Spring Lake Dental Group

Philips QuickPro In-Office Whitening

Are you interested in a brighter, whiter smile? Spring Lake Dental Group is so excited to introduce a new option for teeth whitening that can get your teeth up to 4 shades whiter in just 30 minutes.  

Introducing Philips QuickPro Whitening!


The Process

This is a simple application of a 20% hydrogen peroxide paint-on varnish with an additional sealant layer that helps to keep the hydrogen peroxide layer in place. It allows you to leave the office after the application and go about your day. Just brush or wipe it off 30 minutes later to reveal a noticeably whiter smile!

Is This Right For You?

This option is ideal for those who want to brighten their smile before an event or for those who don’t have the time to do whitening treatments at home. Because the special sealant layer helps to prevent sensitivity, it is also suitable for those who have increased tooth sensitivity from traditional whitening strips or tray whitening. Just like with all other whitening treatments, it is not recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing.

If you are interested in this new whitening option, please give us a call to set up your 30 minute appointment today!

Anxiolysis Treatment Options

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD

Dental anxiety is very common among our patient population.  It can range from certain dislikes (smells, tastes, or sounds) up to a paralyzing fear of even the anticipation of stepping into the office.  It is our duty as dental health professionals to help you through your anxiety, and there are many ways to achieve a pleasant experience at the dental office.  

For me, it always starts by knowing what triggers your dental anxiety. This allows us to determine what to avoid and possible ways to intervene.  Some ways to manage the anxiety at the dental office include simple distractions to help get your mind away of what we are doing (this usually works great with patients who have minor dislikes.)  But for moderate anxiety, we recommend the use of nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas” or oral sedation.

Nitrous oxide is an excellent adjunct to the treatment since it has proven its efficiency and safety.  It is safe to use in pediatric patients as well as adults. It is administered in a combination with oxygen. The the patient is responsive but relaxed.  The benefit of nitrous oxide is that it does not get stored in the body, so you can keep going on with your day as soon as you get done with your treatment.  

A way to achieve moderate sedation for patients with more severe anxiety is with the oral administration (pill form) of a sedative.  In our office we provide the option of administering a one-time dose of Triazolam (brand name: Halcion) which allows our patients to experience a deeper sedation. Now, comparing it to the nitrous oxide, the moderate sedation requires the presence of a family member or friend who can drive the patient home and follow up the post-operative instructions.  Since the Triazolam does get metabolized in the patient’s system and the effects last even after the dental treatment is completed, it is extremely important this is taken into consideration.

As with any medical protocol, we would determine and let you know if you are a good candidate for any of these anxiolysis treatments.  Never be embarrassed to tell us about your dental anxiety. We are here to help you and we strive to help every one of our patients get the best dental treatment and the best experience in our office.  

If you suffer from dental anxiety and any of these treatment options sound right for you, please speak with your hygienist or dentist at your next visit or call us today 910-497-3200!

Silver Diamine Fluoride: An Option For More Effective Dental Care

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

Spring Lake Dental Group is increasing your options for treating active decay, in a way that will give you more ways to practice preventative oral care. It is a liquid material that is used to arrest dental caries and is marketed under the name “Advantage Arrest” from Elevate Oral Care (www.elevateoralcare.com). The active ingredient in this product is Silver Diamine Fluoride and it is applied to teeth that have active decay. It penetrates only 25 microns into healthy teeth but has the ability to penetrate active decay up to 2 milliliters. As we all know, dental caries is a bacterial infection that produces acids that break up the tooth enamel and dentin structure. This medication kills the active bacteria and arrests the further development of any additional tooth destruction. It has been cleared by the FDA as a desensitizing agent for adults over 21 years of age but is being used off-label for many different indications. Some being, for young children with rampant decay where you are trying to eliminate further decay, prevent pulpal death or where behavioral considerations make traditional dentistry difficult. It is also useful in patients with very complex prosthetic dentistry such as, crowns and bridges with active decay around margins of the restoration and you have elected not to replace or re-do the restoration.

It seems like an amazing product and I am sure you are asking why it has not become more widespread in its use. Well, with any material, there is always an upside and a downside. The downside of this product is that the stained active decay picks up a dark brown to black hue once treated. This unaesthetic staining can be a large detractor to patients acceptance to its use. But as with all treatment planning in dentistry, having an informed conversation with your dentist and hygienist can help you to understand the risks and benefits of using this material. For that child that presents with multiple large carious lesions throughout his or her mouth, using this product in a well thought out program of preventative care, it can be an invaluable tool. Plus, for that elderly veteran living on a fixed income, redoing his complex prosthetic work may be an undo strain on his family budget.

We have incorporated this technology into our program of preventative dentistry so that our patients can potentially benefit. At your next visit, please speak with your dentist or hygienist about this product and see if you or your family could benefit from its cavity arresting ability.


Author: Dr. Rima Solanki, DMD

Do you ever wake up with sore muscles or a tender jaw? This may be due to a phenomenon known as bruxism, where one grinds their teeth during the night. Bruxism is usually attributed to anxiety, stress, abnormal bite, sleep disorder or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.

Teeth grinding can be caused not just by stress and anxiety but by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. A study in the November 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association suggests that; teeth grinding is also associated with alcohol and tobacco use. People who drink alcohol and smokers are approximately twice as likely to grind their teeth.

The symptoms of teeth grinding include:

  • Dull headaches
  • Jaw soreness
  • Teeth that are painful or loose
  • Fractured/cracked teeth

Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth during sleep. In some cases, your dentist or physician may recommend taking a muscle relaxant before bedtime. If stress is the cause you may need to find a way to relax through meditation, exercise, counseling, or by practicing yoga.

If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, speak with your dentist today about your options,  910-497-3200!

Ross White!

Author: Kimberly N. Powell, DDS, MS

There was an episode of the NBC comedy, Friends, where Ross goes a little overboard in whitening his teeth.  The results were “glow in the dark” teeth! A beautiful smile with brilliantly white teeth is desired by a large number of the dental population.  This goal can be accomplished by several methods including bleaching trays, in-office express whitening, whitening strips, dental varnishes, rinses, and toothpastes.  Most people want their teeth brighter as quickly as possible. In-office procedures like Zoom use a gel applied to the teeth activated by a LED light to achieve this result, whitening teeth up to eight shades in one visit!  There are dental varnishes that can be applied to the teeth in office (patient can leave after application), stays on for 30 minutes and is brushed off, resulting in whiter teeth up to four shades! Although some find the whitening trays to be a little cumbersome, others prefer them.  The prescribed whitening gel is either expressed in a custom tray or already saturated in prefabricated ones and worn for up to an hour depending on concentration. There are also over-the-counter products that can achieve great results. Whitening strips produced by Crest, whitening toothpastes by Colgate, Crest, Sensodyne (to name a few), and even whitening rinses are some products that can produce the results you may want.  However, tooth sensitivity is a side effect that should definitely be considered before starting treatment. Also remembering to avoid excess beverages, food, products that can stain your teeth like red wine, coffee, juices, tobacco, etc. If there is an interest in dental whitening, consult your dental professional on the options that may be best for you. If you are interested in whitening your teeth, call us today at 910-497-3200 for more information!

“Be true to your teeth, or they will be false to you.”

Oral Cancer by the Numbers

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

This is the American Dental Association’s National Oral Cancer Awareness Month. My guess is that the following numbers are going to astound you. But here we go…

  • The number of NEW oral cancer cases in 2017: 49,670
  • The number of oral cancer related deaths in 2017: 9,700
  • The number of people diagnosed with oral cancer EACH year: 11.2% per 100,00
  • The median age of diagnosis: 63
  • The median age of death after diagnosis: 67
  • The percentage of all cancer cases that are oral cancer: 2.9%

Dentists are trained to know the normal dental and oral anatomy. We routinely screen for any anatomy abnormalities. Most oral cancers start out being asymptomatic and are usually, when pointed out, a new finding to patients. This speaks to the need for routine dental cleanings and examinations for all patients.

Spring Lake Dental Group is equipped with Polaris (intra-oral digital photography) that allows us to capture and follow any anatomic abnormalities. Most abnormalities usually occur from trauma related incidents but need to be treated and monitored.

We also use a computer-assisted analysis called OralCDx, which is an oral brush biopsy that gives us a statistical analysis as to whether a lesion needs to be further looked at through either incisional or excisional biopsy. This means taking a piece or all of the lesion and looking at it under a microscope to determine an exact diagnosis. We, at Spring Lake Dental Group, are trained and capable of using the latest biopsy techniques, including laser removal of a lesion in order to determine diagnosis.

Preventative care is the cornerstone of our practice. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have regarding your oral health. Call us at 910-497-3200 or schedule your next visit!

Food That Fuels Your Body and Teeth!

Author: Dr. Rima Solanki, DMD

Water rules: Water, especially fluoridated water, is the best beverage for maintaining your oral health. That’s because fluoride helps to make teeth more resistant to the acid attacks that can cause cavities. As of 2012, nearly 75 percent of the U.S. population had access to fluoridated water, so drinking water from your own kitchen sink can help prevent dental problems.

If you can, choose dairy: Milk, and other dairy products such as cheese and yogurt, are low in sugar, which is a good thing for your dental health. Plus, they contain protein and are full of calcium, which can help to strengthen your teeth.

Lean proteins for the win: Phosphorus-rich foods such as meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs help to strengthen your teeth and contain valuable protein.

Fruits and veggies pack an extra punch: Fruits and veggies are an important part of any balanced diet, and they are also good for your teeth. Since they are high in water and fiber, they help to balance the sugars they contain and help to clean your teeth. Chewing also helps to stimulate saliva production, which washes harmful acids and food particles away from your teeth.

Nourishing nuts: Nuts contain protein and minerals important for overall health. In addition, nuts that are low in carbohydrates don’t add to your risk of cavities. Why? Because tooth decay is caused by acid-producing bacteria that are activated by carbs. Another benefit is that chewing nuts stimulates saliva production, which can reduce your risk for tooth decay.


Need More Space!

Author: Kimberly N. Powell, DDS, MS

In an ideal oral site, there is enough clinical crown above the gingiva and bone to restore a tooth.  When situations are not ideal, crown lengthening is needed. Crown lengthening is a procedure that reduces the gingiva and/or bone height so more tooth structure is exposed to better support placement of a crown or restorative material and improve aesthetics.  The procedure can be performed on a single tooth or multiple teeth. During treatment, a small amount of gingiva is gently removed using a scalpel, laser, and/or electrosurgery unit. When the bone must be re-contoured, the gingiva is reflected and the bone is delicately removed using a dental handpiece and hand instruments.  The area is irrigated with saline followed by the placement of sutures and at times an intraoral bandage. As with any surgery, swelling, discomfort, and possible infection can be expected, but all can be managed with cold/warm compresses, pain medication, antimicrobial rinses, and antibiotics. The patient will return to their dentist for post-operative evaluations.  Crown lengthening provides an adequate environment for restoration of a compromised dentition.

“Be true to your teeth or they will be false to you.”

Oral Cancer Screening

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and it is our duty to assess and evaluate all areas in the mouth including soft tissue inside and outside of the mouth.  The mouth is a very tough environment and we put our mouths through a lot every day.  This is why it’s so important to pay attention to anything different that we see or feel in it!

The most usual lesion that we see in the mouth is trauma associated ones. Burns and biting are the most common.  These usually resolve in an average of 7 days but the specific amount of time to heal depends on how good the patient’s body healing capacity is and how severe the trauma was.  It will still be safe to say, that it will most than likely be all gone before 14 days.

This is a very important number I always tell my patients to keep in mind.  ANY lesion that lasts for MORE than 14 days, is one that we need to follow very closely.  Lesions in the mouth can have a big spectrum of appearance: red, white, patchy, raised, flat, regular or irregular borders, filled with fluid, etc.  So, if you find a lesion, always look for the characteristics of it and any changes you may notice such as size, texture, color and presence/absence of pain.

Sadly, no one is exempt from developing oral cancer, but certain habits can put our patients to a higher risk of developing malignancies in the head and neck region.  Some of these are chronic exposure to sun, smoking and use of smokeless tobacco.  The location of the lesion is an indicator of how aggressively we need to follow it up.  Most malignant lesions are found at the soft palate (area at the end of the roof of the mouth close to where the throat starts), lower lip (including the border of the lip) and sides of the tongue.

Now you know why we always look around your mouth and palpate around your neck.  We evaluate a lot more than just teeth! If you notice any of the symptoms listed above or are in need of an oral cancer screening, call us at 910-497-3200!


The Advantages of Single Tooth Implants

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

Implant placement and restoration is quickly becoming the standard of care for most patients requiring replacement of a single tooth.  But implant placement and restoration is not routinely taught to undergraduate dental students and most clinicians choose to either refer this service outside their offices or seek out post-graduate training that teaches them the skills they need to treatment plan, place and restore these restorations.  Some clinicians place but do not restore implants.  Others just restore these restorations that have been placed outside their offices.  Here, at Spring Lake Dental Group, we have the technology and experience to both place and restore your implant restorations!

According to Dr. Carl Misch, a leading expert in the field of dental implants and the author of one of the authoritative texts in dental implantology, the advantages of single tooth implants are:

  1. High success rates (above 97% for ten years)
  2. Decreased rate of caries (cavities) of adjacent teeth
  3. Decreased risk of endodontic (root canal) problems on adjacent teeth
  4. Improved ability to clean the proximal surfaces of the adjacent teeth
  5. Improved maintenance of bone in the edentulous site
  6. Decreased cold or contact sensitivity of adjacent teeth
  7. Psychological advantage (the patient feels and functions as is they were their natural teeth)
  8. Decreased abutment tooth loss

Most patients will look at their options of replacing a missing tooth and elect to place a three unit bridge (a dental restoration that gets cemented into the mouth after cutting down the two teeth on either side of the missing tooth.)  Bridges are very acceptable restorations in the right scenario (it is all about treatment planning and having great communication with your doctor), but a lot of patients choose a bridge because they perceive it as being a more affordable solution.  Dr. Misch disagrees and states in his textbook, ”Economical considerations may play in disfavor of the implant reatoration only during the first 7 years.  The single-tooth implant becomes more advantageous economically, not only for health considerations, after the break-even point of seven years, at which time the patient will not need a replacement restoration.  The savings will offset the initial higher cost.”.

We, at Spring Lake Dental Group, are very mindful of your pocketbook and other financial issues.  Each time you come in, we want you to know: what we are going to do, why we are going to do it, and how much it is going to cost as well as other relevant insurance issues, if any. Implant therapy is expensive, as is almost all oral health care therapy.  Delivering that care in a meticulous, kind, caring and technically proficient manner has always been our goal.  The process always starts with having a great conversation with your care providers.  I hope that you will find that we are very adept at educating your about your options so that you are comfortable in our recommendations.

Interested in implant placement? Call us today or talk to your dentist at your next visit, 910-497-3200!