Meet an Alum: Dr. Rhonda Kalasho

Posted on: Friday, 07/24/2020

Named “Hollywood’s Most Stylish Dentist” by Forbes Magazine, Dr. Rhonda Kalasho, Class of 2015, currently owns a practice in West Hollywood called Glo Modern Dentistry. Following her DDS degree, she completed postgraduate training in full mouth reconstruction and hospital dentistry at the VA San Diego and UCSD Health Care System. Dr. Kalasho celebrates her 5-year reunion this year and she took the time to share with us her thoughts on the dental field and her experiences practicing.

Question: Why did you choose dentistry & what do you most enjoy about being a dentist?

Answer: I was very young when I came to America from Baghdad, Iraq. We did not have much money when we arrived, and survival and eating were more important than oral hygiene. I found myself in the dental chair a lot when I was young, and I experienced what it was like to have extreme dental pain at a young age. I always wanted to be in medicine, helping people, but I think dentistry spoke to not only my yearning to bring health and wellness to the public, but specifically because it is a consolidation of science, art and medicine all in one field.

I love working on patients and I enjoy every aspect of dentistry, from root canals to veneers. I do it all and I love it all. Dentistry has come so far even in the last decade, so I always stay up to date with the newest technologies and research, as well as take part in continuing education above and beyond what is required. It is a blessing to be in this field and I am grateful to be a part of it every day.

Question: Where do you currently work and how are you building your patient pool?

Answer: I currently have my own 5-star practice in West Hollywood right on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and I am a partner with a colleague at another practice in which I take more of a consulting and managerial role. My practice is generally tailored towards the esthetically-inclined patient, and most of our patients are gained from referrals. We build a strong rapport with our local community and patients for bringing high quality, personalized, and state-of-the-art dentistry in which people really appreciate, thus they bring their families and friends to experience the same level of individualized care.

Question: What are your favorite kinds of cases to work on?

Answer: I love the really complicated stuff, and I am not just saying that. I really love the cases where others may look at it and their heart skips a beat—those cases that challenge me and my skills. When that difficult root canal is complete and the patient feels no more pain, when that impacted wisdom is out, when that mouth that had to undergo full mouth rehabilitation is enjoying a nice meal with the family again, that is when my heart feels the most gratification.

Question: What would you tell graduating dental students who are wanting to jumpstart their career?

Answer: You want to gain as much knowledge as possible not only in the clinical sector of dentistry, but also in the practice ownership stratum. Continuing education should be monthly, even if it means taking it online or in person—never stop learning. I also recommend that everyone do some sort of postgraduate study, and it is a requirement in order to work with me that you have done some sort of specialty training or residency program.

UCLA in particular is one of the best dental schools with world-renowned faculty, and I am a proud Bruin. I felt ready to take on the world once I graduated, but I wanted to not just be proficient, I wanted to be exceptional. Completing a GPR or AEGD are great for you to really gain the extra mile, gain the speed, the experience, all under the directive of experienced professionals. I owe much of my success, my speed, and efficacy to the training received at the VA in San Diego.

Question: What do you do when you aren’t practicing dentistry?

Answer: I love being active and just relaxing with the family outdoors. I take a lot of outdoor-type local trips with my husband, who is also a proud Bruin and a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. We both work very hard and have very little time for ourselves, but we find those precious moments and dedicate them to refueling our minds and bodies. We walk our dog and take long walks every single morning before work.