Robert S. Kiken

Take Our Quiz! Alleviating Patients’ Stress: Which Character Are You?

It may seem simple to us, but insurance can be a very stressful topic for people who don’t deal with it every day.  Ignorance (in this case) is not necessarily bliss.  Going the extra mile for them will help ensure that our patients remain our patients.  There are a few categories of helpfulness.  Take this quiz and see what category you’re in.

  1. When patients tell me they have insurance, I say,
    1. “How lovely for you. Good luck with that.”
    2. “We will file your claim for you, but it’s up to you after that.”
    3. “Wonderful. We do a complimentary benefits check for each patient and help you maximize your insurance’s payment.”
  2. When patients ask how much insurance benefit they have left for the year, I say,
    1. “I have no idea.”
    2. “That’s a good question. We might be able to look into that.”
    3. “I am happy to help with that. Let’s look at it together.”
  3. When patients ask, “Which endodontists, orthodontists, or oral surgeons are in my network?” I say,
    1. “You’ll need to call your insurance to get a name.”
    2. “We have some cards of doctors. You can call them and ask them.”
    3. “These two doctors are preferred providers for your insurance. They will take great care of you. I highly recommend Dr. _______!”

Score your answers.  A) 0 points, B) 2 points, C) 4 points

Super hero girl with cape graphic
Dr. Evil saying Switzerland is neutral with finger quotes
Wicked Witch with pointed hat and broom graphic
10–12 Points
6–8 Points
0–4 Points
Stress-Relieving Super Hero!
Stress-Neutral, Not Necessarily Evil, But …
Hope Your Patients Don’t Think of You like This.

A few extra minutes spent on each patient can make the difference between a 5-Star online rating and spreading the good word to their friends, or having them looking for a friendlier, more accommodating office down the road.  A few hints how you can wow your patients when it comes to insurance:

  1. Take 5 minutes (on the phone or online) to check insurance benefits for each patient.
  2. Before referring a patient to a specialist, let them know how many exams / x-rays they are allowed annually.
  3. Take a few minutes with patients to help them understand their insurance statement (EOB).
  4. Know (ahead of time) which specialists are preferred providers for your patients’ insurance.
  5. Know which offices go the extra mile (just like you). Refer them where they will have an excellent experience.
  6. For more tips, click here and here.

No matter whether your patients have an HMO, PPO, or are paying cash, we want to give the best customer service to everyone.  The best in care starts from the first phone call to the last payment they make.  The more informed patients are, the more in control they feel.  When they feel in control, they are comfortable.  Comfortable patients are loyal patients.  Making patients’ lives easier makes them patients for life.  Showing you care is the best way to make sure your patients will be endeared to you and your office for many years to come!

Another Installment of “Learning is Fun” from

Logo for Ocean Oral Maxillofacial Surgery practice in Santa Barbara CA

To add a little levity to your day, visit us on our Facebook page at

Cristina Chapman, March 2016

Effects of Soda, Sports Drinks and Juice Cleanses

Soda Permanently Erodes, Yellows and Blackens Teeth and Much More …

Photo of a tooth immersed in an orange soda beverage

If you haven’t read it yet, there is a new study out from the Academy of General Dentistry that will be startling to anyone who loves their daily soda fix.  This study claims that the effects of soda on teeth are as detrimental as methamphetamine or crack cocaine.  When we learned that a can of Coca Cola contains the equivalent of 10 cubes of sugar we only got half of the picture.  Now we are learning that sugar is only the first problem.  The erosive acids found in soda, which are similar to components in meth and crack, are a big problem number two.  Below are excerpts from the article:

The case study looked at the damage in three people’s mouths.  One subject was a 29-year-old admitted meth user, and the other person was a 51-year-old who abused cocaine for 18 years.  The third patient drank an excessive amount of diet soda, about two liters a day for three to five years.  All three had poor oral hygiene and did not visit the dentist on a regular basis. Despite the different substance habits, the subjects appeared to have the same types and severity of tooth erosion.

Photo of energy drinks and a can of cocaine cola in a vending machine

Think Before You Drink!

“Each person experienced severe tooth erosion caused by the high acid levels present in their ‘drug’ of choice — meth, crack, or soda,” lead report author Dr. Mohamed A. Bassiouny, a dentist in Oreland, Pennsylvania, said in a press release.


Chart showing popular beverages and their acidity levels

What is Your Drug of Choice?

Tooth erosion occurs when acid wears away tooth enamel, which is the glossy, protective outside layer of the tooth. Without the protection of enamel, teeth are more susceptible to developing cavities, as well as becoming sensitive, cracked, and discolored.  The General Dentistry case study compared the damage in three individuals’ mouths—an admitted user of methamphetamine, a previous longtime user of cocaine, and an excessive diet soda drinker.  Each participant admitted to having poor oral hygiene and not visiting a dentist on a regular basis.  Researchers found the same type and severity of damage from tooth erosion in each participant’s mouth.  “Each person experienced severe tooth erosion caused by the high acid levels present in their ‘drug’ of choice—meth, crack, or soda,” says Mohamed A. Bassiouny, DMD, MSc, PhD, lead author of the study.  “The citric acid present in both regular and diet soda is known to have a high potential for causing tooth erosion,” says Dr. Bassiouny. 1

Energy Drinks & Sports Drinks vs. Sodas

So many people have shifted from regular sodas to diet sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks or other “sugar-free” beverages in an effort to be healthier.  But it seems that these “non-sugary” drinks are equally as detrimental, if not more so.  The acids (citric and phosphoric) used in these drinks to enhance flavor have a catastrophic effect on oral health.  These additives are ruinous to our white teeth, constantly and irreversibly eating away their protective enamel.  The Academy of General Dentistry published another study in 2012 showing that the erosive potential of colas is 10 times that of fruit juice in just the first three minutes of drinking.2  Studies show that pre-teen and teenage boys drink an average of 108 gallons of sweetened beverages each year.  These gallons are equal to thousands of sugar packets.  Energy and sports drinks have an even higher sugar content than soda.  The levels of acid in sodas, energy and sports drinks are seriously detrimental to tooth enamel.

Chart showing popular drinks and their sugar cube stack equivalent
Sodas and diet sodas contain sweeteners such as sucrose, fructose, Sorbitol and saccharine.  These sweeteners serve as a food source for plaque bacteria. These bacteria multiply quickly and produce lactic acid as they consume the sugars on your teeth.  The lactic acid then wears away your enamel.  The carbonation in soda comes from carbon dioxide. A byproduct of this combination is carbonic acid, which also contributes to the erosion of tooth enamel.3 Citric and phosphoric acids (flavor enhancers and preservatives) in soda severely damage teeth.  Phosphoric acid is used in dental bonding to create thousands of pores in the enamel in only 10 seconds.

pH, Acid, Juice Cleanses and “Healthy” Weight Loss Fads


Chart rating the acidic levels of sodas, sports and energy drinks

Titratable Acidity = Acid Strength

There are two methods for measuring the acid content in beverages, initial acidity (pH) and the titratable acidity (TA).  PH measures acid strength, and TA measures the amount of acid present.  The greater the TA, the longer time it takes for saliva to restore the mouth to a neutral pH.  A neutral pH keeps acid from attacking and damaging tooth structure.  Carbonated cola beverages, sports and energy drinks have a low pH and a high TA.4

One interested parent did a science experiment on his son’s tooth to see what effects soda has on teeth.  The pictures are incredible and will make you a believer.  Click here to read about the devastating results.

The latest fad in dieting of juice or fruit cleanses actually began in the 1970s.  Water additives such as flavor packets or appetite-suppressing powders have recently been very popular.  These cleanses and additives have a very high acid content.  They lead to increased staining, tooth hypersensitivity, tooth surface loss, exposure of dentin, reduced enamel translucency an overall lower pH in the mouth, demineralization and cavities.5  These dangerous additives cause a loss of tooth structure in addition to cavities.  Loss of tooth structure at the gum line is exceptionally frequent, as that is where the acid settles with perpetual exposure to acid.  In many cases bonding is necessary to rebuild the tooth structure where it has eroded.  In worse cases, an entire new crown is necessary.  When the acid has done total and irreversible damage, the teeth must be extracted.

The extremely high acid content in citrus diet cleanses is horribly damaging especially when repeated often.  Flavored or carbonated water carry the same consequences.  It may seem harmless to add just a drop of an additive to your water, but the damage is real and constant, especially when you sip a drink throughout the day.  Kids who think they are helping their sports regimen by adding an energy or sports drink will find they are doing more damage than good.

Heart Damage, Brain Cell Damage and Lesions, Oh My!

In recent studies, regular-soda drinkers experienced dramatic increases in harmful hidden fats, including liver fat and skeletal fat.  The regular-soda group also experienced an 11 percent increase in cholesterol compared to the other groups.  Artificial sweeteners and food dyes in diet soda have been linked to brain cell damage and hyperactivity.  Research shows that diet soda drinkers have a higher risk of developing diabetes.6

Some popular soda brands, including Mountain Dew, include brominated vegetable oil—a toxic flame retardant. This hazardous ingredient (sometimes listed as BVO on soda and sports drinks) can cause bromide poisoning symptoms like skin lesions and memory loss, as well as nerve disorders.  Many soda brands are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, a heart-harming man-made compound derived mainly from genetically engineered corn.7

That means we drink flavored water, Diet Coke, Red Bull, Gatorade, etc., at our peril.  Our teeth are at risk of losing their pearlescent, white, glowing look. Thinner enamel begins to make teeth look yellowed, thinner, duller.  Between sugar, acid, additives, damage to the body and the addictive nature of soda, energy drinks and sports drinks, it is time to recognize that we are doing our bodies a disservice when we “Do the Dew.”

Photo of water being poured from a clear glass pitcher into a drinking glass

The Healthiest Option: Water

It’s time to pass the water please!

1 – Lauren Henderson, Academy of General Dentistry, [email protected] CHICAGO (May 28, 2013)
2 –
3 – Soda’s Effects on Tooth Erosion by Matthew Lee, Demand Media
4 – Springs Oral Health, Dr Matthew Burton Website:
5 – “Damaging Diets,” AGD Impact, January 2014, Vol. 42, No. 1, pg. 21-25.
6, 7 – “3 Surprising Reasons to Give Up Soda,” By David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding, Jan 24, 2012

Links Between Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease, Diabetes, etc.

Brushing and Flossing Saves Lives!

Poster graphic that advises link between Gum Disease and your health

Seriously.  Brushing and flossing your teeth can actually help in preventing health complications such as heart disease, diabetes, and others.  Bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream through the gums. These same bacteria have been found clumped in artery plaques.  Doctors have various theories as to how this relationship develops.  One is that these bacteria stick to fatty deposits, and directly clog the bloodstream.  Another theory is that inflammation of the blood cells (how the body defends against bacteria) can lead to narrowing of arteries and increasing the risk of clots.

A causal relationship has not yet been proven between periodontal disease and heart disease, but there is a definite correlation.  Warning signs which arise from periodontal disease (bleeding, swollen, pus filled or painful gums) often alert us to problems in the body we might not otherwise see.  We cannot see our arteries hardening or our cholesterol count rising, but we can feel if flossing is painful or not.  Paying attention to small warning signs can alert us to larger issues.

 Do you have any of the following issues?

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bleeding after you floss or brush
  • Receding gums or noticing that you see more of a tooth than you used to
  • Pus on the gums
  • Pain when you bite or chew
  • Loose teeth

Some people are genetically more prone to periodontal and gum disease. So if gum disease runs in your family, you should be especially vigilant.  Get any symptoms checked out right away.

To prevent gum disease and other dental problems:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day. Periodontist Sally Cram, DDS, a spokeswoman for the American Dental Association, cautions that while we all think we know how to brush our teeth, many of us don’t. “It’s not just how often you brush, but how thoroughly you do it,” says Cram. Bad brushing technique can actually worsen gum disease. “If you brush too hard from side to side, you can miss the pockets of plaque and actually abrade or tear the gums,” says Cram.  “That can lead to more infection.”  Circular motions help the bristles of your toothbrush to clear out any debris in the gaps between the gums and teeth.
  • Floss at least once a day.  Cram says that though flossing seems easy, many people don’t do it well.  Ask your dentist, periodontist or hygienist how to effectively floss your teeth.
  • Use antiseptic mouthwash and toothpaste, if your dentist recommends it. These aren’t necessary for everyone, but Cram says they can help some people who have issues controlling their plaque and bacteria.
  • Get regular checkups and cleanings. Most people should have a checkup every six months, but when periodontal disease is present, every 3-4 months is usually necessary to get the disease under control.  Then your dentist, periodontist or hygienist can determine if every six months will be sufficient.  Diligent home care is really what dictates how quickly periodontal disease can be reversed.
  • Eat healthy foods. “Vitamin deficiencies can make it harder for your body to fight off infection and heal,” Cram says. “So make sure to eat a good balanced diet with adequate vitamins and nutrients.”
  • Stop smoking. Here’s another reason to kick the habit. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, smoking may be one of the most significant risk factors for periodontal disease.

“The good news is that, with a commonsense approach, periodontal disease is totally preventable,” says Cram.  This may turn out to be great news for your heart as well.

Gum Disease and Diabetes

Diabetes can reduce the body’s resistance to infection.  A recent study in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that one of five cases of total tooth loss in the United States is linked to diabetes.  Elevated blood sugars increase the risk of developing gum disease.  Gum disease can make it harder to keep blood sugar levels in check. Uncontrolled diabetes impairs white blood cells, which are the body’s main defense against bacterial infections in the mouth.  Protect your gums by keeping blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible.  Brush after each meal and floss daily.  See your dentist at least twice a year.

People with diabetes face a higher risk of:

  • Dry mouth. Uncontrolled diabetes can decrease saliva flow, resulting in dry mouth. Dry mouth can lead to soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay.
  • Gum inflammation (gingivitis and periodontitis). Besides impairing white blood cells, another complication of diabetes is that it causes blood vessels to thicken, which slows the flow of nutrients to and waste products from body tissues.  When this combination of events occurs, the body’s ability to fight infections is reduced.  Since periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, those with uncontrolled diabetes may experience more frequent and more severe gum disease.
  • Poor healing of oral tissues.  People with uncontrolled diabetes do not heal quickly after oral surgery or other dental procedures because blood flow to the treatment site can be impaired.
  • Thrush.  People with diabetes who frequently take antibiotics to fight various infections are especially prone to developing a fungal infection of the mouth and tongue.  The fungus thrives on high levels of sugar in the saliva.

People with diabetes who smoke are at even a higher risk — up to 20 times more likely than nonsmokers — for the development of thrush and periodontal disease.  Smoking also seems to impair blood flow to the gums — which affects wound healing.

Osteoporosis and Tooth Loss

The brittle bone disease osteoporosis affects all the bones in your body, including your jaw bone, and can cause tooth loss.  Bacteria from periodontitis (severe gum disease) can also break down the jaw bone.  One kind of osteoporosis medication, bisphosphonates, may slightly increase the risk of a rare condition called osteonecrosis, which causes bone death of the jaw.  Tell your dentist if you take bisphosphonates.

Treating Gum Disease May Help Rheumatoid Arthritis

People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are eight times more likely to have gum disease than people without this autoimmune disease.  Inflammation may be the common denominator between the two.  Making matters worse, people with RA can have trouble brushing and flossing because of damage to finger joints.  The good news is that treating existing gum inflammation and infection can also reduce joint pain and inflammation.

Tooth Loss and Kidney Disease

Adults without teeth may be more likely to have chronic kidney disease than those who still have teeth.  Exactly how kidney disease and periodontal disease are linked is not 100% clear yet. But researchers suggest that chronic inflammation may be the common thread.  So taking care of your teeth and gums may reduce your risk of developing kidney problems.

Gum Disease and Premature Birth

If you’re pregnant and have gum disease, you could be more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small.  Exactly how the two conditions are linked remains unclear.  Inflammation or infections may be to blame.  Pregnancy and related hormonal changes also appear to worsen gum disease.  Talk to your obstetrician or dentist to find out how to protect yourself and your baby.

Infographic showing the effect of Gum Disease on the human body

Sources: WebMD, Perio.Org, ADA.Org,

Bruxism – Solutions for Teeth Grinding

Bruxism Crazy Banner

Bruxism, or the grinding of teeth, is the act of consciously or unconsciously grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw.  Bruxism affects over 40 million Americans.  Teeth grinding can happen during the day or night, and is considered both a medical and dental problem since it affects teeth and surrounding structures in the head.  Most people grind their teeth while they sleep.  Bruxism can affect anyone at any age.

Bruxism can be mild or severe.  If it is mild, treatment is usually not prescribed.  However, if it is frequent and severe it can lead to other issues such as jaw disorders, headaches, broken teeth and more.  Because most people are unaware it is happening, knowing the signs and symptoms is important.

Are your teeth worn down or chipped off?

Are your teeth worn down or chipped off?

Teeth can appear shorter and gums appear worn away.

Teeth may look shorter, gums worn away.

Teeth Grinding Symptoms
Below is a list of the common signs and symptoms of teeth grinding, including:

Do You Have Any of These Symptoms?

Do You Have These Symptoms?

•    Headaches
•    Facial pain
•    Grinding that is loud enough to wake you
•    Increased tooth sensitivity
•    Chewed inner cheek tissue
•    Teeth wear down, flatten or fracture
•    Earaches
•    Swollen jaw muscles
•    Jaw pain or tightness
•    Tooth indents on your tongue
•    Anxiety, stress, tension
•    Insomnia
•    Eating disorders
•    Complaints from others
•    Being overtired

What Causes Teeth Grinding?
Medical doctors may tell you Bruxism is due to stress, while dentists may say it’s due to unaligned teeth.  Below is a list of possible reasons based on opinions from both professions.  Teeth grinding causes include:

•    Anxiety, stress or tension
•    Changes in sleep cycles
•    Malocclusion (unaligned upper and lower teeth)
•    Other medical conditions (such as Parkinson’s Disease)
•    Side effect from medications
•  Drugs (such as Methamphetamine that leads to severely fractured and damaged teeth, “Meth Mouth,” etc.)
•    Growth and development of the teeth and jaw (mainly in children)
•    Response to pain from an earache (or teething in children)
•    Aggressive personality

Many people believe Bruxism is a reflex chewing activity, but usually it is a habit.  Generally, reflex activities happen when responding to stimuli, without involvement of subconscious brain activity, but Bruxism is different.  While sleeping our subconscious becomes active, while the higher control in our brains is inactive.  This results in Bruxism, or teeth grinding.

Children suffer from Bruxism too.  Many people believe that children who suffer from Bruxism are stressed out, have had a change in lifestyle (such as a new teachers/schools or parents divorcing) or have other nervous tendencies.  However, children also suffer from teeth grinding symptoms because of minor issues such as teeth development or unaligned upper and lower jaws that can be fixed by a dentist.  Statistically, most children outgrow teeth grinding habits.

Treatment for Bruxism
Treatments are available for Bruxism.  If the problem is minor or severe, treatments can include:

Best Low Cost Option for Bruxism - Night Guards

Low Cost Option for Bruxism – Night Guard

Mouth Guards – You can find these in your local store or you can have one custom made by your dentist.  Mouth guards are the least expensive treatment for Bruxism.

Splints – Splints are either made at the dentist office or dental impressions may be sent to a dental lab to be made.  They are more expensive than mouth guards, and are made from acrylic to fit over your upper or lower teeth.

Stress Management – If Bruxism is due to stress, recommendations may include seeking professional counseling, or relaxation strategies such as meditation or yoga.  For children, you may want to talk with them about their fears before bedtime.

Crowning Teeth Helps with Bruxism and Creates a Beautiful Smile

Crowning the Teeth Helps with Bruxism and Gives You a Beautiful Smile

Dental Work – If Bruxism is due to the jaw or teeth being unaligned, your dentist may recommend overlays or crowns.  Once the teeth are built back up, it is imperative to wear a night guard to protect against future breakage of the teeth.

Biofeedback – This therapy uses monitoring procedures and equipment to teach you how to control your involuntary body responses.  Electrical sensors are attached to your body that correspond with your body’s reactions to stress.  Visual cues are used to determine which stresses are causing the Bruxism.

drugs for bruxism

Medication – There are not many medications that are proven to help Bruxism.  However some doctors recommend muscle relaxers before bedtime, while others change medication that is causing Bruxism as a side effect (such as antidepressants).

Botox – Though less common than the other treatments, Botox may work for patients who do not respond to other treatment and have severe Bruxism.

In Conclusion
If your teeth are worn down, you experience headaches or jaw soreness in the morning, tell your dentist so you can be diagnosed and treated.  Don’t live in pain!  There is treatment available.

WebMD, Wikipedia, Mayo Clinic, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Science Daily,

If You Are Experiencing Any of These Symptoms, Please Call Dr. Kiken

If You Are Experiencing Any of These Symptoms, Please Call Dr. Kiken


Smoking and Your Health

Smoking and Your Health

Graphic of sign warning of Cancer Risks

Tobacco use is one of the leading causes of many oral complications. People who smoke or chew tobacco are more likely to develop gum disease, tooth loss, and cancer.  Though the addictive qualities of nicotine make it difficult to ditch the habit, it is imperative to your overall health to do so.

How Can I Avoid Oral Cancer?

There are two distinct pathways through which most people contract oral cancer.  One is through the use of tobacco and alcohol, and the other is through exposure to the HPV16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16).  HPV is now the leading cause of oral cancer in the US, and is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women.

If oral cancer is detected early (in stages one or two), the survival rate is 80% to 90%!  So make an appointment with your general dentist or with an oral surgeon today.  Contact us for an appointment ASAP!

Why is Tobacco Harmful to My Health?

  • Vasoconstriction.  Nicotine in tobacco causes narrowing of the blood vessels, or vasoconstriction, which is the main cause of many oral problems.  An inadequate amount of blood supply to the gums due to narrowed blood vessels leads to delayed healing in the mouth.  This lack of blood supply prevents warning signs, like bleeding of the gums, from occurring.
  • Toxicity.  Tobacco use releases toxins in the body that disrupt normal gum cell function. Smokers are more susceptible to oral infections like periodontal disease.
  • Plaque and Tartar.  Those that smoke and chew tobacco produce more plaque and tartar.  As a result, tobacco users are more likely to develop gum disease and bone and tooth loss.
  • Gum irritation.  Tobacco use, especially chewing tobacco, causes an inability of the gums to appropriately attach to teeth, and eventually the gums recede from the teeth.  Receding gums expose teeth to increased likelihood of decay and loss.
  • Cancer.  Oral cancer, cancer of the throat, and cancer of the esophagus are all linked to chemicals introduced to body by tobacco use – both smoking and chewing of the drug. The cancers associated with tobacco use are often deadly.

Graphic showing poisons associated with cigarette smoking

If you would like more information on tobacco, smoking, or chewing and their effect on your health, please contact us.  If you have sustained oral problems as a result of tobacco use, please call Dr. Kiken, who will be able to help improve your health.

Below is a recent article from CNN regarding the latest of how tobacco usage affects the brain.

This is Your Brain on Smoking

That cigarette may be doing more damage than meets the eye. If you’ve been smoking for an extended period of time, you’re likely familiar with at least some – if not all – of the bodily symptoms associated with smoking, including but certainly not limited to: cravings, coughing, shortness of breath and changes to teeth, hair and skin. Coronary heart disease and/or lung cancer might not be far behind.

But a new study published in the journal Age & Aging concludes that smoking can damage your mind too. A consistent association was observed between smoking and lower cognitive functioning, including memory.

The bottom line: Smoking and long-term high blood pressure appear to increase the risk of cognitive decline.

How Researchers Did It

Researchers at Kings College London set out to explore the association between cardiovascular and stroke risk and cognitive decline in adults over the age of 50. Working with a nationally representative sample of nearly 9,000 participants, the study’s authors analyzed data on smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and body mass index (BMI).

At four- and eight-year follow-up appointments, participants’ cognitive performance was measured. To test their memories, researchers taught the participants 10 unrelated words, then gauged both their immediate and delayed recall capabilities. Subjects were also asked to name as many animals as they could in one minute, a test designed to measure verbal fluency. Lastly, the subjects were asked to cross through specified letters in a series (letter cancellation), to measure attention, mental speed and visual scanning.

What They Found

The study concludes that smoking has the most consistent impact on hastening aging in the brain. Those with high BMI, blood pressure, or stroke risk scores performed worse on cognitive tasks, but those results varied more widely across the three objective tests.

“Cognitive decline becomes more common with aging and for an increasing number of people, interferes with daily functioning and well-being,” said Dr. Alex Dregan, lecturer in Translational Epidemiology and Public Health at Kings College London. “Some older people can become forgetful, have trouble remembering common words, or have problems organizing daily tasks more than others.”


To be clear, the researchers did not draw any conclusions as to whether a decline in brain function could lead to conditions such as dementia.

Asked for a comment, William Thies, chief medical and scientific officer for the Alzheimer’s Association, responded by acknowledging the growing body of research over more than a decade – including this new study – that point toward several factors that may impact our risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline, the strongest being heart health risk factors.

“These (factors) include physical inactivity, smoking and poor control of blood pressure, blood lipids and blood sugar levels,” Thies said. “Currently, the strongest data for lifestyle-based Alzheimer’s risk reduction is for physical activity.”

Dregan concurs. “We have identified a number of risk factors which could be associated with accelerated cognitive decline, all of which could be modifiable,” he said. “This offers valuable knowledge for future prevention and treatment interventions.”

“We recognize and agree that smoking has serious health consequences and causes serious diseases,” said David Sylvia, a spokesman for Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris USA. “That’s why we think it’s…  important the FDA has oversight of the industry to conduct further research about the harm caused by tobacco use and ways to reduce that harm.”

“For those people who are concerned about the health effects of smoking,” Sylvia said, “the best thing to do is to quit.”

Quit smoking Infographic

Post by: Ben Tinker – CNN Medical News Senior Producer
Filed under: Addiction • Alzheimer’s • Brain • Cancer • Heart • Longevity • Smoking • Stroke

Tags: , , ,

All-on-Four Dental Implants – "Teeth in a Day"

Imagine Your Smile Transformed

Imagine Your Smile Transformed

The All-on-Four treatment concept is a great restorative option that we can offer patients by placement of four implants per arch.  It is a way to provide a long-term, fixed, full arch prosthesis for denture wearers or candidates who do not desire or tolerate a removable prosthesis.1, 2  This is a versatile restorative option for most people regardless of jaw size, bone quality, or bone loss.  In addition, because of their placement and orientation, the all-on-four implants can be loaded immediately.  So in many cases, the restorative practitioners can convert previously worn dentures into temporary fixed prostheses chair-side immediately after surgery.  This idea of limiting the patient’s edentulous period is particularly attractive to them.3

Although appropriate planning and communication is necessary for a good outcome, the process is straightforward.  In preparation for the procedure, we evaluate the patient’s maxillomandibular bony architecture both clinically and with a low radiation cone beam CT.  We then work hand-in-hand with the restorative dentist and lab technician to develop a tailored treatment plan to maximize the patient’s esthetic and functional outcome.  Next, all the necessary extractions, alveoloplasty, and implants are performed followed by placement of locator healing abutments.  After completion of the surgery, the patient can go directly to the restorative practitioner’s office for conversion of their previous denture to a temporary fixed prosthesis.  The patient can wear this up to six months while the final prosthesis is being planned and fabricated.

The Choice to Improve Your Life

The Choice to Improve Your Life

The great thing about the All-on-Four treatment concept or “Teeth in a Day” is that patients who have failing teeth or already wear a denture both get the same great outcome.  Dr. Kiken has many patients who rave about “Teeth in a Day.”  Dentures are often loose, require adhesive, and are painful to wear due to shrinkage of the jaw.  “Teeth in a Day” is a permanent solution that addresses all of the issues previously experienced with dentures and their ill fit.  No more bulky, uncomfortable prostheses covering the palate.

When you’ve been living with failing or missing teeth, it is hard to enjoy eating.  With “Teeth in a Day” you will be able to taste and enjoy food again.  With fully restored teeth and a free palate, you can regain the enjoyment of eating for the first time in years.  Reclaim your excitement and vitality for life with “Teeth in a Day!”  Click here for a full explanation of dental implant procedures and here for the All-on-Four treatment concept.  Call our office today for an appointment at 805.682.0933.

  1. Malo P, de Araujo Nobre M, Lopes A, Moss SM, Molin GJ.  A longitudinal study of the survival of All-on-4 implants in the mandible with up to 10 years of follow-up.   J Am Dent Assoc 2011; 142:210-20.
  2. Malo P, de Araujo Nobre M, Lopes A et al.  All-on-4 immediate function concept for completely edentulous maxillae:  a clinical report on the medium (3 years) and long term (5 years) outcomes.  Clin Implant Dent Relat Res 2011.
  1. Dierens M, Collaert B, Deschepper E, Browaeys H, Klinge B, De Bruyn H.  Patient-centered outcome of immediately loaded implants in the rehabilitation of fully edentulous jaws.  Clin Oral Implants Res. 2009 Oct; 20(10): 1070-7.

Patient Satisfaction in 2013

Putting your best foot forward is always important, but in the oral surgery field it is VITAL!

No one wants to get a tooth pulled, so it’s important that we make our patients feel at home.  We strive to make each interaction with patients positively remarkable.  We’ve been asking our patients to fill out satisfaction surveys after their time with us.  The results are better than we expected.  Friendliness and caring treatment by the staff and doctor always gets the highest marks.

Letting your personality shine through is important in any service industry.  Patients often comment on how funny Dr. Kiken is.  He does his best to educate and inform his patients, but also leaves time for a little fun with everyone.  We plan enough time in our schedule so that no one feels rushed and everyone gets all the time they wish with the doctor.

Care and comfort is our primary concern.  Patients travel from all over to see us in our Santa Barbara Oral Surgery office.  We are transforming lives and that is a huge responsibility.  We take pride in the care we give each and every patient.  We are available every weekday, and if patients are in pain, we accommodate them immediately.

Last month we opened a new Oral Surgery Practice in Lompoc at 1111 East Ocean Avenue.   Our welcoming staff can accommodate patients every weekday in Santa Barbara and Lompoc. Give us a call to see how we can improve your smile today!

Santa Barbara Oral Surgery – 805.682.0933Ocean Oral Surgery Office in Lompoc, CA

Lompoc Oral Surgery – 805.735.3665

Ocean Oral Surgery in Lompoc, CA


Don't Delay an X-Ray

This spring we have seen a few patients with an “extra” or supernumerary tooth lodged in their chin area.  These patients had normal bite-wing X-Rays and regular check ups with their dentist.  Because they had not taken a panoramic X-Ray, these “extra” teeth were never addressed.  It is much better to diagnose and resolve these issues earlier rather than later.

The best time to take a panoramic X-Ray to diagnose wisdom teeth is 15-21 for boys and 14-20 for girls.  For orthodontic purposes, you can start as early as 8 or 9.  Panoramic X-Rays show a host of issues and help the doctor get a greater perspective.

Panoramic X-Rays show a broad view of the jaws, teeth, sinuses, nasal area, and temporomandibular (jaw) joints. These X-Rays do not find cavities. These X-rays show problems such as impacted teeth, bone abnormalities, cysts, solid growths (tumors), infections, and fractures. (WebMD)

So let’s stay on top of our diagnosing and address problem areas early!  If you want to get ahead of the curve and snap a panoramic X-Ray in Santa Barbara or Lompoc, come see Dr. Kiken.

Our Santa Barbara Oral Surgery office has been at 2425 Bath Street one block up from Cottage Hospital for nearly 30 years.  We just opened our new Oral Surgery office in Lompoc at 1111 Ocean Avenue this month.  Come check out the gorgeous new

Catch that tooth in the chin before it becomes problematic!

Catch that tooth in the chin before it becomes problematic!