Spring Lake Dental Group

The Link Between Oral Health and Systemic Disease

The oral cavity is the intersection of medicine and dentistry and the window into the general health of the patient. Hundreds of diseases and medications impact the oral cavity, and pathological conditions in the mouth have a greater systemic impact than many providers appreciate.  It is unclear whether there is direct causality or just an association between periodontal disease and certain other systemic conditions, including atherosclerotic vascular disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes, pregnancy-related complications, osteoporosis, and kidney disease.  Diabetes has a true bidirectional relationship with periodontal disease, and there is strong evidence that treating one disease positively impacts the other.  Primary prevention- treating the patient prior to the onset of symptoms, myocardial infarction, stroke, diabetic complications or significant periodontal disease—is the challenge.  Complications associated with these conditions cause significant morbidity and mortality and are incredibly costly to the health care system.  Unfortunately, a lack of access to primary medical or dental care prevents some patients from engaging the system until a negative event has occurred.  Despite the absence of clear evidence of causality and the direct impact of treatments, the consequences of these chronic conditions for the population are well understood.

Did you know that patients with periodontal disease are…

-24-35 percent more likely to develop plaque in coronary arteries

-4.5 times more likely to suffer from an ischemic stroke

-2.6 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease

-93 percent more likely to be at high risk for diabetes

-at a 62% increased risk for pancreatic cancer

-at an increased risk for lung infections

-At a 30-50 percent higher risk of giving birth preterm or to a baby with low birth weight

Your dentist doesn’t just treat cavities and gum disease.  These systemic conditions made more pronounced by the presence of untreated periodontal disease are a threat to your general health.  Taking care of your mouth helps you to also take care of your whole body.  One is linked to the other.

Take great care of yourself by keeping your regular dental visits regular.  We, at Spring Lake Dental Group, are excited about keeping the whole body healthy.

Why is My Dentist Concerned with My Diabetes?

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

Diabetes Mellitus is an absolute or relative insulin insufficiency caused either by a low output of insulin from the pancreas (type 1) or resistance of peripheral tissue to insulin (type 2). Well-controlled diabetics can live a long and uncomplicated life with proper management of lifestyle, diet and medications for both types. Type 2 diabetics are usually managed by diet regulation, weight reduction, oral agent therapy starting with Metformin (Glucophage) and sometimes injectable insulin as well. Diabetics are concerned with sugar metabolism in their bodies and allowing this energy supplying component to pass into their cells for appropriate use. Because this is the foundation for all other metabolism (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins), the diabetic patient is at risk for any number of systemic (whole body) diseases that can manifest with poor sugar metabolism control. As it pertains to the dental office, uncontrolled diabetes puts patients at risk for periodontal disease, which is the result of a loss of attachment of the tooth to the surrounding jaw structures. Continued loss of attachment can lead to tooth mobility and eventual loss.

The insidious nature of periodontal disease as attachment loss progresses is the deepening of pockets around the tooth that hide bacteria and bacterial by-products which cause bone destruction. That is why your hygienist is charting your attachment levels with a periodontal probe! Periodic radiographs aid in this diagnosis as well as the detection of any soft tissue changes such as redness or bleeding. Routine blood tests at your physicians office can also aid in diagnosis as well as advising of the proper management for the condition. Hemoglobin A1C is a test where your physician will advise you on your level of control on your diabetes.

At Spring Lake Dental Group take your diabetes control so seriously in both its detection and management, we have numerous goals in our treatment of our patient population.

  1. Avoid diabetic ketoacidosis, where your body turns to using alternative pathways so it can provide energy to your system
  2. Avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  3. Optimize hemoglobin A1C (HgA1C) to levels below 6.5%
  4. Aggressive blood pressure control
  5. Avoiding diabetic complications

We do this routinely by screening all of our patients for hypertension and updating their medical histories at every appointment. Taking blood sugar levels from our diabetic patients when we are performing invasive procedures is required as well. When treating our highest risk patients, they are put on monitors, prophylactic supplemental oxygen and a record is kept of their blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, heart rate and blood oxygen levels. We have low blood sugar level monitoring kits and supplemental sugar tabs available for any patient suffering from low blood sugar.

Keeping your diabetes under strict control requires having a conversation with your dentist and hygienist on a regular basis. We, at Spring Lake Dental Group, always welcome and encourage those conversations!

The Ultimate Guide to Toothpaste Selection

Author: Dr. Rima Solanki, DMD

One topic that patients routinely ask us dentists about is, “How do I know which toothpaste is best for my daily use?”. There are many different brands of toothpaste out there that are fabricated for different purposes and each one has a unique flavor and underlying ingredient. There are a variety of factors that one must consider when selecting the right toothpaste and the crux of it has to do with the ultimate goal the patient has in mind.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), choosing the right toothpaste is crucial for proper dental care. No matter what toothpaste you choose, it is important to select a brand that indicates a label that it has been approved by the ADA. This tells consumers that this toothpaste has been tested and that the ingredients are proven to be effective.

Here are some things to consider when buying toothpaste:

Cavity Fighting: Fluoride in the form of sodium monofluorophosphate, sodium fluoride and stannous fluoride are the only agents accepted by the FDA as ingredients that help prevent caries. Fluoride strengthens teeth to help prevent tooth decay and remineralizes tooth enamel in the early stages of tooth decay. If you are at a high risk of getting cavities, you should ask your dentist to write you a prescription for an anti-cavity toothpaste such as PreviDent 5000 Plus.

Sensitive teeth: Toothpastes that contains potassium nitrate or strontium chloride will help desensitize the teeth. The ADA recommends a variety of Sensodyne products if tooth sensitivity is your main concern.

Tarter control: Hardened bacterial plaque is known as tartar. Once tartar has built up on your teeth, it must be removed with professional dental cleanings. However, you can prevent the plaque from becoming tartar with a toothpaste that contains pyrophosphates, triclosan and zinc citrate.

Whitening: Peroxide: Essential ingredient in whitening toothpaste that is the most effective at removing stains from the outer layer of the enamel however teeth sensitivity is a common side effect. Talk to your dentist at Spring Lake Dental Group before you decide to purchase one!

Let’s Watch It

Author: Kimberly N. Powell, DDS, MS

You come in for your 6 month hygiene appointment, and your attention is directed towards your radiograph to see a small dark spot on the outer border of your tooth, between two teeth.  You’re informed that this is an area of decalcification, where your tooth is starting to breakdown, or of early formation of a cavity.  Instead of planning restorative treatment for that tooth, you’re told, “let’s watch it”.  When a carious lesion is found in JUST the enamel, there is a chance for remineralization of the area. Meaning, the lesion will not progress to the dentin (the layer below the enamel.)  For remineralization to occur, one of the most available products that can be used is your own saliva.  Saliva keeps teeth rinsed and at a neutral to alkaline pH which offsets the acidic pH needed for caries formation.  One’s diet must also be considered as a diet rich in carbohydrates, sugar, acid, and the resulting acidic oral environment is the perfect atmosphere for the progression of caries.  Fluoride treatments have long been used to help remineralize teeth.  These treatments can be administered via your fluoride toothpaste, prescription fluoride drops applied in mouthguards, and prescription toothpaste like PreviDent.  It’s repeated often, but brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day are enduring protocols for fighting caries formation and progression.  In a rather healthy mouth, efforts to remineralize teeth is beneficial and possible when the noted recommendations, adequate saliva flow, a healthy diet, fluoride use, and proper oral habits, are followed.

8 Tips to Help You Overcome Dental Anxiety

Author: Dr. Rima Solanki, DMD

Many people experience intense fear and anxiety when thinking about visiting the dentist. It is estimated that between 10-20% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to anxiety or fear. Perhaps you may have an unpleasant memory from your childhood of an unprofessional dental practitioner, or you may be somewhat embarrassed that you haven’t been keeping up with your regular check ups. For many people, dental anxiety is disturbing and can be disabling for the emotional component of the human psyche. However, at Spring Lake Dental Group, there are options like nitrous oxide and halcion which allow patients to alleviate fear and make the experience as relaxing and stress free as possible.

8 ways to deal with dental anxiety:

  1. Tell your dentist about your anxiety. Some patients feel better if the dentist tells them what is happening at every step of the process. Other patients prefer to have the dentist talk about something other than the work that is being done. Tell your dentist which method you would prefer prior to the start of your dental procedure.
  2. Take frequent breaks throughout the procedure. Let the dentist know if you raise your hand, it means you need him/her to stop for a minute.
  3. Listen to music or watch TV. Bring an iPod and noise cancelling headphones, close your eyes, and concentrate on your favorite songs instead of the sounds of the dentist’s office. At Spring Lake Dental Group, we also offer a blanket and in some treatment rooms, allow you to watch TV/movies as part of our comfort package, so make sure to ask during your appointment!
  4. Bring a friend. It can help to know you have someone you trust sitting in the waiting room and keeping you calm.
  5. Have something to hold.  Kids may want to cuddle a teddy bear. Adults may choose to have a worry stone, a stress relief ball or a hand grip to squeeze during treatment.
  6. Picture yourself somewhere else. Visualization techniques such as imagining you’re on the beach watching the waves can help relax you.
  7. Consider oral sedation. Before your appointment, call your dentist about your fears and discuss whether you should take a prescription.  Make sure you follow your dentist’s instructions regarding any medication.
  8. Consider intravenous sedation dentistry. In extreme cases, there are some patients whose anxiety has reached the point of becoming a phobia.  In these cases, talk to your dentist about whether intravenous sedation may be the best option.

 Benefits of Intravenous Sedation:

1) Higher Level of Sedation

2) Safe and Quick Acting

3) Conscious Sleep-Like State

4) Little to No Memory of the Procedure

The most important thing to remember is there are ways to cope with dental anxiety so you or someone you love can have a beautiful and healthy smile.  The first step is to talk to your dentist.  Make an appointment today at Spring Lake Dental Group 910-497-3200!

Happy New Year from Spring Lake Dental Group

As the year 2017 is coming to an end, Spring Lake Dental Group would like to reach out to our patients and wish you all a very happy new year and all the best for a healthy and prosperous 2018! We, as a practice, are looking forward to the new year with a renewed sense of purpose. We realize that we are exceptionally lucky to be able to provide oral healthcare to an amazing patient population that includes; our soldiers, their families, retirees and citizens of Harnett and Cumberland counties. Spring Lake Dental Group has always strived to provide this care in a conscientious and kind manner. It is very important to us that we stay current with continuing education, equipment, materials and methods. We are extremely fortunate to do what we do and that is why we are always looking for ways to give back.

In 2018, Spring Lake Dental Group will continue to support the Care Clinic, both by staffing the Robeson facility as well as seeing their patients within our own facility once a month. We will continue to support the ADA’s ‘Give Kids A Smile’ during Dental Health Month in February. In addition, treating patients from Cumberland County’s Better Health Program. Our practice actively supports United Way of Cumberland County, Dental Lifeline Network’s Donated Dental Service, in which Dr. Dickerhoff serves on the board. We are proud to belong to ‘Rebuilding America’s Warriors (RAW.com), a program that assists wounded and debilitated soldiers. Lastly, when the Missions of Mercy (MOM) program returns to Fayetteville in the new year, you can be sure Spring Lake Dental Group will fully staff their efforts, in addition to supporting a local church’s efforts to providing pro-bono care to deserving individuals in July 2018.

These are just a few of our efforts that show our constant commitment to this community and its well-being. Spring Lake Dental Group has been serving you for 22 years now and through your loyalty, compassion and continued support, we are able to give back in a way that has tangible results. So again, WE thank YOU, our irreplaceable patients and wish you a very happy holiday season and new year!

She Doesn’t Like to Brush

Author: Kimberly N. Powell, DDS, MS

The title reads “she”, but “she” and “he” can be used interchangeably.  Parents can get frustrated when their infant/toddler refuses to allow their teeth to be brushed.  Parents express their concerns when that same behavior is repeated during hygiene appointments. It is imperative to know that a crying child can be a caregiver’s best offense when attempting to clean their oral cavity.  While the mouth is open, a moist towel or kids’ toothbrush can be used to clean their teeth, tongue, roof of mouth, and cheeks; remember to be gentle.  According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the use of fluoride toothpaste for children younger than 6 years is effective in reducing caries.  The evidence also showed that ingesting pea-sized amounts or more can lead to mild fluorosis (white spots/discoloration of enamel).  Considering children are also exposed to fluoride through consumption of food and beverages and aid in the risk of developing fluorosis per the ADA, the recommended use is a smear of toothpaste from eruption of the first tooth to age 3 years followed by use of a pea-sized amount for children aged 3 to 6 years.  Remember to always supervise your child while they are brushing.


Figure 1.  The toothbrush on the left shows a smear of toothpaste (0.1 milligram of fluoride) and the one on the right a pea-sized amount (0.25 mg of fluoride).

Children get use to most routines.  Even though it is challenging, practicing healthy oral habits early will aid in continuing these practices in adolescents and adulthood.


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.