Through the Eyes of a Dentist’s Daughter

As a dentist’s daughter, I frequently receive questions from my peers about what it means to have good oral health. I used to wonder why people believed that I would know the secrets to good maintaining healthy teeth — I’m not a dentist after all. As an elementary school student, I was the go-to dental knowledge bank. In middle and high school, the questions continued. Today, as a college student pursuing a career in dental hygiene, the questions have gotten even more abundant.

The funniest part of all of this is that, more often than not, I know the answer to people’s questions, and I love answering them!

So how do I know the answers? Often, it is because they are parts of my lifestyle; parts that began the day I was born to a dentist. While I know that sugar is not great for your teeth, eating candy is not the end-all-be-all determinant of how healthy your teeth will be. I know that flossing is one of the most important personal hygiene things you can do, despite how underestimated it may be. And trust me, I know not to bite on a lemon or open a plastic container with my teeth.

 I was never directly given a list of what to do and what not to do, but I grew up with a knowledge-bank was built by tidbits of conversations and interactions with my dad.

 I do not have the answer as to why everyone has the same set of unanswered questions about dental health, but I think that if people made maintaining good oral health a part of their lifestyle, the answers may seem more simple. Maintaining good oral health can be made into a routine that is easy to maintain. Once this routine becomes second nature, people can and will prevent so many oral health problems.

 If we create a routine, we really won’t have to sacrifice anything. We can still eat that once-in-a-while piece of candy, as long as we brush and floss every night. We can recognize that if our gums are bleeding, our bodies are telling us that we need to care for them better through flossing. And we should be aware that dentists, dental hygienists, and students love when people care enough to ask us questions. 

Give Me A Smile!


We all have things we do before any big date or important event. The checklist includes various personal hygiene and beauty procedures that ensure we show up feeling confident. While many of us feel that we can boost our confidence through grooming, we may have reservations about our smiles. If we felt more confident about our teeth, we would be more willing to smile, and consequently, have a better time when we went out.

I got my first teeth whitening five years ago. After my dentist, Dr. Joe D’Angelo  finished making my personalized bleaching trays, I owned a set that would fit precisely on my teeth for as long as I need them. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to whiten my smile in my own home. All I had to do was put the bleaching solution in the trays, pop the trays in my mouth, and sleep in them. The next morning, I woke up to a sparkling white smile.

This simple procedure has made a difference in the way I smile every day. I love getting compliments on my smile. I do touch-up whitening using my trays before big interviews, parties, and dates with my boyfriend. On our first date, I felt that I could smile and laugh with no restraints because I was confident in my smile. He loved my big smile from the first date! In fact, he loved it so much that after a few dates with me, he made an appointment to get bleaching trays from Dr. Joe D’Angelo, too. Being able to smile together with no restraints is a something that I am grateful for. It is amazing how smiling, like laughing, is contagious.


25 Years, Then and Now


June 26th, 1990. That is the day that I hung my “shingle” in La Jolla and I saw my first patient. At the time, it was just myself and one incredible assistant helping me. The practice grew quickly and my little 800 square foot practice quickly doubled in size. That charming old building, which was home to a handful of long-time medical professionals, is now long gone, making room for newer condos.
Relocation to our current space proved to be a great move, enabling us to propel our small practice to a much more modern and efficient office.
Dentistry has changed tremendously over the years as well. It was not long after opening our doors that we stopped offering silver mercury fillings as on option. There was too much controversy over the potential toxicity for ourselves and our patients. White fillings were, and still are, performing beautifully. The techniques for esthetic veneers, bonding, and bleaching were evolving rapidly and we were able to provide spectacular smile makeovers for many patients. Cosmetic dentistry changed both the expectations of our patients as well as everyone in the dental profession. Cosmetic dentists realized that all restorations from the simplest to the most sophisticated needed to be not only detailed in their accuracy and reliable, but also completely natural looking.
As dental implant designs improved, I saw the opportunity to be able to provide patients with solutions to the very challenging problem of replacing missing teeth with something strong, reliable and natural looking without the unnecessary preparation of other teeth. Bridges, both fixed and removable, were unattractive, not reliable enough, and were damaging to nearby teeth in the mouth. I am convinced that implant dentistry has been the most important advancement in the field of dentistry since the introduction of local anesthetics.
Over the years we have also seen many changes that improved the experience and safety for our patients. Digital x-rays replaced film based imaging. They are extremely detailed and provide instant results with a small fraction of the radiation. 3D imaging has enabled us to understand anatomy and pathology to a much greater level, creating better diagnosis and safer implant planning. Invisalign has helped countless adults straighten their teeth without embarrassing metal hardware. Lasers have been a great adjunct in managing gum tissue health. Simple sedation solutions have made helping many people with complex needs or anxieties much more comfortable. The list goes on and on.
After 25 years, I can truly say that dentistry continues to get more and more interesting. Now, along with my partner, Dr. Olson, we are planning another expansion of our office, in an effort to reach more people, offer more services and provide an even better experience. The future is as exciting as ever. I am extraordinarily grateful to La Jolla, our wonderful team, and all of our patients for their years of support and friendship.

Dr. Joseph D’Angelo and Dr. Ashley Olson,

La Jolla Dentistry

1111 Torrey Pines Rd.  La Jolla, CA  92037

(858) 459-6224

Teeth in a day: What’s the rush?


Having your teeth fixed with dental implants in just one day….what a great idea! Even a better marketing angle. I’ve been asked so many times why dental implants take time when they keep hearing and seeing ads for immediate teeth that I know how well the marketing works.
To be perfectly fair, the “teeth in a day” protocol does work and many patients have gone through the process successfully. However, there are several caveats that must be considered.

First of all, the “teeth” are typically denture teeth which are fixed to a series of 4 to 6 implants in a row. All of the teeth in the dental arch need to be missing or removed for this to work. The implants arranged around the curvature of the arch is what allows for the “loading” of the immediate restoration. The idea of saving any teeth in the span is not possible. In addition to removing all of the teeth, several millimeters of bone and gum tissues need to be removed to create “restorative” space.

Secondly, the bone around the teeth needs to be healthy and free of infection. Placing implants into infected areas invites a risk of implant failure. Now, some of us are already scratching our heads wondering why would anyone want to remove perfectly good teeth that are not infected.

Once again to be fair, I am a dentist and have been placing and restoring dental implants for the past fifteen years. I believe that dental implantology is one of the greatest advances in dentistry of our time. That being said, I think there is nothing better than real teeth. Saving whatever we can, within practical considerations, is our first goal. It is true that dentures are awful! Food tastes and feels foreign, speech is difficult and the feeling of physical decline is oppressive. A full arch of implants holding on to a dental bridge is a bit better. Natural teeth, even a few in the arch, if that’s all that is feasible, is the best. One reason is that teeth have ligaments that hold them into the bone. Within this ligament space lies proprioceptive nerve endings. Unlike the sensation of hot and cold, these nerves send signals to the brain regarding pressure. It is part of how we interpret what food feels like. They help us determine how hard we need to bite when we are eating. Does a hot dog feel any different a good fillet? You bet it does. Implants offer absolutely no proprioceptive feedback.

Some people have not had much luck in taking care of their natural teeth. Implants may seem like a good way to escape from the hassle. Actually, they still need attention. Each implant needs to be cleaned around the tissue where it emerges, just like teeth. When there is a bridge or denture permanently attached to them, care and time needs to be taken to get underneath and do a thorough job. Loosing a dental implant under a complicated bridge can be an expensive complication.

Dr Olson and I believe in the proper and timely replacement of hopeless teeth to maintain proper force and load distribution within the arches. We also believe in the preservation of bone and healthy teeth wherever and whenever possible. Finally, we believe in creating restorations on dental implants that look, feel and function like natural teeth in keeping with our years cosmetic dental practice.

Look to our future blogs where we will be discussing the pros and cons of immediate placement and restoration of implants for single tooth considerations.

Dr. Joseph D’Angelo

Dr. Ashley Olson



Over the years we have had the good fortune of helping so many wonderful people improve their smiles, replace missing teeth, and catch up on years of deferred maintenance. We are privileged to be in a very rewarding and purposeful career. What we also recognize about our profession is that many people cannot bring themselves to take care of their teeth due to fear of the “The Dentist” or concerns about time and money. That fear of the dentist is almost always rooted in a very real past experience that led to these feelings. We understand that the resulting anxieties are a natural defense that have been programmed and etched into those patient’s psyche.

Sedation Dentistry has allowed so many people to overcome their anxieties in a very safe and convenient manner. Patients are either asleep or totally relaxed during the entire visit. Almost everyone, when later asked about their experience with their dental visit, reports that it was very easy and comfortable, or they don’t remember the appointment at all.

For those patients that are tremendously busy, our approach is to try to schedule most or all of their needs in one appointment. Today, most of us don’t have time to schedule around multiple dental visits, especially when catching up on years of neglect. One or two longer visits are easier to schedule in our lives, and, with sedation, the longer visit is easy and comfortable. Just set the time aside, wake up a little while later, and voila, it’s done. By the way, discomfort afterwards is rarely a problem!

As for concerns over time and money, we all know how busy our lives get. Between our careers and family, sometimes our free time is squeezed out. There are so many activities and responsibilities, and, every year it just gets busier and busier. Who has time to go to the dentist? Unfortunately we are not immune to dental problems. We were not made with a maintenance free body or mouth, and, neglect of our mouths always catches up with us.

Let us stop finding reasons to put off taking care of our selves another day, week or year. We know the solutions to our dental needs NEVER get simpler if we wait!

As for money, certainly we know that fine quality dentistry and attentive care is expensive. It never gets cheaper with waiting. Maintenance is always less costly than neglect in the long run. The benefits of doing something well last much longer than the money saved doing it poorly.

Dr. Joseph D’Angelo and Dr. Ashley Olson, La Jolla Dentistry

Keep Calm and Take Your Kids To The Dentist.


Unlike in decades past, most kids today have fun and positive experiences at their initial and ongoing dental visits. To a large extent, the attitude and feelings of a parent have a tremendous influence on their children’s experiences.
Dr. Ashley Olson feels having the little ones see their parents visit the dentist will go a long way.
“Little kids are like little sponges; they mirror our happiness, they mirror our sadness and they mirror our uncertainty,” Olson said. “This is important to keep in mind when thinking about your own feelings about seeing the dentist. Kids pick up on subtleties in the tone of our voice and even our facial expressions. Setting our kids up for the best possible experience at the dentist starts with parent’s communication (verbal and nonverbal) about it. We do not recommend promising your child a special treat if he or she behaves at the dentist, because doing so may only introduce apprehension. They may wonder, ‘What is so bad about the dentist that I might fuss or cry?’ Keep a positive, optimistic attitude, leaving any of your own negative feelings behind when discussing an upcoming dental visit with your child, and they will have nothing to fear or worry about.”
Olson also noted that having calm parents at the first visit can help the children stay calm as well, and lessen the amount of stress and anxiety.
“Generally, the rule of thumb is that children should have their first dental visit by their first birthday,” said Olson. “Early exposure to the dental team not only helps children feel comfortable, but also gives parents the opportunity to learn how to manage diet, hygiene and fluoride to limit their child’s risk for cavities.”
The goal of the first visit is for parents to learn about their child’s oral health and how to properly care for their child’s unique needs. At that initial visit, parents can discuss home care, teething and development, proper use of fluoride, oral habits such as thumb or finger sucking, and factors that affect the risk of cavities.
At home, a parent can help a child’s dental health with the foods they provide. Avoiding sticky candies and even chewy raisins and dried fruit is key and sticking to fruits and vegetables, cheese, and other good sources of calcium is the way to go.
“Education and prevention are the keys to a child’s dental health,” added Olson. “Although baby teeth aren’t there forever, it is still very important to keep those teeth and gums as healthy as possible while they are holding space for future permanent teeth. Parents who start their kids early at the dentist are more likely to limit future dental problems and those kids are more likely to continue giving their oral health proper attention in their adult life.
“Forming habits early on, like regular dental visits and cleanings, brushing in the morning and at night and flossing, will set kids up for a lifetime of dental health.”
When your children see you brushing and flossing your teeth every day, establishing good habits for them will be infinitely easier. Don’t underestimate the power of setting a good example for your children.

For more information,
call Dr. D’Angelo & Dr. Olson
at 858-459-6224
1111 Torrey Pines Road

SMILE! Just reading the word feels great!


As we celebrate this holiday season we are reminded of the important and wonderful people that have touched our lives, not only in the past year, but, those people that have shaped our lives, our families and our community over time. The season is a time for gift giving and sharing time with those we love.
The new year brings closure to this wonderful time of year, and also invites an exciting new beginning. Many of us take this time to make personal commitments, which usually involve eating healthier, losing weight, exercising more regularly, or another self-improvement ideal.

A refreshing New Year’s proposal would be the focus on sharing more joy, laughter, happiness, and of course, more smiles in the coming year.

While those traditional self-improvement goals, when carried out, are of tremendous value and certainly make us feel better, consider the impact of a smile. Did you know that the simple act of sharing a smile with someone, whether a friend or stranger, has a remarkable and positive effect on yourself as well as the people you are with? In addition to the emotional & psychological benefits, research shows smiling is associated with reduced stress hormone levels (like cortisol, dopamine, and adrenaline), increased health and mood enhancing hormone levels (like endorphins), and lowered blood pressure. We recommend making a commitment to sharing more smiles to the people you love, and, to complete strangers as a gift to them and a gift to yourself.

If you are one of many people who refrain from smiling , or are self-conscious when smiling due to concerns about the attractiveness of your teeth, remember this… you are depriving yourself, and the people you care most about, of the wonderful benefits associated with smiling.
Make a commitment right now to fix the problem. It may only take a professional dental cleaning and whitening, or, it may be as simple as adult tooth alignment with Invisalign. These days replacing missing teeth is simple and reliable with dental implants. Complete smile makeovers with porcelain veneers can also be a life changer. Whatever it is, make a promise to yourself to take action, start smiling more and become healthier, sexier and more successful in the process.

Dr. D’Angelo and Dr. Olson have helped numerous patients attain a smile that they are proud of. Every day they are on a mission to help their patients improve their lives, eat more comfortably, and smile more confidently! Together with their friendly, professional and passionate team, they have made a commitment to improve the lives of every patient they have the privilege of serving with the finest dentistry attainable.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from the D’Angelo Olson team!

Dr. Joseph D’Angelo & Dr. Ashley Olson