Dr. Kim Lugtu
Dr. Kim Lugtu is a native of San Diego where she grew up in Rancho Penasquitos and attended Mt. Carmel High School.
She graduated magna cum laude and received a BS degree in Biology at UC Riverside. In 2006, Dr. Kim received her Doctorate of Dental Surgery at UCLA School of Dentistry. Following dental school, she went on to complete her pediatric dental residency at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where she served as chief resident of the department during her final year. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, and is currently a member of the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, and American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.
Dr. Kim is dedicated to building long lasting relationships with her patients and creating a lifetime of healthy smiles. She has enjoyed mission trips to Nicaragua and the Philippines. In her free time, she and her husband, Brian, love traveling, spending time with family and friends, and playing with their dog, Mochi.
Dr. Samuel Russom
Dr. Samuel Russom, known to his patients as Dr. Sam, believes strongly that communication is the cornerstone to being a great pediatric dentist. “During procedures, I like to tell patients and parents what I am doing, as well as why I’m doing it. I find this helps patients and their parents to accept treatment and be an active participant in their oral healthcare,” said Dr. Sam. He also brings a light-hearted attitude to the office and enjoys making patients and parents laugh during visits.
Putting children at ease and alleviating their fear of going to the dentist is one of Dr. Sam’s top priorities, as he recognizes the importance of establishing good oral healthcare habits early on in life. “Recently, I had a patient with severe dental anxiety come to me in pain. She had to get through multiple visits and at the end of her treatment, she told me, ‘You’re the best dentist ever because I never feel anything.’ That’s what makes it all worth it,” said Dr. Sam.
Collaboration with colleagues is also an important part of Dr. Sam’s treatment philosophy. He is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), the California Dental Association (CDA) and the San Diego Dental Society. Dr. Sam is also proud to have been inducted into the Omicron Kappa Upsilon National Dental Honor Society and to have provided care to an underserved community at the Southern Indian Health Center in Alpine.
Dr. Sam earned a BA in Biology from San Diego State University and went on to the UCSF School of Dentistry, where he received his DDS degree. From there, he returned to Southern California and completed his pediatric residency at the University of Southern California. “I was a resident at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles where I treated medically compromised and developmentally delayed children,” explained Dr. Sam, who takes great pride in his experience treating children with special needs.
A native San Diegan, Dr. Sam was born and raised in Southeast San Diego. His parents came to the U.S. as refugees, and he is the first of his family to graduate from college. He has an older sister and a younger brother, and is very close to his two nieces. In fact, much of his free time is spent babysitting! A self-described nerd, Dr. Sam loves going to coffee shops to read science fiction and fantasy novels, as well as comics. He also enjoys basketball, volleyball, and hiking.
Dr. Olga Alvarado
Dr. Olga Alvarado is a board certified pediatric dentist who provides the highest level of care to kids of all ages in a gentle and compassionate manner. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from New York University before pursuing dentistry. She attends multiple courses a year to stay current with the most modern advances in pediatric dentistry. Her excellence as a practitioner is what draws families, but her approachability and charisma is what makes children and adolescents eager to return.
Dr. Olga grew up in New York, and then headed west for the beautiful weather and outdoor activities year-round. She is fluent in English and Russian, and conversant in Spanish. Her favorite activities are going paddle boarding with her labradoodle, Micah, and riding beach cruisers around Mission Bay.
Dr. Mark Macaoay
Dr. Mark Macaoay was born in San Diego, CA and has spent most of his life here. He received his Bachelors of Science degree in Mammalian Physiology and Neuroscience from the University of California at San Diego. He then earned his Doctor of Dental Science Degree from the University of the Pacific’s Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, California. Dr. Macaoay also received a Navy Health Professions Scholarship in dental school and participated in pediatric outreach and organized dentistry during his time there. He graduated with honors and went on to complete an Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency at Naval Medical Center San Diego. After completing his Navy commitment, Dr. Macaoay returned to University of the Pacific School of Dentistry as a clinical professor and co-director in the International Dental Studies program.
While teaching at the dental university, he practiced in a pediatric dental office where he discovered his passion for children’s dental health. He completed his Pediatric Dental Residency training at St. Barnabas Hospital, a Level I trauma center in New York City. Dr. Macaoay has been featured in publications of the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association and local newspapers. He is a volunteer for UCSD’s Predental Society Student Run Dental Clinic and has participated in international humanitarian dental missions in Fiji, Jamaica, and Jerusalem.
When Dr. Macaoay is not helping children achieve healthy smiles, you can find him reading, traveling, hiking, training for triathlons, and spending quality time with his family.
Dr. Bernard Boback
Dr. Bernard Boback, or Dr. Bernie as he is called by patients, is a UCLA and Harvard educated orthodontist who is proud to transform the smiles – and the lives – of his patients. “The best part of my job is seeing the confidence that comes from a transformed smile. Every day, I have the opportunity to see my patients, who previously were hesitant to smile, beaming across the room. Not many people can say that about their profession,” said Dr. Bernie.
When patients come to see Dr. Bernie, they are immediately put at ease by his friendly demeanor and extensive knowledge of orthodontics. Dr. Bernie views every case as an opportunity to learn and grow within his profession, and works with each patient to provide the best possible outcome. He is focused on keeping his patients motivated throughout their treatments and considers them to be integral parts of his team.
Working closely with other orthodontists, as well as with colleagues in general and specialty dentistry, is also an important component of Dr. Bernie’s philosophy. “I belong to both the American Association of Orthodontics and the American Dental Association and the networks of professionals within these organizations are fantastic resources. Collaboration and the sharing of resources are critical parts of ensuring that all my patients receive the best possible care and the best treatment plans for their unique case,” explained Dr. Bernie, who is an Invisalign Certified Doctor and has experience with the most up-to-date and innovative orthodontic technologies.
Dr. Bernie grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania and attended the Honors College at the University of Pittsburgh, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He then went on to graduate from Harvard University School of Dental Medicine, winning the Grace Milliken Award for Best Thesis in the class of 2014. Moving from Boston to the warmer weather of Southern California, Dr. Bernie attended the UCLA School of Dentistry, where he completed his residency and earned his certificate in Orthodontics and a MS in Oral Biology. Dr. Bernie stayed in Southern California after completing his residency and is happy to have settled in San Diego.
When he is not seeing patients, Dr. Bernie can be found restoring classic automobiles and spending time with his wife and two dogs. “Restoring classic cars is a passion of mine that I’ve had since I would work on cars with my dad. I love taking something with a lot of potential and creating something amazing. It’s fun, challenging and rewarding,” said Dr. Bernie, drawing a distinct parallel between his chosen profession and his beloved pastime.
Dr. “Chris” Chieu Pham
Dr. Chris L. Pham is a board certified pediatric dentist serving the children of San Diego. He is a graduate with honors from The Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, where he continues his academic interest as a visiting clinical professor. Dr. Chris is also a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and plays an active role in the California Dental Association, American Dental Association, and California Society of Pediatric Dentistry. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, of which only a few can claim in San Diego, CA. He is also part of the team at Scripps Hospital La Jolla.
His calm and patient manner with children allows the team and parents to have an enjoyable and thorough visit, ensuring a lifetime of beautiful, healthy smiles.
Dr. Chris is actively involved in the dental community. He serves as a chairman for the San Diego County Dental Society. He also serves on the Ethics Committee for the Dental Society. He continues in academia as adjunct faculty at UCSD Medical School – Department of Preventative and Family Medicine. He is also affiliated with, and an advisor to, Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego State University, and UCLA. He is also a published author for his research in children’s dentistry.
Dr. Chris has enjoyed dental mission work in Vietnam, Guatemala, Mexico, and other under-served areas.
Dr. Chris enjoys the outdoors and is an avid skier. He spends his free time with his wife, Katherine, and their two dogs, Lilly and Winston. They enjoy the beach and surfing.
Dr. Cyrus Aghdam
As the oldest of four siblings, Dr. Cyrus Aghdam grew up in Maryland and is a proud native of the state. His education includes an orthodontics certificate from Eastman at the University of Rochester and completion of the Spark Clear Aligners Master Course. Dr. Aghdam is a member of the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) and has a true passion for the art of smile transformation.
After joining our practice, Dr. Aghdam has made an exceptional impact on patients by partnering with them to bring them a beautiful, more confident smile through orthodontic care. He enjoys the rewarding experience of seeing patients enjoy their new smiles, as well as the challenge of navigating complex cases and delivering the best outcomes. Outside of work, Dr. Aghdam enjoys relaxing evenings watching TV; his favorite show is The Office!
Dr. Stephen O’Donnell
Dr. Stephen O’Donnell grew up in the beautiful town of Granite Bay in Sacramento and has spent many years in the Southern California region. With a big heart for growing smiles, he made the decision to pursue pediatric dentistry as a profession. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California Irvine, where he studied biological sciences and graduated with excellence in research honors. He then worked in biomedical research for a year before completing his master’s degree in global medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. Dr. O’Donnell remained in Los Angeles to complete both his dental school training and his pediatric dental residency at the University of Southern California. During his residency, he spent the majority of his hospital training at the Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, where he had the opportunity to treat and manage multi-disciplinary cases for children with various medical conditions. He was also able to serve on multiple hematology-oncology subspecialty clinical teams and was a member of the craniofacial clinical team.
Dr. O’Donnell spent time training at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, and the Los Angeles County Medical Center. He regularly attends continuing education courses and meetings through the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry, and the California Dental Association. He has also been taking courses with the American Laser Study Club and learning more about airway dentistry, and the impact of oral health on the way children breathe. He is proudly recognized as an American Board of Pediatric Dentistry Diplomate, California Society of Pediatric Dentistry Member, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Member, San Diego County Dental Society member, California Dental Association member, and American Dental Association member.
Dr. O’Donnell has a rich career history that includes volunteer work throughout central and southern California and Baja California, Mexico. Since joining our practice in 2023, Dr. O’Donnell has enjoyed being able to care for children and provide quality treatment. He takes great pride in being able to help children who are suffering from dental anxiety. Caring for those with special health care needs is also one of his passions. He particularly enjoys how dental and oral health is integrated with the rest of our body and health and is interested in our oral health’s impact on our upper airway and the way we breathe. This can have a profound impact on our lives, especially those of children.
Overall, nothing brings more joy to Dr. O’Donnell than helping a child, who has had difficult experiences at another office, overcome their anxiety and find comfort in their new dental home. He loves seeing their smiling faces, especially as they grow! Dr. O’Donnell enjoys hearing about the newest things in their lives and the exciting activities they are trying, from their first t-ball game to their first girl scout cookie sale! Additionally, he enjoys being a part of a wonderful team here at the San Diego office, who all share a passion for providing a positive experience for the patients and their families.