L. Dawn Christian, DDS

71 Valley Street, Ste. 101

South Orange, NJ 07079

+1 973 761 4800


Meet Our Staff —Your Extended Family!  

Expert Dental Care and Warm, Friendly Service 

At Village Dental Group, our entire staff is dedicated to restoring and maintaining the health of our patients’ teeth and gums, while making the experience a positive, pleasant one. To ensure this, we offer the full range of the latest professional treatments, with a focus on preventative dental care and patient education. 

Our newly remodeled state-of-the-art practice has a friendly atmosphere that puts our patients at ease. You won’t find a crowded waiting room or have trouble scheduling timely appointments. 

Our Staff Dentists have over 10,000 credit hours of advanced training in numerous specialties including Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Implants, Dental Veneers, Teeth Whitening, Porcelain Crowns, Emergency Dentistry, Orthodontics and Periodontal Disease.

“I find all the staff at Village Dental more caring — they have more of a personal touch; they make you feel special, not like just another patient. You don’t feel like they’re just getting the work done to get it over with. The personal touch is a very important factor.”

Our Team of Professionals

South orange Dentist Dr. L. Dawn Christian

Dr. L. Dawn Christian, D.D.S.

Dr. Christian graduated from Howard University College of Dentistry in 1984. She worked with Dr. James Lassiter in Summit and Dr. Neville Thame in Montclair New Jersey, before leaving to serve as Director of Dentistry at United Hospital. Upon hearing that the hospital was going to close, she began a part-time Dental practice, and went full-time in 1997. She opened her own office in 1998, which has expanded and grown to its present location. She also pursued post-graduate work at New York University Dental School in Full Mouth Rehabilitation. She is a member of several Dental Associations, including the prestigious study club, Journey to Excellence. She is experienced in many phases of Dentistry and works with a respected group of specialists. This is a General Dental practice. The youngest patient is 3 and the oldest is 95 years young.  Dr. Christian is married and has 2 daughters.


  • NJ Dental Association
  • ADA
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • Fellow Institute of Natural Dentistry
  • Commonwealth Dental Society
  • Journey to Excellence Study Club

Dr. Trevor F. Simmonds, D.D.S.

Dr. Simmonds is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology, and has been practicing periodontics and implant dentistry since 1993. He received his B.S. from Montclair State College, his D.D.S from Howard University, and completed a general practice residency at King’s County Hospital in Brooklyn. He received his certificate in periodontics from University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, currently known as Rutgers Dental. Dr. Simmonds is the Program Director of the Advanced Program in Periodontics in the Manhattan V.A. Medical Center. He also holds an academic appointment at NYU College of Dentistry. Dr. Simmonds brings a wealth of knowledge to our practice and expert service to our patients. He is skillful in providing implant placement and traditional periodontal treatment (gum disease treatment).  Dr. Simmonds also implements new technology such as minimally invasive laser therapy.  Outside the office, Dr. Simmonds enjoys spending time with his wife and family. He is an avid sports fan and loves playing tennis.


Dr. Garrison Copeland, D.D.S., Orthodontist

Dr. Copeland believes that self-confidence and a beautiful smile go hand in hand. He is committed to providing exceptional care and treatment for every patient he has the privilege to serve. HIs career goal is to continue to bring light to people’s lives through their smiles. Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio with severely misaligned teeth, he understood at an early age the significance of having a healthy and aesthetic smile. Determined to help others facing similar circumstances, he pursued a career in Orthodontics. Dr. Copeland earned his Bachelor’s degree at Morehouse College, his Doctorate of Dental Surgery at Howard University, and his post-graduate orthodontic training at Case Western Reserve University, back in Cleveland. For the next seven years, he practiced orthodontics in his hometown and was responsible for helping more than 3,000 patients achieve healthy, beautiful smiles. In 2018, Dr. Copeland chose to continue his training at BronxCare Health Systems, where he focused on Cosmetic Dentistry and Implants, and was named Chief Resident. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world so hard in March 2020, Dr. Copeland felt a strong call to duty and service. Considering it both an honor and an obligation to help those suffering, he volunteered in the hospital’s Family Medicine Department to assist Covid-19 patients with treatment and recovery.


Judy, RDH & Office Manager

My love of dental hygiene and bringing smiles to our patients has made me passionate about my career! I have been in the dental field for past 30 years and truly enjoy working for Dr. Christian for the past 14+ years. I earned my degree in dental hygiene from NYU College of Dentistry. The professional staff and state-of-the-art equipment we use at the practice affords me the opportunity to provide the best dental care for our hygiene patients. Working in a dental practice that focuses on oral health through routine cleanings and check-ups makes a happy environment to work in. I consider it a privilege to serve our community by providing the best dental care for our patients. If you are considering joining us for your oral health, I look forward to welcoming you.


Ghislaine Tuekam, RDH

Growing up, I witnessed poor oral health stemming from poverty and lack of appropriate education. After migrating to the States from Cameroon, I was determined to educate myself and those around me about oral health. Therefore, I graduated from BCC Dental Hygiene school in 2012, then joined Dr. Christian’s office shortly after. I have loved working with her ever since because of her passion for helping her patients achieve their ultimate dental goals. I strive to do the same by treating and educating my patients! Their healthy and beautiful smiles bring me a sense of accomplishment.


Diane Narayani Dhanraj, RDH

I graduated from New York City College of Technology in May 2019 and joined the team at Village Dental Group in February 2020 as a Registered Dental Hygienist. My biggest commitment to all my patients is to provide the best dental and oral health care services specifically tailored to their needs. In my spare time, I love to read and spend time with my family and friends. I look forward to meeting new patients, and to continue delivering the best oral hygiene care to my existing patients.


We Look Forward to Meeting You

Call for an Appointment

(973) 761-4800

Or Click to Schedule

Wendy Thomas,
Administrative Assistant

I joined Village Dental group in February 2011. Working in the dental field has been a great experience for me. I look forward to coming to work as I welcome new and interesting people at the office every day. It’s such a joy to be part of a team that helps patients in so many different ways. It’s sometimes troubling to see a patient arrive for an emergency in pain, but it is great experience to watch our doctors and staff work together to return them to great oral health. I consider it a privilege to serve our community as part of the Village Dental

Melissa Sederwall
Reception / Assistant

I am dedicated to providing our patients with an amazing experience, beginning with the first phone call or the moment you walk in the door. I enjoy meeting and assisting patients with their appointments,insurance questions and financial arrangements. I also enjoy assisting the doctor whenever needed. In my spare time, I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends. 


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