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



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


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


The Affordable Care Act Has NO Teeth!!

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Obamacare and the ACA has no requirements when it comes to adult dental care. There are some provisions for children’s dental services as an essential health benefit, but dental coverage for adults has been ignored.  The American Dental Association president has stated, “We’re concerned about it because the law does not draw attention to the fact that oral health is very critically involved in overall health.”  Reports have shown that emergency room visits for dental emergencies have almost doubled from 2000 to 2010.

It appears that people are not getting dental care early enough to prevent  life threatening emergencies.

The good news is that if you currently have dental benefits from your employer, the policy will unlikely change.  However, many corporations will modify their medical benefits to be in compliance with the new laws.

We consider our patients with dental insurance coverage VERY fortunate!!  Dental insurance is designed to help cover dental costs and acts like a dental discount plan in many cases.   Medical insurance and dental insurance are very different and we make sure to do our part in educating about their insurance coverage.   Health Savings and Medical Savings Accounts (HSA’s and MSA’s) have become frequently used to pay for dental services with pre-tax dollars.

We hear quite often …. “I haven’t been to the dentist in a while because I don’t have dental insurance”.

Our response …. “Why not?”

Of course the answer usually involves a financial concern and we totally understand that a “dental budget” is not something many people put on the family spreadsheet.

At New Image Dental, we believe that dentistry changes lives and we get to see and experience that everyday in our practice!  We believe that investing in dentistry and your oral health is one of the best investments you could make!!   This is why our practice exists and what we stand for when it comes to our patient care.

To help our patients with dental care costs, we offer a great alternative to traditional insurance with our premier dental membership plan.

Benefits include:

Free simple teeth cleanings (up to two per year)
Free complete annual dental exam (up to two per year)
Free x-rays for complete annual exam(s) – includes 3D Scan
Free teeth whitening
A 15% savings on all dental procedures
A 15% savings on all implant services
A 10% savings on all orthodontic services
The cost is $329  a year which amounts to $27 a month. (That is about the same as a 2x/week Starbucks  habit! )

The moral of our story is early dental care is the easiest, least expensive, cheapest, simplest way to go.

We remind our patients to only take care of the teeth that they WANT to keep!!

Cheers to your dental health!!

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Dr. Leslie Strommer


New Image Dental   619-280-9100

Your smile is your BEST accessory… you wear it EVERYDAY!!

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As healthcare providers… our training and focus is on how to keep our teeth and gums healthy!!  We are trained to remove decay, restore worn and broken teeth, clean those gums and help our patients keep their teeth for a lifetime.  We understand this because chewing is very important and most of us enjoy using our teeth everyday to eat!!

So now let’s talk about the health of our SMILE.  How do you know if you have a healthy smile??

  • Do you smile daily without concern?
  • Do  you love seeing it in the mirror?
  • Do you you share it generously with the world?

A smile is a gift that we can give to others that doesn’t cost a thing.  We all know a person who can light up a room with their smile.

Regardless if your teeth are straight, crooked, white or yellow… it really doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you are confident enough to wear your smile with reckless abandon?

Over the last 22 years of practicing dentistry, I hear many stories of my patients who struggle with feeling self-conscious about their teeth and don’t like to smile.  I have a lot of compassion for this dis-ease of an unhealthy smile.

The good news is there are many ways that a patient can get the smile they have wanted.  For some patients, simple whitening, minor reshaping and bonding or repositioning can do the trick.  For others who are interested in making a bigger impact, major tooth movement, veneers and porcelain crowns may be the way to go.  I find that the simplest, most conservative treatment is the best bet for most people and my patients are amazed at how a few simple changes can make all the difference.

I tell my patients… if you love your smile then there is nothing for us to do!

If on the other hand… you wanted to improve what you were born with, ask us how we can help!!

Be generous today and give your smile away!!!

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Dr. Leslie Strommer

www. newimagedentalcare.com


Let’s talk straight about straight teeth … and it’s not just about looking pretty…

The question is… why should you care if you don’t have straight teeth?

You may be one of the many who were not blessed with well aligned teeth, along with 70-80% of the population.  Or, maybe you had braces when you were younger and now think… “I should have worn that retainer”, because things don’t look like they did when you got them off.

We see “malocclusion” or improper alignment of dental arches, everyday in our office and I want you to know it is your choice whether or not to treat it.  At New Image Dental, we have many patients who choose orthodontics  to properly align their teeth because they want to keep their teeth healthy for a lifetime.

What I am going to share with you is why properly aligned straight teeth have many benefits above and beyond looking fabulous for those photo shoots and “selfies”.

  • Straight teeth are much easier to clean, maintain and keep healthy. This means, lower risk for tooth decay and food traps.  Also, with less tartar and stain, they will likely stay whiter!  Flossing is so much easier!
  • Properly aligned teeth function better, which means you can properly chew your food which aides in digestion.  Maybe not a problem now when you are young… but don’t forget these are the same teeth we will have in our 80’s and 90’s!!  Proper digestion is key to our health when we are in our senior years.
  • Well aligned teeth will lower our risk for bite problems associated with TMJ symptoms like headaches, tired jaws, uncomfortable bite.  We have had success in minimizing chronic headaches related to bad bites.
  • Minimizes tooth chipping and wear.  Have you noticed your lower teeth chipping on the edges?  This could be due to your bite!  Don’t let this go on for long… a bad bite can destroy teeth at an accelerated rate.
  • Tooth crowding typically gets worse with time…  notice that older people often have crooked lower anterior teeth?  This is because as the teeth wear down, the bite changes which causes  issues that cause the teeth to shift and crowd.

So…when you are considering orthodontics,  feel confident that you are putting your teeth in the best position possible to be healthy for a lifetime! And don’t forget that the side benefit of straight teeth is usually a gorgeous smile!!




Should I trust my dentist?

So here is a topic that I know is a concern around dentistry and it can get in the way of people going forward with recommended dental care…. a lack of trust.
How do you know if you can trust your dentist?  So often in meeting new patients, there are many stories of people questioning previous care, how it was done and whether or not is was necessary.  I ask myself, how is it that this perception is so pervasive?
 First, let’s talk straight about a few things…
  • Dentistry is a service business.
  • We perform dental services for a profit.
  • Our goal is to be profitable AND serve our patients dental needs at the same time.
Now if I sound like I am defending our profession…. maybe so.  I believe that dentists  often get a bad rap and are accused of recommending unnecessary treatment.  The REAL deal is that  there is a lack of trust between the dentist and the patient before the treatment began.   When a patient trusts their dentists’ recommendations,  they are empowered to make  educated decisions before proceeding with treatment.  When a patient has been educated about what to expect with their dental care, things usually go very smoothly.
So. the question remains…what makes you trust someone?
From personal experience,  it is a feeling, a knowing in the pit of my stomach that tells me something is right for me.
If  you aren’t as in touch with your inner knowing… ask yourself these questions…
  • How does the dentist and the team/staff interact with you?
  • Do they spend sufficient time with you to get to know you and find out why you are there?
  • Do they take photos of your teeth and educate you about the condition of your mouth?
  • Do they make sure you understand the condition before they offer a solution?
  • Is there testimony from other people who are satisfied with their care?
  • How does the office make you feel?  Comfortable? Safe? Secure?
I love this definition of TRUST” in the dictionary – “One in which confidence is placed”.
Have confidence in the ONE  that you choose to care for your teeth… just know that when we have our patients’ trust, we feel valued.