Root Cause: Our History

The practice began as a little corner unit with a small lab, one lobby desk, and two operatories.

Root Cause, formerly known as Susan Gross DDS, Smiles for Life, originated in 1982 in the same location it is today. The office space has grown over the years as well as the incorporation of new scientific evidence-based approaches to prevention of disease and health care.
Early in her practice, Dr. Gross observed that her patients’ overall health and oral health were connected and has been a pioneer in the practice of integrative dental medicine. For over 40 years, her philosophy of practice has been to develop a relationship with her patients in order to provide personal individualized care.


Dr. Maria Miller-Rinaldi was exploring the next steps in her career and reached out to Dr. Gross in 2019 to ask about her journey as a business owner, dentist, and mother.

Through their many meetings and collaboration, a friendship and mentorship formed that was based on their shared vision for integrating oral health with systemic health, which allows them to support the overall wellness for the whole person.

Both doctors chose each other in their journeys and Dr. Miller’s experience, training, background, and passion for learning provides the perfect combination to continue the work that was deeply rooted by Dr. Gross all those years ago.