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. 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. “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. 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. Jordan Buzzell
Dr. Jordan Buzzell is a board certified pediatric dentist with a gentle and calm demeanor that puts even the most fearful patients at ease. Dr. “Buzz”, as he is known by his patients, treats every child as he would his own – with compassion, patience, and love. He has extensive experience in working with children with special needs including those born with craniofacial abnormalities like cleft lip and palate. Dr. Buzz prides himself on his conservative yet realistic approach to provide the best possible care for your child. As our Santee office approaches its 7th anniversary, Dr. Buzz is incredibly thankful for the families that call our office home.
After earning an undergraduate degree from Azusa Pacific University and a dental degree at Loma Linda University, Dr. Buzz completed his residency at New York University. He also holds a master’s degree in public health and is the fourth generation in his family to pursue education in this field. He is also a proud Veteran. Dr. Buzz served on active duty in the United States Navy for six years and is currently a member of the Active Reserves. He has received numerous accolades from the military, including the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
Dr. Buzz belongs to many professional organizations including the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), San Diego County Dental Society (SDCDS), the American Dental Association (ADA) and the California Dental Association (CDA). He is especially proud to be a member of the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry (CSPD), a nationally recognized leader in organized pediatric dentistry.
Serving the less fortunate is close to Dr. Buzz’s heart, and he has helped countless children locally and internationally. He is a co-founder and co-creator of the Cura Smiles free dental clinic in the City Heights area of San Diego. He is also dedicated to inspiring young people to make a difference in the world and is a professional mentor for students at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU), as well as an adjunct faculty member on the campus. According to Dr. Buzz, working with children and college students and serving those in need gives him a unique perspective on life. It is his goal to always look at the world through the eyes of a child.
A self-described “beach bum”, Dr. Buzz can often be found at the beach with his family. Dr. Buzz loves sports, electronic dance music (which includes Friday night dance parties with his kids), and is always in pursuit of the perfect breakfast burrito. Dr. Buzz resides here in San Diego with his wife and three young children. The “Buzz” family welcomed their third child to the world in late 2021 so Dr. Buzz has now mastered life with three kids (barely) and looks forward to the day when he and Mrs. Buzz are no longer changing diapers.
Dr. Scott Curtice
Dr. Curtice is a board-certified orthodontist who spent 30 years of his career serving on active duty in the U.S. Navy. He is actually not the first Naval Dental Officer in his family, his father was also a dentist who served over 20 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy. After graduating from Mission Bay High School, Dr. Curtice headed up to Washington to pursue his undergraduate degree at the University of Washington (UW). Then, he went to dental school at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Curtice then began his service in the U.S. Navy as a general dentist. His most important tour was in Oakland, CA where he met his wife who was also serving at the time on active duty in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. After multiple tours, including a tour in Hawaii, he was selected by the Navy as the first ever Naval Dental Officer to attend the Air Force Postgraduate Dental School’s Tri-Service Orthodontic Residency Program (TORP) at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. After that, he spent the rest of his active duty career as an orthodontist treating both children and active duty service members. Highlights of his active duty tours included overseas tours in Italy, Spain, and Japan. Dr. Curtice has extensive experience in all areas of orthodontics to include interceptive orthodontics, comprehensive orthodontics, and orthognathic/surgical orthodontics.
Having recently retired from active duty service in June 2022, Dr. Curtice now exclusively works at our office providing the outstanding level of care that he also gave towards our service members. Dr. Curtice joined our practice in 2018, working on his days off even though he was still serving our country. Dr. Curtice and Dr. Buzz have known each other for almost 15 years, having first met while stationed overseas in Yokosuka, Japan. They have developed an incredibly unique team approach to orthodontics and pediatric dentistry, a very successful practice model that is a compliment to their attention to detail and commitment to the highest standards of care.
Dr. Curtice and his wife reside here in San Diego with their two husky fur-babies. They have two adult children who are currently both pursuing their undergraduate and professional degrees. Dr. Curtice is your quintessential San Diegan, raised here growing up surfing, skateboarding, and growing his hair super long. When he’s not creating perfect smiles, he’s likely enjoying a San Diego IPA while cheering on his beloved Padres (we won’t talk about the Chargers). He also loves country music and you can find him at most country music festivals with his cowboy hat, cut-off jean shorts, and boots. In fact, if you hear country music playing in our office it’s likely because Dr. Curtice is seeing patients that day.
Dr. Anna Grinberg Ahani
Dr. Anna Grinberg Ahani, or Dr. Anna, as she is known to patients, believes in making long-lasting connections with her patients and focuses on a patient-centered approach to dentistry. “I find purpose in my professional and personal life through connections with people. As a result, I am a great listener and am able to sympathize with and understand my patients. The most important aspect of my job is being able to connect, communicate, and create a friendly and stress-free environment to provide state-of-the-art and up-to-date science for each of my patients,” revealed Dr. Anna. She views dentistry as both an art and a science and takes pride in finding innovative solutions to even the most complex and challenging dental issues, from acute and painful emergencies to chronic dental diseases that affect patients’ self-esteem and social interactions.
Giving back to the community is another way in which Dr. Anna uses her dentistry and people skills to make a difference. She volunteered at the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh and participated in the “Give Kids a Smile” program. Dr. Anna has also worked with a mobile dental service to provide free dental care to veterans and others in need.
Dr. Anna was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and came to the United States when she was twelve years old. She grew up in Maryland and Northern Virginia and moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for college. Upon earning her B.S. in biology from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as her dental degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, she moved to Youngstown, Ohio, where she completed her General Practice Residency at St. Elizabeth Hospital. Dr. Anna also completed a one-year implant fellowship at University of Pittsburgh.
Now that she is settled in sunny San Diego, Dr. Anna is able to take advantage of her love for outdoor activities year-round. She enjoys spending time with her husband and her two young children. “I was lucky to marry my best friend, with whom I share a son and a daughter. I especially enjoy baking with my little ones,” said Dr. Anna. She also enjoys traveling and is fluent in English and Russian, and is in the process of learning Farsi and other languages.
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.
Dr. Evelyne Vu-Tien
Board Certified Pediatric Dentist
Dr. Evelyne is a board-certified pediatric dentist and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry from a family of dentists. With three aunts as her mentor, and multiple cousins who became dentists, she had the unique opportunity to observe and work in the dental field at an early age. Born in Paris, France, she emigrated to the United States with her family, who lived in many states before arriving in California. After graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles, in Business-Economics, she was accepted at the University of California, San Francisco, where she held national positions on behalf of the American Student Dental Association and published articles for the organization. She established a business course for students there and engaged in local outreach programs for underserved children. She received numerous accolades, including the Ethics and Professionalism Award and the California Dental Association’s recognition for outstanding service to the community.
Dr. Evelyne finished her specialty training at Rady Children’s Hospital, where she became a guest lecturer for several groups. She continued her humanitarian dental work in Vietnam and Mexico and served on the Oral Health Initiative Board for the San Diego Health and Human Services. She is a volunteer professor at the specialty Pediatric Dental Program at Rady Children’s Hospital and is active in many San Diego County Dental Society committees.
Dr. Evelyne’s mission is to make each child smile and ensure a positive experience at the dental office. She believes every child should flourish and thrive in a loving, caring dental home and look forward to their dental visits.
Her passion is her family with her two young girls, volunteering, and serving as a military spouse to her husband, a Captain in the US Navy with over twenty years of service. When the family is not visiting him on port visits during deployments, she is raising her rescue animals and finishing her master’s in business administration at the University of San Diego. You can find her on off days hiking with her dogs, enjoying yoga, or attempting cooking.
Dr. Joel Wong
Dr. Joel Wong grew up in Sacramento in a large, vibrant family surrounded by nearly 30 cousins ranging in age from 20 years older to 20 years younger than him. In high school and college, he served as a children’s summer camp leader and tutor directing recreational and educational activities. Tending to kids is second nature to him to say the least.
He earned a BA from University of California Berkeley in film studies and decided post graduation to pivot to studying dentistry. After graduating dental school at University of Nevada Las Vegas in 2018, pediatric dentistry seemed like a natural path to apply his skill sets. He earned his pediatric specialty certification at NYU affiliate Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. He aims to provide quality, friendly care to improve the lives in his community.
Dr. Wong recently moved to San Diego with dreams of starting his own family with his wife, Debbie. They are expecting a daughter this spring! In his free time, he enjoys diving, fishing, cooking, and backpacking.