray. Most dentists advise that patients consider wisdom teeth removal early before they begin to cause debilitating pain. While there are not always noticeable signs of impacted wisdom teeth, there are several warning symptoms that will worsen with time without proper dental intervention. If you experience any of the following signs and symptoms, then it is time to schedule an appointment to remedy the problem at hand.

Common Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth:
1. Throbbing pain in the back of the mouth
2. Swelling around the jaw
3. Swollen, tender, red or bleeding gums
4. Headaches
5. Bad taste in the mouth or bad breath
6. Swollen glands in the shoulder or neck

Impacted wisdom teeth discomfort won’t just go away on its own. If you experience any of the warning signs above or fear that you may have impacted wisdom teeth, schedule an appointment with Spring Lake Dental Group right away. We are committed to putting our wisdom to good use to alleviate your pain and return your life back to normal health.

What, How, Why and How Much?

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

I just got done having a procedure done with my general dentist; when I processed out of the medical office, I was presented a bill for the treatment that was performed. I had no idea what that number was going to be or what percentage of the bill would be covered by my medical insurance. I said a quick “thank you” to God as I counted my blessings that I had the ability to be able to cover that bill. This experience allowed me to reflect over the practices and policies that have been instituted at Spring Lake Dental Group. 

I consider our practice to be very mindful of your finances as well as ensuring your confidence in the treatment you receive. We, at Spring Lake Dental Group, want you to know each time you come in for your dental appointment; what we are going to do, how we are going to do it, why we are going to do it and how much it is going to cost (including your dental insurance benefits.)

We have the technology within the practice to make this happen for you. From digital radiography and computed tomography viewed chair side on a 19’ inch monitor, to intraoral camera systems that capture your unique anatomy, educational animations that describe procedures and complications, and proposed treatment plans that explain costs and insurance benefits before we complete the procedure.

We don’t like surprises here at Spring Lake Dental Group and we hope that you will find our highly trained, friendly and thorough staff more than willing to walk you through each step of the process. A well informed patient is one who values great service, and they receive it they will be more willing to take our educated advice. You no longer have to take your practitioner’s word for it. You will leave each time knowing all the information, from start to finish, and as always, we welcome any of your questions!

Newest technology in North Carolina

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

We have all noticed the effect that technology has on our everyday lives. Most of it is beneficial albeit a double edged sword when not applied to its intended use. I recently received a gift from the Implant Study Club I am a member of and which brought home to me the correct message of the proper application of new technology. The gift was a cutting board and the inscription on it congratulated me for staying on the “cutting edge” of dental technology. Spring Lake Dental Group, since its inception in 1996, has always placed itself on the cutting edge by staying current with dental research, materials, methods and developing technologies. The example I would like to offer is the newest development in dental materials and techniques that allow us to offer an alternative to PFM (porcelain fused to metal) crowns. Typically, these crowns that offered stacked porcelain glass bonded to an underlying metal were the workhorse of most prosthetic dentistry in the last couple of decades. Silica porcelain glass is somewhat brittle and had to be stacked by a trained dental laboratory technician and fired in a kiln oven. Because the coefficient of thermal expansion matched the underlying metal, a restoration could be created that mimicked dental aesthetics and had enough strength that it could be chewed on without breaking.

With the recent development of superior materials, such as dilithium silicate or zirconia metals, suitable esthetics can be achieved with even better wear characteristics. But because technology allows us to use digital impressions and designing capabilities, these materials can be milled digitally and incredibly accurate milling machines. This mechanization allows laboratories to control costs better and the digital information exchange allows us to deliver the restoration much more timely. Because traditional  PFM crowns are abrasive to opposing dentition wile newer restoration are as kind as gold crowns, we have moved towards placing more and more of these restorations. As with most treatment planning, the best restoration is usually achieved by talking with your dentist and evaluating your own individual needs and requirements.

We at Spring Lake Dental Group value our relationship with our patients and will continue to offer you the newest and most cutting edge dentistry…if that is what is right for you!


Author : Dr. Alison Vitelli-Rodriguez, DMD

Today’s medical field has developed so quickly that it still amazes me how impressive a lot of the surgeries our patients go through to allow them to live a wonderful life.  As a Dentist, I need to take care of not only the oral health of my patients but also treat them systemically.  As years go by and science grows, it has been shown the need to cover our patients who have been through heart surgeries and joint replacements with antibiotics before invasive dental procedures (extractions, root canals, crown impressions) and cleanings.  The guidelines of who needs to be premedicated have gone through several updates. The American Dental Association (ADA) has met with the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) to come up with the most recent guidelines for prophylactic antibiotic usage.   All of these recommendations are supported by evidence-based studies and clinical trials that determine the real benefit of premedicating one hour before the dental procedure.

For our cardiac surgery patients, the ADA and AHA follow the 2014 guidelines which recommends premedicating for patients that have had: 1) previous history of infective endocarditis (infection on the lining covering the heart), 2) prosthetic valve replacement or repair, 3) congenital heart defects, 4) heart transplants.

The most recent guidelines for joint replacement suggests that there is no scientific evidence supporting the benefit of premedicating for the majority of the patients with prosthetic joints.  The 2015 guideline was reviewed in 2017 and agreed that premedication will be considered for patients with past history of joint infection, uncontrolled diabetics or patients who have a compromised immune system.  It is also stated that the final decision will be more effective as a comprehensive team effort between the patient, dentist and orthopedic surgeon.

Remember to always ask us for the best recommendation for you.  We strive to provide you with the best dental care and give you the tools needed to better treat you and your loved ones.


Additional sources:  http://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/antibiotic-prophylaxis

Dental School Graduates or Residency Trained Dentists

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

I sometimes use the analogy of Parachutist School at Fort Benning when I think of the difference between a dental school graduate and a residency trained dentist. The school at Fort Benning gives you a very arduous period of training and equips you to perform your function as a parachutist, but it doesn’t teach you how to be a paratrooper. Subsequent experience at Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne Division or tours with Special Operations Units will teach you that subtle difference between being a “five jump commando” and being a combat ready paratrooper. The same analogy can be applied to dental school graduates. They have been through an arduous level of training during their four years at dental school, but dental school prepares you to perform at an entry level position and does not necessarily function to give you philosophy or experience. Residency training is usually hospital based and lasts anywhere from one to three years. It is a period where you can learn from experienced clinicians and you can begin to develop philosophy, judgment and experience. Most dental schools do not teach removal of impacted teeth, multi-rooted root canals, or regenerative bone and gum techniques. These are skills meant for referral to specialists or clinicians who have trained in their indications and techniques. But residency trained dentists have worked underneath a specialist’s tutelage and are very competent in most dental procedures. Most importantly, they are trained in the subtleties of complex treatment planning, especially growth development. Being able to give great advice to a parent about their children might be the difference between wearing braces for two years instead of five or avoiding jaw surgery after growth stops because you steered growth while it was happening. We, at Spring Lake Dental Group, love having the ability to refer to specialists within our practice without inconveniencing our patients, but we are especially proud of our staff of general dentists who have all completed a year or more of post graduate residencies. That’s right! Drs. Dickerhoff, Lewis, Vitelli-Rodriguez and Powell are all residency trained dentists. We hope that this matters to you! Because we take your treatment planning very seriously and want to always treat you as a part of our family. Because you are!

Feeling Anxious? We Got You Covered!

Author: Kimberly N. Powell, DDS, MS

Going to the dentist is enjoyable for a minute few.  Patients usually experience anxiety due to different reasons such as: bad past experiences, fear of the unknown, or listening to “they”.  Here at Spring Lake Dental Group we are equipped with many tools and utilize multiple methods to help us reduce your anxiety.  One method that works for many is distraction from the procedures at hand which can aid the patient in relaxing.  We can suggest listening to music, play movies overhead, drape one with blankets, or provide stress balls.  Nitrous oxide/oxygen sedation, also known as “laughing gas”, is another method to curve anxiety.  A nose cup is placed over the nose; oxygen is initially administered followed by nitrous oxide.  Nitrous oxide oxygen is safe and is very minimally metabolized in the body.  The patient may start to giggle and/or have a tingling effect in hands and feet.  He or she is aware of their surroundings and able to respond to commands.  Before the procedure is complete, the patient is placed back on oxygen for 5 minutes and leaves the appointment with full function of their faculties.  Halcion, or benzodiazepine triazolam, is another option for anesthesia. Halcion is administered as a powder under the tongue and in doses of 0.125, 0.25, or 0.50 mg.  The patient may be groggy, may fall asleep, can take directions, but will not remember the procedure.  However, I am aware of only one patient remembering their treatment.  As with any drug, there are contraindications for its use, such as hypersensitivity to benzodiazepines and pregnancy.  Medical history will be reviewed as with all dental care and the patient will be notified if they are candidates for receiving the drug.  If a patient consents to the administration of halcion, he/she must be accompanied by an escort who will stay during the entire procedure and drive the patient afterwards.  All financial transactions, post-opt care instructions, and questions are addressed before the drug is given as the patient will still present with sedative effects following dental care.  The patient will be escorted to their vehicle by wheelchair.

Although your anxiety is justified, we are here to do what we to alleviate those feelings.We can will take our time to see what works for you and hopefully make you more comfortable and confident to receive dental care with us.

So remember, be true to your teeth or they will be false to you.