Orthodontist Diane Milberg Has Served Coronado Since 1992 - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: News

Orthodontist Diane Milberg Has Served Coronado Since 1992

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Posted: Friday, January 17, 2014 9:14 am

As the father of two children who both had extensive orthodontia work in their younger years, it was fun for me to have a low-key, fun conversation and a meal recently with Dr. Diane Milberg, D.D.S. and M.S.D. The designations behind Milberg’s name refer to Doctor of Dental Surgery and Master of Science in Dentistry. Parental conversations with orthodontists are often high-stress events, but not this one with Dr. Milberg.

Milberg was born in Los Angeles and graduated from Taft High School in the San Fernando Valley. She listed French, science and music as areas of interest for her during high school.

With a mother, father and brother all UCLA graduates, her academic future was set. “It was a family tradition to attend UCLA and it was the only college I applied to,” Milberg recounted. “I just knew I was going to UCLA when I was little. I majored in Pre-Dental. At the time, UCLA had a program where you went for three years as an undergraduate and you started Dental School your senior year. I was 20 at the time and only four of the 400 students were women.”

After graduating from UCLA, Milberg attended the University of Washington in Seattle to pursue her specialty in orthodontics. In the process became a trailblazer for women in the profession. “I was the second woman in the program in 30 years and I was the only woman practicing orthodontics in the state when I graduated. It was hard. That was the best program for orthodontics in the country at the time. I had three years of college, four years of dental school and two and one-half years in orthodontics at Washington.”

She discussed how she selected her specialty. “I realized I wanted to specialize as a dentist. Being a general dentist is an amazingly difficult job. There are so many procedures you have to be excellent in. At the time I loved doing root canals and loved the orthodontics. I wanted to be a part of peoples’ lives and build long-term relationships with families as they grew up. For me it is all about long-term relationships and watching the changes you can make. Very often in my practice, to keep patients motivated, I pull up their original photographs from the computer and have them look at the changes. I always give my patients the credit. We can give them the tools, but they have to take care of them.”

Milberg started her practice with no patients and a bank loan. “I practiced in Seattle for 14 years and started from scratch. My main joy is my relationship to the staff and patients and getting to know people and their lives. I want to find out what their goals are and help them achieve their goals.”

Her manner of educating younger patients almost makes having braces sound like fun. “It’s not just about teeth, but how the teeth work. Every tooth has a job and every tooth has a partner. When I talk to the little ones, I give them a mirror and count their teeth. I dialogue a lot with kids and I want to guide my patients to success. I look, listen, learn and lead. I look at the total person, not just the teeth. And I actively listen to people. I love to give classes and I love to teach. If there was a (dental) school here, I would teach.”

Milberg’s husband Randy Rein is an attorney and civil engineer who works with the Judicial Department of the Federal government. They have two children, a son David who is 29 and a daughter Laura 26. Milberg is justifiably proud of her kids. “David works with a biotech company in the La Jolla/UTC area. Laura graduated from Tufts Dental School last year and is in orthodontic residency at USC. In two years she will be here with me. She has wanted to be an orthodontist since she was a kid. Laura will graduate two years from this April.”

After being in her practice for 14 years in Seattle, Milberg moved to San Diego in 1990. The obvious question seemed to be, ‘Why did you move?’ Milberg said, “I missed the sun. Seattle is a beautiful place, but I didn’t want my life controlled by the weather. There you have to wait for a sun break to take a walk. People are happier down here. My mother Silvia Milberg is 98 and lives in Los Angeles. She wanted me to be a dentist. When I was six years old, I was telling people I wanted to be a dentist. People laughed because there were no women dentists.”

Once in San Diego in 1990, Milberg’s goals shifted somewhat. “When we moved here in 1990, the goal was to work part time so I could spend more time with my kids. I started a practice in San Diego. I met Dr. Bernie Leuck, who had 20 patients here in Coronado and he wanted to retire. That’s how I ended up in Coronado. I practiced out of Dr. Diane Edge’s office for 11 years.” Milberg has an office in Coronado at 1001 B Avenue. She also has an office in Hillcrest at 306 Walnut Avenue, located near Balboa Park.

Don’t get the impression that because Milberg is an expert at communicating with kids, that she is short on scholarship related to her profession. Milberg is board certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. She is also a member of the Edward H. Angle Society, a world-wide group of orthodontic educators. Milberg said of the organization, “It’s the best group. It’s more difficult than getting board certified. It’s a peer review organization and you have to be sponsored to join the society. Every year you have to bring a case to the meeting. A lot of people don’t join because they don’t want to be scrutinized. I am proud to be a member. We meet twice a year and every two years we have a four-day session, including international members from Korea, Japan and England. There are only four or five orthodontists in the San Diego area who are part of this group. You have to do this on your free time. Most of the people in the group are so passionate about their work and want to be the best they can be.”

Care for and involvement with her patients led Milberg to become an active supporter of Coronado SAFE, a concept she discussed. “Being involved with SAFE is a natural because they are a local presence and are open to adolescents going in and talking to counselors confidentially. They also help parents with their parenting. I took parenting classes when I was pregnant with my first child. I sponsor the Jog-a-Thon every year and I am supportive of the Coronado schools and the sports teams. I really like to help.”

In her spare time Milberg likes to exercise and walk her dogs, including a rescue Beagle buddy named Jack, which she has owned since he was nine months old. She also has a ‘first grandchild’ named Marley, a pug, which her son David brought home from college. “My big love is to cook and spend time with my family,” she said. “It’s priceless that the kids are in their 20’s and spend time at home. I study music theory and take a piano technique class Mondays at lunch time. My teacher lives two blocks from my office in San Diego. I love to garden and do so many things. Basically, I love life.”

Milberg also cited her love for working with the dependents of military families, saying, “It’s a pleasure to serve and to get to know them. The main thing in our office is to make it fun, nurture and educate. Most of the kids enjoy going to my office. I have always worked hard at making my family a top priority. Now my patients are my priority.”

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