Spring Lake Dental Group

The Sugar That’s Good For Your Teeth

Author: Bonnie Lott, BS, RDH

It is widely understood that decay in teeth is caused by the carbohydrates or sugars that we consume in our diet. Naturally occurring bacteria breakdown sugar and turn it into acids, which then weakens the enamel of the teeth. But did you know that there is one sugar that is actually good for your teeth?! Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from plants that is equal in sweetness to sugar. It is a sugar alcohol and is used as a sugar substitute which can be found in chewing gum, toothpaste, confections, nasal spray, and dietary supplements. Bacteria in the mouth are unable to digest xylitol, thereby reducing the number of acid producing bacteria and helping to keep a neutral pH level in the mouth. Xylitol prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth, resulting in less plaque. It has virtually no effect on blood sugar and
insulin levels and has 40 % fewer calories than sugar.

For the amount of xylitol to be at decay preventing levels, it must be listed as the first ingredient on food labels. Health food stores are usually a good source for xylitol products, as well as several companies online. Xylitol has been approved for safety by the US FDA, but only for human consumption. Beware of your pets consuming products with xylitol, especially dogs, as it can be life-threatening! Always check your peanut butter before letting your dog eat any, as xylitol is now added to many brands of peanut butter!

In order to maintain optimal dental health, remember to brush thoroughly twice a day, floss once a day, limit your exposure to sweets, and chew xylitol gum! Visit your dentist and hygienist regularly to keep your smile beautiful!

Taking Accurate Blood Pressure Readings

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

We at Spring Lake Dental Group believe that the oral cavity is a part of the larger body. We treat the entire body and understand that there are many variables that will influence treatment and the general health of our patients. We frequently treat some of our at risk patients on monitors while we are delivering care. This includes positive pressure oxygen delivery with or without nitrous oxide (laughing gas), pulse oximetry, and monitoring and recording the arterial pressure, diastolic and systolic blood pressures and heart rate. We believe that preventing a problem is better than reacting to a problem. All of our patients get screened for hypertension and our patients on blood pressure medication have their blood pressure monitored routinely. A recent article in the dental journal, General Dentistry (September/October 2019, Volume 67, Number 5) outlined basic steps for accurate blood pressure measurement.

I present these suggestions below to help us to help you

1.) Ask the patient to refrain from smoking cigarettes, drinking caffeinated coffee, and participating in strenuous activity such as exercising for at least 30 minutes before measurement.

2.) Ask the patient to urinate before the BP is taken.

3.) Have the patient take a sitting position with feet flat on the floor (legs uncrossed) in a seat that provides back support.

4.) Ask the patient to relax for 5 minutes before the BP is taken.

5.) Ensure that the patients arm is bare, no clothing should be on the arm.

6.) Ensure that the patients arm is supported at the level of the heart, the patient should not support his or her own arm.

7.) During the BP measurement, ask the patient not to; talk, move the arm, use a mobile phone or read.

8.) Minimize the background noise.

9.) Have the manometer positioned at the clinicians eye level.

10.) Use the correct cuff size

We have three different sizes of cuffs in our clinic and three different stations to house a vitalometer

But by paying attention to our patient’s blood pressure, we are treating the entire body and the complete patient. Blood pressure is one of the chief indicators of stress, dysfunction and how the body homeostasis is performing. We use this data to better treat our patients in their efforts to have a healthy oral environment.

What To Expect When You’re Expecting….. Your Braces To Come Off

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

Today day is the day! Months and even years of getting wires changed, debonded brackets, multiple appointments, sore cheeks, tender teeth, denying yourself popcorn, gum, and caramel, the wait is over. It is truly an exciting time! Your brackets will be popped off with the wires and cement removed from your teeth. Brushing and flossing now will be something that dreams are made of, Heaven! However, it will take some time to get used to the retainer. Saliva can pool underneath which causes you to swallow more often, and the teeth can hurt. Talking will be a challenge with the retainers too, enunciation will be tricky! Then there are the awkward moments of removing and inserting them in public places because you can’t resist the chocolate candy bar at the department store counter, hilarious! Although initially uncomfortable and somewhat inconvenient, it is necessary to wear them as prescribed by your orthodontist. In my case, I am to wear them all the time for six months except to brush and eat. If post-op treatment is not maintained, teeth will relapse and the time spent correcting tooth alignment and bite will be all for naught. As patients, we must adhere to the plan as the orthodontist addresses our concerns. The relationship between the patient and the orthodontist is a marriage. So, cheers to a long, healthy, happy relationship!

About Us

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD

Happy September! This is a very special month for me.  Fall season starts, it’s my birthday month and also I celebrated my 5th year anniversary at Spring Lake Dental Group.  I am truly blessed and thankful for being an associate with Dr. Dickerhoff.  So, this month, I would like to use this mean to brag a bit about the practice I am a part of!

As you all may know Dr. Dickerhoff established SLDG with the vision of treating all patients like family.  I remember when I first walked through the front door and I was greeted with a smile and welcomed by my name.  It was such a valuable detail that marked my first impression because I felt acknowledge.  This is what we mean by treating our patients as family.  We know you from your family, the moments in your life all the way to the details of your well-being and dental needs.

Also, we know how crazy life gets and traveling to different locations in order to care for your oral health is not always convenient.  For your convenience we are a multidisciplinary practice where have board certified specialists on staff. We offer orthodontics (braces), endodontics (root canals and nerve treatments) and periodontics (gums and bone).  As a general dentist, I can tell you, we all face cases that we understand are better addressed by a specialist due to how delicate they might be.  All our specialists are amazing, another reason to be so proud of Spring Lake Dental Group!

Radiographic 3D Imaging: Patient Safety

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

In 2001, CBCT (Cone Beam Computed Tomography) scanners were made available in the United States for dental use. They were expensive and very few dental practices had the ability to invest in this technology. But the advantages of this technology were soon to be made apparent. With the increasing acceptance of implant therapy as a modality to treat edentulism (missing or lost teeth), the popularity of CBCT grew. Traditional dental radiography showed our patients in two dimensions. CBCT, through digital software technology, allowed us to see and manipulate our patients in three dimensions. We now could visualize and locate specific points of anatomy that were essential to the safe and effective placement of implant fixtures. We could calculate whether there was enough bone to support an implant in lateral as well as depth measurements. Also, avoiding important anatomical landmarks like the maxillary sinus or the mandibular nerve/vascular bundle could be appreciated. The technology could be used to diagnose pathology as well as growth and development problems. Since Spring Lake Dental Group invested in this technology, we have used it to benefit our patients in a myriad of applications. The downside of this technology was in its proper use and structure. Ionizing radiation has always been the risk/benefit decision that has to be considered when prescribing the use of this technology. As with other radiographic modalities, CBCT imaging should be used only after a review of the patients health and imaging history and completion of a thorough clinical examination. In accordance with the as low as reasonably achievable(ALARA) principle, radiation dose for dental patients should be optimized to achieve the lowest practical level to address a specific clinical situation. Managing the field of view and using the lowest combination of tube output and scan time are essential parts of managing the risk associated with ionizing radiation. Planmeca, the manufacturer of our CBCT unit has published their Ultra Low Dose protocol. We have trained on this protocol and believe strongly in trying to protect your health but at the same time, utilizing current technology to achieve the greatest outcome

The American Dental Association (ADA) published a Special Issue in August of 2019 on Dental Practice Success: Your Guide to a Healthy Practice in which they laid out the protocols for safe use of CBCT technology. We at Spring Lake Dental Group rely upon this guidance and technology to assist us in providing the kind of care that you have grown to expect through our twenty three years of service to this community!

Remineralization of Teeth

Author: Dr. Rima Solanki, DMD

There are multiple ways to remineralize your teeth if you have incipient cavitated lesions (starting of a small cavity). The best way to remineralize is by practicing excellent oral hygiene daily. Brushing and flossing 2 times a day is sufficient for a healthy mouth. However, it is strongly recommended to brush and floss after eating if you have multiple incipient cavities. Always remember to dilute your mouth with lots of water after having sugary or acidic drinks and avoid sticky candy that can linger on teeth for several hours. Your dentist may recommend a prescription toothpaste known as Prevident 5000 Plus that has higher fluoride content than your normal toothpaste. This in turn helps with the remineralization process of teeth by allowing them to absorb fluoride which is a mineral that helps prevent cavilties. In addition to that, you can also get fluoride trays fabricated which can be kept in the mouth during the night to enhance the remineralization process. You can also consult about your dietary habits with your dentist as this is the main contributing factor that leads to getting cavities.


Author: Kimberly N. Powell, DDS, MS

I am currently wearing traditional braces and have not followed my orthodontist’s recommendations. Because of my noncompliance, not wearing my elastics, my treatment is ongoing in excess of three months so far. Although I have easier access to care considering I work in the same office as my orthodontist, accelerating treatment is not possible. At this stage of care, elastics (rubber bands) are used to correct the bite, how the upper and lower teeth meet. They are to be worn 24/7 except for the TRIAD – To brush, To eat, To replace. Yes, it will be uncomfortable at first, but your body will compensate. Being compliant will prevent prolonging treatment, additional visits to the orthodontist, taking time off from work and school, and increased maintenance cost. Please be compliant, your smile will be glad you did!

Get Back To School Ready

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD

Summer break is almost over and back to school arrangements are on the go!  Do you all think about your children’s dental check-up as part of their routine before heading back to the new school year? We understand that a lot goes on preparing for school, and unfortunately, dental appointments are not at the top of everyones list. But it should be, as it ensures that your child’s oral health is taken care of.  During the dental hygiene appointment, we provide a teeth cleaning, take radiographs as needed and check for any cavities, making sure that we decrease the chances of developing pain or infections during the school year. We also follow up with growth and development, as well as prevention of trauma. We are still on time to take care of any treatment needed to be done before heading back to school!  Have you made your re-care appointment yet? If not, call us today to schedule 910-497-3200!

Growing Up Smarter

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

I have seen enough years in this world to appreciate that trends change and being a lifelong student is important in adapting to society’s latest changes and challenges.  My parents grew up at a time when the dangers of smoking were not as well known and smoked a pack a day. I grew up at a time where my parents put a high premium on their children not being cigarette smokers. I have watched the decline in cigarette smoking among Americans and have attempted to run a progressive tobacco cessation program within our practice.  According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of smoking among Americans in 2017 is 14%, the lowest rate in many decades.  A reason to celebrate, no? Unfortunately, nicotine use has skyrocketed among our youth and has reared its ugly head in the form of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

ENDS are tobacco products and common brand names for these products are Njoy (Njoy, LLC), Juul (Juul Labs) and Blu (Imperial Brands).  According to an article in the July/August 2019 of General Dentistry, “In 2015, 29.8% of adult ENDS users were former cigarette smokers, 58,8% were current smokers (using both) and 11.4% had never been regular cigarette smokers. Thus, there is no decrease in tobacco use; on the contrary, these numbers represent an explosion of tobacco use, especially among vulnerable ‘vaping’ teens, which currently represent 1% of the population.”

Marketing has led many to believe that vaping is a safe alternative to smoking, which is not based on fact.  The active ingredients in vaping smoke include nicotine, formaldehyde, diacetyl, acrolein, and heavy metals from the battery in the device.  Nicotine is a potent vasoconstrictor which decreases the amount of blood flow to some of the most sensitive tissues within the body, which include the gums in the mouth.  My observations in treating my smoking population during my dental career are that they are delayed healers that have many more complications to healing than do my non-smoking patients.  Nicotine use puts them at an increased risk for periodontal disease which is a loss of attachment around teeth and subsequent bone loss.  Recovery rooms stays are 20% longer for smokers than non-smokers and smoking retards wound healing.

Vaping vapor is detrimental to the health of the user and the vaping cloud is detrimental to those who are exposed to the exhaled gases. So why are our youth using this product in increasing numbers?  Remember when you were a teenager?

The novelty is appealing and the marketing of a safe alternative to smoking is getting our youth ‘hooked’ as nicotine is an adductive chemical.  Educating our youth on the dangers is essential.  Assisting them on getting them unaddicted is a challenge.  But as a parent, my hope is that education is the key.  Our practice is always available to talk openly with our patients who want to pursue a nicotine free life style.  Open that conversation with us today.

Space Maintainers for Pediatric Patients

Author: Dr. Rima Solanki, DMD

As a parent, you may have heard your dentist recommending space maintainers for your child if there is a premature loss of a baby tooth. Baby teeth are referred to a primary teeth in dentistry. The reason why your child may need a space maintainer is to make sure that the permanent tooth which will subsequently replace the primary tooth has enough space to erupt into the correct position. If the space is not maintained, permanent teeth that grow before age 6 or 7 will begin to shift and the net result will lead to the loss of space for other permanent teeth to successfully move into their proper position. At Spring Lake Dental Group, we recommend four types of fixed space maintainers. There are nance appliances for upper arch, lower lingual arch for lower arch, band and loop and distal shoe that can be used for the upper and lower arch. For more information, please consult with one of the dentists at Spring Lake Dental Group if you have any questions or concerns.