Spring Lake Dental Group

Whitening Options at Spring Lake Dental Group

Author: Shannon Sutton, RDH

Happy spring everyone! It’s the perfect time to discuss the whitening options available to our patients at Spring Lake Dental Group and get a ready to spring into a whiter brighter smile! We have a few different options to meet your specific whitening needs ranging from take home trays to in office treatments.

First, let me tell you a little about teeth whitening in general. Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are the safest and most common active whitening ingredients. They can be used in varying concentrations to remove surface stains on the enamel and lighten the overall color of the dentin, which is the layer of tooth under the enamel. The most common side effects from whitening are tooth and gum sensitivity. These side effects can be safely managed with the help of your dental professional. Whitening is not right for everyone so an evaluation is needed to determine if it is right for you.

Because we believe in offering the best, cutting edge products for our patients, choosing Opalescence whitening products was a no-brainer. Opalescence has been delivering whitening products to dental professionals for over 20 years. They are proven effective and have years of experience perfecting their whitening products.

Opalescence Go


Our take home option for tooth whitening is Opalescence Go. These are preloaded trays with a concentration of 10% hydrogen peroxide. A box contains 10 upper trays and lower trays that are worn for 10 to 45 minutes depending on your desired results.

Custom Trays


Custom trays can also be made in our office. We will take impressions of your teeth and make custom models along with fitted trays that you can use at home to whiten or deliver fluoride. We carry Opalescence carbamide peroxide gel in a concentration of 10% that can be worn in the trays at home for up to 90 minutes per day.

Opalescence Boost


Our in office whitening system is Opalescence Boost. This is perfect for those who do not want to whiten for longer periods of time at home and want an instant result. A resin barrier is applied to your gums then a 40% hydrogen peroxide solution is applied to teeth during your scheduled appointment time. This gel is specially formulated to activate without a light and deliver long lasting results. A box of Opalescence Go is included in the fee in order to maintain your new brighter smile at home. This option is great if you have an event coming up too!


We have options available for whatever your whitening needs are here at Spring Lake Dental Group. Give us a call today to schedule an evaluation at (910) 497-3200!


Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Author: Dr. Rima Solanki, DMD

April is oral cancer awareness month! Oral cancer is exactly what it sounds like: cancer that occurs anywhere in the mouth. It can occur on the tongue, the lips, the gums, inside the cheek, or in the roof or floor of the mouth. Every year more than 8,000 people die from oral cancer. The reason why oral cancer has a higher death rate is because it often goes undetected until it become too advanced and has spread to another part of the body.

What are the causes of the oral cancer? There is no clear answer, but some potential causes have been identified such as:

Chewing Tobacco or Betel Quid: Excessive tobacco use, whether in the form of cigarette
smoking or chewing tobacco such as betel quid can be substantial contributor and cause of oral
cancer. This is one of the reasons why it is best to avoid tobacco.

Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can put you at risk because alcohol converts into a
chemical called acetaldehyde, which damages the body’s DNA and blocks cells from repairing
the damage. When paired with tobacco, the dehydrating effects of alcohol make it even easier
for tobacco to infiltrate mouth tissue.

Sun Exposure: Repeated sun exposure increases your risk of contracting cancer on your lips,
especially the lower lip.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): HPV is a type of virus that infects the skin and the cells lining
body cavities. For most people, HPV causes no harm and gets better on its own. You don’t catch
cancers like an infection. But the virus can cause changes in the mouth and throat making them
more likely to become cancerous in the future. HPV spreads through close skin to skin contact,
usually during sexual activity.

Diet: Not getting all the nutrients you need, from vegetables or fruits for instance, can weaken
your immune system and make you more vulnerable to the disease.

Age: Most patients who develop oral cancer are above the age of 40.

If you are concerned that you may be at the risk of oral cancer, give us a call to schedule your oral cancer
screening. And if you have been putting off a visit to Spring Lake Dental Group, now is an excellent time to schedule one. Regular visits to the dentist can be the first line of defense against oral cancer!

The Importance of Medical History

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD

Dentistry is a field that commonly gets disassociated with the status of our whole body health. But extensive studies have shown that dental health and systemic health go hand and hand. This is why it is so important for us to know about any medical conditions and medications you may be using. Some medical conditions are of great influence to the dental health such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, pregnancy and surgeries.

The blood circulation in our mouths, specially, our gums, communicates with the rest of our circulatory system. Whenever gum disease is present, our immune system creates an inflammatory response. This inflammation cannot be properly fought by our body cells if uncontrolled systemic conditions are present.

At Spring Lake Dental Group we strive to take care of you, our patient, in the most comprehensive and
professional way possible. In order to achieve this, we need to know you so we can take all the
measures to protect you in every way! I feel is also important for you to know, all this medical
information is used by your dentist and hygienist to take great care of your needs and it is always
confidential. We discuss your medical history together with you because we want you healthy and
showing a beautiful and healthy smile!

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Author: Kimberly N. Powell, DDS, MS

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. It is a disease in which abnormal cells in the colon or rectum divide uncontrollably, ultimately forming a malignant tumor (National Cancer Institute).  The American Cancer Society reports risk factors for colorectal cancer as being overweight/obese, physical inactivity, diets high in red meat and processed meat (i.e. hot dogs and luncheon meats), smoking, heavy alcohol use (more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women). These risk factors can be controlled.  The ones that can not include being older (risk increases as you age), certain ethnic or racial groups (African Americans have the highest incidence and mortality rate), type 2 diabetes, family history and/or personal history of the disease or polyps (abnormal growths), history of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s, inherited syndromes (Lynch syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis).

Signs and symptoms of colon cancer may include changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation or a change in consistency of stool that last longer than four weeks, persistent abdominal discomfort (cramps, gas, pain), rectal bleeding or blood in your stool, weakness or fatigue, unexplained weight loss (Mayo Clinic).

Screening for colorectal cancer is extremely important.  The National Cancer Institute reports the recommendation for regular screenings to begin at age 50 for individuals at average risk, and people at increased risk (family history, IBD, inherited conditions) may be advised to start screening before 50 and more frequently. Screening tests fall into two categories, stool-based tests and visual tests. Stool-based tests are noninvasive and do not require a special diet or bowel preparation (laxative).  The tests look for tiny amounts of blood in the stool and/or DNA/gene changes. Any abnormalities in the findings will need to be followed up with a colonoscopy. The visual test are invasive and include a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. If a positive diagnosis results, surgery, most common treatment, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapies are some treatment options (MD Anderson Cancer Center). The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable 2019 initiative is the Next 80%.  It continues the work that began in 2018 to achieve 80% colorectal cancer screening rates in every community. The rates of new colorectal cancer cases and deaths among adults aged 50 years or older are decreasing in this country due to an increase in screening and to changes in some risk factors, but incidence is increasing among younger adults for reasons that are not known (National Cancer Institute). Still, regular colorectal cancer screening is one of the most powerful weapons for preventing colorectal cancer according to the American Cancer Society.  

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  – Benjamin Franklin

Community Outreach

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

February is National Dental Health Month. In celebration of this national distinction proclaimed by the American Dental Association, Spring Lake Dental Group actively participated in the ADA’s sponsored program called ‘Give Kids a Smile’. We canvassed our local schools and communicated with principals, teachers and school nurses. We asked that they send children to our practice, without dental insurance who they saw as having a need for dental care. We treated these children without regard to payment and are currently still seeing them as their need was greater than what one day could provide. We do this because we have a good heart and care about children in our community and want to give back for the many blessings that we have experienced. We could not do this without your help because of your support of Spring Lake Dental Group as a patient of record. So I want to say ‘thank you’ for your support. Last year, (2018) we provided $6,110.00 in pro bono care for Give Kids a Smile. We are still treating our kids this year so I do not currently have a number for 2019, but the staff and I are happy and proud to be able to help these children.

In other matters, I hope the six people who won Spring Lake Dental Group tickets to go see Three
Dog Night at the Crown Coliseum had a great time. I would have loved to be there with you but my son was
taking me to Maryland to watch my Terrapins play basketball against Ohio State that weekend.

February Dental Health Month also gives me and my staff an opportunity to go out into the community
and give dental health educational lectures. We will be at Overhills Elementary School later this month
and want to thank them for the opportunity to educate and hopefully entertain their young scholars. If
you have a need for something along these lines, please do not hesitate to contact me or our office
manager, Angela Carr-Finch to understand our capabilities. We love to talk dentistry and where the
current state or oral health care is heading.

Again, thanks for your support of Spring Lake Dental Group.

Dental X-rays


Author: Dr. Rima Solanki, DMD

X-rays, also known as radiographs, are an essential part of any dental care treatment plan. They are diagnostic, but they can also be preventative, by helping your dentist diagnose potential oral care issues in mouth before they become a major problem. An x-ray is a type of energy that passes through soft tissues and is absorbed by dense tissue. Teeth and bone are very dense, so they absorb x-rays, while x-rays pass more easily through gums and cheeks. These x-rays allow dentists to find cavities, look at the teeth roots, check the health of the bony area around the tooth, determine the gum health, see the status of developing teeth for children and to monitor good teeth health through prevention.

Dental x-rays are safe; however, they do require very low levels of radiation exposure, which makes the risk of potentially harmful effects very small. Dental x-ray tools and techniques are designed to limit the body’s exposure to radiation and every precaution is taken to ensure that
radiation exposure is As Low As Reasonable Achievable (the ALARA principle). A leaded apron minimizes exposure to the abdomen and may be used when it will not interfere with acquisition of the dental radiograph. Also, a leaded thyroid collar can protect the thyroid from radiation, and should also be used whenever possible.

If you are pregnant, make sure to tell your dentist. During your pregnancy, you may need to have
x-rays taken if dental emergency presents. Use of the leaded apron and thyroid collar will
protect you and your fetus from radiation exposure. Dental x-rays do not need to be delayed if
you are trying to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.

Geriatric Population

Author: Kimberly N. Powell, DDS, MS

Poor oral health and poor general health coincide. A compromised oral cavity can negatively affect diabetes control and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. As the population ages, there is an increase in the prevalence of certain health conditions and oral maladies. Oral disease can significantly impact the quality of life for older adults, including pain, difficulty with mastication affecting the diet, and reduced socialization as a result of an altered appearance (Colgate Oral Health Network). To help prevent tooth loss, caries, periodontal disease, and the associated discomfort in the geriatric population, we must be aggressive in our care. Whether at home alone, with a caregiver, or in assisted living, it is necessary that proper oral hygiene procedures (i.e.brushing, flossing, rinsing) are being performed by the patient or caregiver, that routine appointments with dental professionals are attended, that it’s identified whether a manual or electric toothbrush is best due to patient’s dexterity, that caries and non-restorable teeth are being treated, that if needed prosthetics are fabricated to aid in maintaining proper nutrition, that caregivers are attentive to changes in the mouth. Prevention is important, but when the condition presents itself, intervention is imperative.

Give Kids A Smile

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD

February is the National Children’s Dental Health month, and we are extremely excited to be part of Give Kids a Smile (GKAS). For many years, we have hosted GKAS. On February 11th, Spring Lake Dental Group, together with the American Dental Association (ADA) is going to be a part of this event which is hosted annually all over the country.

The main goal of GKAS is to reach out to our community and provide dental care to children 18 years or younger, who don’t have dental insurance or the means of receiving it otherwise. It touches our hearts and fills our lives of great reward to see the smiling face of a kid who is now out of discomfort or receiving their very first dental cleaning! And this is why we do what we do. At, Spring Lake Dental Group, we are here to help you achieve a better and healthier smile. When we see the joyful smile of a kid who received dental treatment and is now out of pain, it is one of the many rewarding experiences we treasure!

Make sure you mark your calendar and refer your friends to our office! You can find more information on our Facebook page or you can call the office at 910-497-3200. We look forward to seeing you!


Oral Bone Loss-Just for The Old?

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

I come from a generation of adults that may have looked at tooth loss as a process involved with aging. Losing teeth through the actions of progressive bone loss was viewed as a physiologic process. The older you got, eventually teeth were going to fall out.

We now know that tooth loss through periodontal disease is a pathologic process. It is caused by bacterial plaque producing pathogens and the bodys reaction to these pathogens that causes progressive bone loss and subsequent tooth loss. Removing this bacterial plaque and teaching you how to remove it is what your hygienist does for you.

But most people associate this disease entity (periodontal disease) with older adults and the elderly. But did you know that there are forms of this disease that affect the young, adolescents and young adults?

Aggressive periodontitis is a disease entity that is characterized by progressive bone loss usually associated with the permanent first molars (six year molars) and anterior incisors (front teeth). Patient demographics show that it typically affects the young adolescent population. It is thought that the hormones associated with adolescence are a potential food source for the overgrowth of specific bacteria that are especially harmful for healthy bone growth. While the young adult may outgrowthis disease, the attachment apparatus of the tooth to the bone and the bone levels may be irreversibly affected. The mechanism for this destruction is thought to be associated with a particular immune system defect in the at risk patient, a neutrophil cell chemotaxis defect. Neutrophils are immune system cells tasked with protecting us from bacterial invasion. When these cells have a chemotactic defect, they do not recognize bacteria significantly enough to perform this protection role.

While this is a very insidious disease that potentially can cause a lot of destruction, early detection and treatment can bring about a good prognosis. This aggressive periodontitis responds favorably to bacterial plaque control, antibiotic therapy and oral chemotherapeutics (specific mouthwashes and locally placed antibiotic medications).

The key to successful treatment is early detection and aggressive therapy until the patient is through their adolescent period. Having an experienced and stable hygiene staff at Spring Lake Dental Group helps our dentists to detect and treat this disease. Regular checkups with full mouth probing and radiographs are an essential part of maintaining great oral health. Dont let your regular checkups lapse. You have been prescribed a recall period that fits your particular risk factors, whatever they may be. We, at Spring Lake Dental Group love knowing that we are never treating a stranger.

3 Healthy Mouth Habits for 2019

Author: Dr. Rima Solanki, DMD

2019 is here and it’s time to share our favorite mouth healthy habits that will help you achieve the best oral health in the new year.

  1. Establish and Maintain a Proper Oral Health Routine: Remember to brush your teeth twice per day, for two minutes at a time and floss twice per day. This will prevent leaving food debris on teeth and subsequently preventing cavities. It is important to have a proper oral health routine to keep a mouth clean and to prevent a lot of oral health ailments.
  2. Drink More Water: Water is a fantastic tool in the fight against bad bacteria and tooth decay. Water is not acidic, and does not harm teeth at all. In fact, it improves saliva production, which naturally cleans teeth of debris and restores the mouth back to a healthy PH balance. Specially for children, if they must have juice or a sweeter drink, water it down so that they aren’t consuming too much sugar at one time.
  3. Replace Worn out Toothbrushes: It can be difficult to know when to replace old toothbrush with a new one.  A good rule of thumb to follow is to replace your toothbrush after 3 months of use. However, there are some signs that indicate it’s time for a change. If toothbrush bristles are frayed, or pluming outward, then it’s time for a new toothbrush. If you recently had an illness, then it’s best to replace their toothbrush to prevent the spread of unhealthy bacteria.