Ohana Means Family…

Ohana image

My favorite quote from Disney’s “Lilo and Stitch” is…. “Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.”  My summer has been blessed with “Ohana”!!  Our college age children Kyle and Ryan were home working this summer and our downsized empty nest was full!!  It is wonderful to experience my children as they get older and wiser (yes they get wiser)…we had many interesting conversations about life and their plans for the future.  Momma couldn’t be more proud as they navigate their way through life.
We recently got to experience “da kine” Ohana in Oahu with an amazing family vacation thanks to Lovey… (Mom).  I have gained an appreciation for the precious time that I got to spend with my immediate and extended family.  The highlights were the surprise luau that my brother Joseph and I hosted for my Mom’s 80th birthday.  Her reaction was priceless and worth all the effort!!  I also loved visiting my 91 year old Uncle Arthur… seeing him reminded me of how much I miss my Dad who has been gone now for 15 years.  Beach bumming, walking, hiking, surfing, eating, eating, eating and hanging out with family made it the perfect vacation.  I cherished the moments!
In googling the definition of “Ohana”, I read the following..  Ohana, the Hawaiian word for family, extends beyond core family to include both blood and informally-adopted kin.  There are many benefits to belonging to an ohana, and there are responsibilities and obligations as well.  First and foremost to behave responsibly with integrity, so your ohana is pleased to claim you.   Now I understand why this Hawaiian word resonates loudly with me… ( not just because Dad was from Kauai) it’s because I can apply it’s meaning to all the Ohana families that I am blessed to be a part of…. New Image Dental Ohana, Girlfriends Ohana,  Dental Masterminders Ohana, Kois tribe Ohana,  Dentistry for Humanity Ohana and the list goes on.
If I approach being a part of these families with “Ohana” in mind… I will be a better version of myself.
So remember to be grateful for ALL the Ohanas  in your life and ask yourself…  are they pleased to claim you?? 
Leslie Strommer, DDS
7510 Hazard Center Drive, Suite 203
San Diego, CA 92108

Less Stuff… More Happiness…..Really?

When I blogged six months ago “Who knows what the next chapter will bring…” I  had no idea that I was about to embark on an exciting adventure in downsizing.  4000 square feet on 1.2 acres to 1750 square feet with NO yard to be exact.

Fast forward to March 2015… a brief synopsis:

  • Youngest child off to college (That makes 2 kids in college now.)
  • Fixed up and sold our Poway home within 2 weeks of listing it.
  • Went on an emotional roller coaster ride of excitement, anxiety, uncertainty along with many sleepless nights.
  • Purchased a very cool urban multi-level townhouse in Mission Valley less than a mile from the office! (3 minute commute!)
  • Purged, donated and discarded half of our belongings. (And still kept too much)
  • Made all of this happen in just 3.5 months!
We decided last August to take the empty-nester, downsize plunge and went from suburban to urban in one fell swoop!!  The reactions from family and friends were mixed… some thought we were being hasty, others thought we were making a brilliant move.
There were times I questioned our decision and my husband  had me watch a TED talk titled
“Less Stuff, More Happiness” by Graham HIll.  The message was clear… drastically “editing” my life could lead to a more fulfilling existence.  Once we were at the point of no return, I prayed that Graham Hill was right.
Today I can say with confidence that my life feels “richer” in so many ways.  I discovered great joy in giving away things that most people hang on to for a lifetime.  Leaving the big house in the country for a small one in the city and getting rid of half of our “stuff” was a bold move with a large payoff.  I now have more time and more freedom with less distractions.  Reducing our commute from 30 minutes down to 3 minutes has been amazing!
There is now space in my life… both mentally, physically and financially to let new things unfold.  I have more time to focus on my health, my marriage, my career, my relationships, being of service and living my soul purpose.  What I am inspired to do is constantly evolving… I love that part.
Whether or not you are in a position to downsize, I ask you to consider the benefits of simplifying, donating, and purging your life of some excess “stuff”.  Giving things away is liberating and it feels good.  Create some space in your life and see what shows up!

61718-Less-Stuff-More-HappinessLeslie Strommer, DDS

New Image Dental

7510 Hazard Center Drive, SD, CA 92108



A New Chapter Begins…




This has been my THEME as we head towards the end of summer.  By the end of August, Scott and I will join “Club Empty Nesters” as we send our oldest back to college and deliver our youngest to Gonzaga University for his freshman year.  This “New Chapter” brings up a lot of emotions: excitement, sadness, fear, and joy all at the same time and I wonder how I can experience those emotions all at once!  This is a monumental time in a parent’s life… when we have done all that we can (or at least gave it our very best) and we send our kids off into the world and pray that we have given them enough love and guidance to keep them moving forward… no matter what life brings their way.

As I begin to write my “New Chapter”, so many ideas and thoughts start to flood the pages.  “What will I focus on at New Image Dental? Will I work more?  Will I learn to ballroom dance?  Will I be able to cook for just 2? Will I get my vision of Dentistry for Humanity off the ground?  How will I manage all these opportunities?  How will I manage my new found free time? Will my children miss me and call me?”

What I do know is that this next chapter will be fulfilling and I will embrace this time in my life because just like when we became new parents and brought beautiful sweet children into the world… life was full of possibility.  This next chapter is the same…. full of possibility.  Whatever I choose to focus on, learn, grow and do has the potential to be as wonderful as it has been raising two amazing young men.

Life brings change… sometimes it is welcome and sometimes we are not ready, but it is happens nonetheless.

My question to you is….  what possibility do you see for your “New Chapter”?

Share your thoughts with someone you love!!

Pura Vida!!

new-beginnings IMG_2558 IMG_2550

Leslie Strommer, DDS

New Image Dental

7510 Hazard Center Drive, SD, CA 92108


Life Lessons from Costa Rica….. Pura Vida!!



My family recently returned from an amazing vacation in the beautiful country of Costa Rica.   Not only is the landscape of the country majestic and breathtaking at times, there is an unmistakable positive vibe that permeates the country and is experienced when interacting with the Ticos (native Costa Ricans).

Everywhere we went, we were  greeted with “Pura Vida!”, and bid farewell with the same.  In researching this phrase, I discovered in Spanish it means “pure life”.  The Ticos explain that they live “the good life” and they truly embody the lifestyle.  I also read that it is about being free and living life to it’s fullest without regrets, it’s an attitude.

I came to the realization that with every “Pura Vida” we were greeted with was accompanied by a BIG SMILE!!  The smiles and laughter were the reason why “Pura Vida” had so much meaning!    As a dentist, I did notice there were many smiles with missing, yellow, discolored, crooked teeth that could have certainly used some of my help… but regardless, it didn’t stop anyone from smiling!

So… my life lesson from Costa Rica is this:

Did you know that your smile is a gift that we can give away everyday?

Be generous… spread some love today and SMILE!!!

Pura Vida!!


Leslie Strommer, DDS

New Image Dental

7510 Hazard Center Drive, SD, CA 92108



The Truth About Tooth Decay and Cavities… It may NOT be your fault, well not entirely.


You may be one of the lucky few who show up in our office year after year without a cavity!!  That certainly was not in my genetic code… the “good teeth gene”.  I was the one who went to the dentist every year, and every time I went in, I needed dental work and fillings!  Ugh!  Why did this happen to me and not my brother who didn’t brush or floss any better than I did?  

The truth is… not all teeth are created equal.  Whether or not you get a cavity is dependent on a number of factors and yes, what you eat and how well you clean your teeth plays a big part… but that is not entirely the whole story.   What actually creates the perfect environment for decay to take hold is a low pH environment that leads to mineral loss in the teeth.  This low pH environment over time is bad news for our teeth.  Our saliva is designed to remineralize our teeth, but only IF the pH environment is more alkaline (> 5.5).  Conclusion… low pH is BAD for our teeth!

So what does this mean??  The good news is that it is possible to create an oral environment that doesn’t allow the formation of new cavities!  By treating active decay along with home care products that can increase the pH of the mouth, we can create a decay free oral environment.   This is a game changer for people like myself who was certainly disappointed every time I went to the dentist.  At New Image Dental, we regularly rehabilitate cavity prone mouths.   We have many clients who thought that cavities were synonymous with dental visits and are surprised to learn that we can stop that process with the right plan in place.

Here are things that need to be addressed if you have been affected by the cavity bug…

  • Salivary Flow Rate (how much saliva do you produce?)
  • Home care oral hygiene habits and home care products (Carifree rinses and toothpastes)
  • Medications taken (many cause decreased salivary flow)
  • Acid Reflux (can lower pH in mouth)
  • Low pH beverage consumption (soda, energy drinks, diet sodas too!)  Remember… we want pH above 5.5!!

Beverage      pH
diet coke       3.22
diet pepsi      2.94
sprite            3.27
red bull         3.37
black coffee  6.25
tap water      6.70

It is a huge relief for those who thought tooth decay and dental visits went together to know that a cavity free existence is possible!!!  If you have been plagued by the cavity bug in the past and are seeking solutions to help keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime, speak to your dentist about how to create a cavity free plan for you!!  

healthy teeth images


Leslie Strommer, DDS

New Image Dental

7510 Hazard Center Drive, SD, CA 92108


Why our teeth will be more valuable than gold when we’re old…..





Turning 50 this year has really made me look into my life to see what really matters.  What I have observed with myself and my friends is that our generation feels very young at heart and we refuse to get old without a fight!!  We don’t want be the 50 year olds that our parents were and  we won’t let a number (5-0) slow us down!

What has become very clear is what I have done with my body and my health up to this point and what I choose to do going forward will greatly impact my health, my joy and my quality of life in my later years.  (Hence the daily stretching, walking….)

So the topic of this post… why will our teeth will be more valuable than gold when we’re old?  What some people don’t realize is that the natural, healthy, disease free teeth that you were born with are irreplaceable!!  Yes, we can fix cavities, fix broken teeth, stabilize gum disease, place dental implants and make dentures, but the teeth will never be as healthy as they were before the repair was needed.

My experience with the senior citizens in my practice and shared stories of their parents, is that having healthy teeth heading in to our golden years is invaluable!  The ability to eat without discomfort and chew properly are key to our nourishment and well being.  My message is to encourage your children, your parents, your spouse and your loved ones to take care of their teeth and seek out a great dental professional to help you.   Don’t take your teeth for granted and if you were lucky enough to be born with good teeth, visit your dentist to make sure they stay that way!!  Changes in a person’s health, new medications, systemic conditions can have a big impact on what was once a healthy mouth.

Make sure to make an investment in your oral health now…. it will be worth it’s weight in gold later!!!


Leslie Strommer, DDS

New Image Dental

7510 Hazard Center Drive, SD, CA 92108



Live to Learn!



                          “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

                                                                                                       ― Mahatma Gandhi

Earning my DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree in 1991 was quite an accomplishment.  After 4.5 years of undergraduate at UC Davis, 4 years at UCLA Dental School, California state board exam, the idea of “education” did not sound appealing.  I remember taking my last written board exam and singing “Hallelujah…  may I NEVER  take another exam for the rest of my life!”

A new DDS soon discovers that there is a “continuing education (CE) requirement “ to renew our license.  What??  50 hours of (CE) every 2 years?  You’ve got to be kidding me!  I just spent my last 9 years in school and I thought I was done! … I do not want to go back to school!!!

Fast forward 22.5 years and what I have realized is that I didn’t want to go back to school, however… I LOVE TO LEARN!!  I love learning new things… new technology, new business strategies, new procedures, new marketing skills.  My husband and I consider ourselves “continuing education junkies”, and we really look forward to our continuing education courses that typically include air travel to a cool city, a nice hotel and venue.  CE has honestly been our couples retreat… Mom would come babysit our boys when they were young while Scott and I traveled to SF or Seattle, Chicago, Scottsdale to name a few.  Our romantic getaways usually included long days of lecturing, rooms full of other dentists and we would spend our days learning new techniques and philosophies that would  aloow us to improve how we serve our patients.  Not too sexy for most couples… but perfect for a couple of dental nerds.

Scott recently posted on our FB page some photos from the Kois Center in Seattle where we have trained extensively and where he continues to mentor other doctors.  He says it beautifully…”It’s about CHANGING LIVES. Ours, and the patients we serve.”

Here is a partial list of what I have studied over the course of my dental career that I did NOT learn in dental school:

  • Extensive Hands on Training in Cosmetic Dentistry and Veneers
  • Invisalign – orthodontics
  • CEREC Cad/Cam technology
  • 3D Imaging/Radiography
  • Kois Center Graduate Training (www.Koiscenter.com)
  • Landmark Education – Life coaching
  • Freedom FastTrack – Financial/ Business Coaching
  • Next Level Practice – Team Coaching
  • Chopra Center – Meditation and Yoga
  • Facial Esthetics – Botox for TMJ therapy and cosmetic enhancement

My philosophy about learning has extended to every day of my life.  I subscribe to the belief that every person, situation and circumstance in our life is here to teach us something if we stay present enough to look for the lesson.  Learning for me is a way of living and it has allowed my life to be fun, exciting, inspirational, creative and full of possibility.

Ask yourself… what will YOU commit to learning today?


Leslie Strommer, DDS

New Image Dental

7510 Hazard Center Drive, SD, CA 92108


Giving Back Feels So Good!

Dentistry for Humanity final

I never considered myself a “charitable” person.  I wasn’t highly involved in volunteer activities, whether it be for my children’s school, sports, or church.  I often felt guilty seeing the other parents and people so much more involved and giving of their time.  I justified my actions and told myself… “that’s just not me”.

Fast forward to 2014, I am currently serving on the board of the San Diego Dental Health Foundation for the next 3 years.   I am one of the founders of “Dentistry for Humanity”, a newly formed organization that is committed to inspiring SD CEREC dentists to utilize our technology to improve access to dental care to those in need within our community through service and contribution.  I have been behind the scenes bringing this project to life for the last 9 months and the end result will be the opportunity serve the dental needs of our local Veterans who are in dire need of the dentistry that will allow them to integrate back into society.

So, what happened to me?  The one who felt guilty not signing up for the volunteer activities for school and church is now taking on “giving back” in a whole new way!!  Rather than going into a long detailed description, I am going to summarize what I believe has caused my “philanthropic” transformation.

  • Maturity… age, years on the planet.  Turning 50 later this year really has made me reflect on what is important.  After the awesome marriage, wonderful career and raising two wonderful young men… “What can I give?”  and “How can I serve?”, have become so much more relevant.
  • Personal growth and development – Landmark Education and Deepak Chopra… the perfect combination of spiritual and personal transformation through self awareness and meditation.  Way too much to describe in a few sentences, but trust me when I say my life has never been more joyful and peaceful.
  • Sharing my vision – Amazing things start to happen when you share your vision with the world. Doors open up that you wouldn’t have been able to orchestrate on your own.  Inspiration comes and the project takes on a life of it’s own.  It’s truly miraculous.
  • Blind Faith – In taking on these projects, I have learned to have an intention for what I want to create, however, I am unattached to the outcome.  This approach allows me to let go of control and allow things to unfold naturally.
  • A commitment to have FUN in the process – FUN in the form of laughter, light heartedness and joy are requirements of this transformation. Although I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone and will continue to do so…. I am committed to having FUN no matter what.

What I have learned is that giving back is a mindset.  It isn’t so much what you do, what matters is that you are doing things for others and looking to contribute in a way that works for you.  The real truth is that giving back feels so good!!  The rewards are beyond what material possessions and money can give.  It is a heartfelt satisfaction, quiet and purposeful that makes me feel like I matter in this world and I alone can make a difference.

What can you give of yourself to this world?  Don’t underestimate yourself!


Dr. Leslie Strommer


New Year’s Inspiration!


Every new year brings what feels like a fresh start, an opportunity, a chance to do that “thing” that we have been thinking about for quite some time.  As my 17 year old son says to me, “You do you”  and “I’m gonna do me”.  My interpretation is that we should focus on what works for us and not be concerned with what everyone else is doing.  I like how that sounds and feels.

I love the quote  “A year from now I will wish I had started today.”  It reminds me that there is no other time like the present and there won’t be a better time than now.

Things I want to start now:

  • Seeing the launch of the philanthropic/charitable organization that I created the possibility for in 2013 – Dentistry for Humanity.
  • Following through with the training and implementing the use of Botox in my dental practice. (Migraines, TMJ, Facial pain)
  • Yoga/pilates/stretching  – good things for soon to be 50 year old body.

What things do you want to start now?

If any of those “things” revolve around your dental health, like getting your teeth straightened, whitened, or finally getting that missing tooth replaced, or getting those old silver fillings out… we are here to help.

Year after year we help our patients achieve dental health, create new smiles, restore old ones and give back the ability to chew food with confidence!!

Let us know if we can help you in 2014!!

new years quote

Leslie Strommer, DDS



Don’t be a hater!! Find out how to make your dental visits more tolerable.


I am still surprised to see statistics that indicate that 40% of the population does NOT visit the dental office and out of those people, 15% is due to dental phobia, fear and anxiety.  As a dentist, we have all heard .…”I hate going to the dentist… no offense”, and my response is ….”none taken and thanks for sharing.”

I understand that the “fear” stigma surrounding dentistry has been around for some time and it is consistent with the way dentists have been portrayed on the big screen. (Marathon Man, Little Shop of Horrors and The Dentist to name a few).  I find myself wondering… what is it going to take to shift the perception of dentistry as a whole?  Will we ever be embraced as a group of healthcare professionals who are committed to total health and wellness for our patients??  Only time will tell.

My solution to this question will be handled one patient at a time.    Over the last 22 years, we have helped hundreds of patients who truly appreciate and are grateful for what we do and continue to come back for more!  Amazing!  Our office has successfully transformed former “haters” into “willing participants” who are committed to their oral health.

If you are part of the 40% non-dental users and want to come over to the other side….here are some suggestions for making your dental visit tolerable and possibly even pleasant!  (Let’s not get crazy)

  1. When you call to schedule your appointment, let us know about you!  Make sure to let us know your primary concern and what is important to you when visiting our office.
  2. Let us know if you have dental anxiety or phobia.  We will plan to meet you first and take it slow if necessary.
  3. Remember that you control what you do or don’t do at our office.  We are here to educate and offer solutions.
  4. Keep in mind, our primary purpose is to help our patients achieve healthy mouths!!  We stand for oral health and only recommend what is necessary to get you there.
  5. We offer sedation dentistry for our patients who want to relax through their dental treatment appointments.  It is as simple as taking a pill.

A healthy mouth has numerous benefits… the ability to eat without discomfort, fresh smelling breath, lower risk for heart disease, infection and inflammation in your body, smiling with confidence… and the list goes on.

Don’t be a hater… join the other 60% of the population who find us tolerable and give us the opportunity to give you a healthy mouth!

Leslie Strommer,DDS

New Image Dental