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Meet Dr. Leila Khamsei

Leila Khamsei grew up with three brothers, which probably explains her competitive nature and love of sports. Born in Iran and growing up in Madrid, she was an active soccer player and remains an avid fan, rooting for Spain throughout the season and during the World Cup. And being tri-lingual means she can shout “GOALLLL!” in Spanish, Farsi and English.

Leila’s interest in dentistry started at an early age. At every dental appointment, she would ask her dentist for a mirror so she could watch what he was doing.  She couldn’t resist learning as much as she could about teeth.

Leila moved to Canada with her family just before finishing high school. Always an inquisitive and bright student, she spent part of her last year of high school in Canada’s “co-op” program, working in a dental clinic. The clinic specialized in oral surgery, including complicated surgeries, and as a surgical assistant she gained a solid foundation in medical procedures as well as dental.

That experience convinced her that dentistry was her calling, and she spent the next five years taking on more responsibilities at the clinic while finishing high school and going on to complete an undergraduate degree, with the goal of becoming a dentist. She applied and was accepted to the University of Southern California Dental School, where she earned a degree in dentistry.

After graduation, Dr. Khamsei spent the next few years in a private dental practice, running an office on her own in Victorville, California.  As a new dentist, it was an intimidating but growing experience, and she learned to wear many hats.  She realized very quickly the challenge of running the business and operational aspects of a dental practice while providing quality care to her patients.

So when Western Dental offered her a position as a Managing Doctor in Southern California in 2008, she accepted on the spot and has stayed ever since.  Besides having the support of a company that provides training, the latest equipment, and all the operational management of a dental office, Dr. Khamsei has developed a rich network of colleagues from different dental schools, different countries and different treatment philosophies. She frequently consults with them on difficult cases for second and third opinions.  “At Western Dental, you’re not alone as a dentist running an office,” she says. “I’m a perfectionist, so I really value others’ opinions on how to make treatment exactly right for a patient. I’m constantly learning here.”

A true multi-national, Dr. Khamsei is comfortable interacting with people from all cultures and all walks of life. She has learned to welcome change and to adapt to any situation.  Those skills come in handy on the soccer field as well as in a busy dental office. 

Click here to see Dr. Leila’s Spanish interview on Univision about expanded benefits for Medi-Cal Dental patients.


Expanded Medi-Cal Benefits Improve Lives of Many California Dental Patients
By John Luther, DDS, Chief Dental Officer Dental care benefits under Medi-Cal – and the over 13 million Californians who depend on them – took a big hit in 2009. State budget constraints caused by the onslaught of the Great Recession resulted in deep cuts to state services, including basic dental care under the Medi-Cal program. Eight years later, as the economy slowly recovered, California lawmakers passed a bill that fully reinstated those reduced benefits, providing improved dental care services not previously included as covered benefits under Medi-Cal. The changes took effect January 1, 2018. The Medi-Cal Dental enhancements are substantial. Patients are now covered for procedures like scaling & root planing (SRPs or “deep cleaning”), treatment vital to the management and prevention of gum disease in high risk patients. Root canals on back teeth, instead of extractions, are now a possibility for many. Partial dentures are an option for denture patients. And many other services – exams, x-rays and fillings – are now included. This is good news. For example: It means that, if clinically appropriate, a denture patient doesn’t need a full mouth extraction to receive dentures – previously the only option under Medi-Cal – because partial dentures, which require fewer, if any, extractions, are now covered. Partial dentures not only provide significantly better performance and comfort than full dentures, but they also save existing teeth, help maintain bone and a provide a better quality of life. A patient requiring a root canal on a back molar is now covered for that procedure, saving the tooth and preserving bone and the overall health of the patient. Under previous Medi-Cal coverage, the patient’s only option was extraction. Scaling & root planing, now covered, is critical in controlling gum disease. Untreated gum disease makes it harder to control diabetes and is linked to other diseases such as heart disease, respiratory diseases, and even cancer. It’s been gratifying to see significantly more patients now enjoying this enhanced quality of dental care coverage. At the 191 Western Dental offices in California, we’ve seen an increase of 20% in Medi-Cal Dental patient visits since the beginning of the year. Being the largest provider of Medi-Cal Dental services in the state, we’re geared up to meet this pent-up demand. Our doctors and staff have been preparing for months in anticipation of the influx, and we expect to see a continued flow of new and returning patients as more patients with Medi-Cal Dental learn of their enhanced benefits.
How to Get the Most from Your Dental Plan
  Going to the dentist is probably the last thing on your mind this holiday season. But while you’re making your to-do list, you might add “make dentist appointment” because December is an ideal time for a visit. Kids are out of school for their holiday break, appointment slots are available, and for many of us, dental plan benefits expire at the end of the year.  That makes getting in to see the dentist a higher priority this month.   If you’re in the middle of dental treatment, it can be important to make that next visit. For example, as patients receiving a dental implant know, there are several steps to receiving your implant. If your last appointment was for bone restoration a few months ago, you may be ready for placement of the implant. Or the doctor may have your permanent crown ready to replace that temporary crown you received a few weeks ago.   Scheduling a cleaning with the hygienist is wise every six months, and more often if you had periodontal care on your last visit. Coming in for an appointment now to continue treatment you’ve started means you can use up deductibles and maximize your plan’s benefits this year.   You may also want to start needed treatment with any remaining benefits you may have this year, and then pick up where you left off with fresh new benefits in January. Many people split care over two year’s benefits this way for best coverage.   Don’t neglect your oral health altogether this holiday season. Squeeze in an hour of your day to see your dentist just one more time before year end.  You’ll know you’re getting the most out of your dental plan, and you’ll feel good about starting off the New Year with a fresh new smile!