Providing Care Through Oral DNA

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Dr. Maria Tapia and Dentistry by Design offer an innovative way to approach health: OralDNA.

“OralDNA is kind of a new thing that’s coming up in dentistry,” Tapia shared with the Palisadian-Post. “It started about 10 years ago.”

The DNA is tested through saliva and can provide results on risks of periodontal, or gum, disease. Tapia compared the test to something that would be done to gauge a patient’s genetic risk of getting cancer.

“It’s a way of creating or bringing awareness to oral health in a more factual way,” she explained. With 10 years of science backing the testing, Tapia shared that she believes in the results that the DNA testing provides.

And with nearly 50 percent of Americans having gum disease, Tapia hopes that the testing can help provide some preventative care options.

“The reason why I believe in it is because a lot of the things that we’ve done so far are very treatment based,” Tapia explained, referring to the testing as an “incredible eye opener.”

Tapia suggested that most patients go for DNA testing in adulthood, but she might recommend it for someone younger who is showing the signs of gum disease.

OralDNA testing can find hidden oral pathogens that threaten your oral and overall health—as oral health is tied to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other issues. The testing allows patients to see if they were born with gene markers associated with increased inflammation.

The testing then allows dentists, including Tapia, to come up with the best preventative or treatment program

In addition to OralDNA testing, Dentistry by Design offers a range of services, including family dentistry, fluoride treatments, sport mouthguards, extractions, cosmetic dentistry and more.

“We are committed to providing you with the most caring and personalized dental experience in Pacific Palisades and West Los Angeles,” the Dentistry by Design website reads. “We strive to provide the latest most conservative and biomimetic concepts in dentistry.”

Dentistry by Design works with patients of all ages—from baby teeth to elderly patients, who Tapia said she works with to make sure their teeth stay healthy. She shared that her number one goal is to get people healthy or to maintain their health in their lifetime.

“How to keep these teeth healthy is a challenge sometimes,” she shared with the Post in July. “We need to troubleshoot, what we do today we end up with tomorrow.”