Meet The Staff

Meet the staff - Steve Horne DDS


Lena Leichtling

Lena Leichtling

Thirty eight years ago I borrowed my girlfriend’s VW bug and another friend’s “professional” outfit. I headed out to the few dental offices listed in the yellow pages along the coast from Carlsbad to Del Mar, handing out my resume. I had just returned from a year abroad and needed a job. As I was returning through Leucadia, I noticed a sign for an office too new to be listed in the phone book. The carved wooden sign was of a hand, with the index finger pointing toward the office and “DENTIST” spelled out along the top. I was intrigued to say the least! I turned around, went inside, and my life as a dental hygienist changed forever.

The hours were 2:00pm until 10:00pm . . . I couldn’t believe my fortune as I was a late night kind of girl. The dentist, Howard Benedict, was a surfer and chose those hours to suit his lifestyle and help patients who couldn’t come during conventional hours. We hit it off immediately and I began my career there May 1, 1979. Up to this point, I had practiced in various offices for a year or so until I saved enough money to quit and go traveling. Having graduated from Old Dominion University in Virginia in the early 1970s, I worked in five offices following this pattern—and then jetted off to Europe, Scandinavia, and the Middle East. My parents were worried about me, but I was having a ball—until I met Howard and the office I never wanted to leave!

Here I was allowed to have the opportunity to practice perfection dentistry. I could have a whole hour per patient, which in those days was unusual. This allowed me to be the best I could be. Our little office treated each patient like they were family. And to my eternal gratitude, my wanderlust was understood.

I have been blessed to have had the pleasure of working with the most dedicated dentists whose skills and love of dentistry have inspired my own practice. My fellow hygienists have always “raised the bar” and have graciously shared their wisdom and skills with me. The staff are all friends, which brings a lightness and grace to the office each day. After 21 years, Howard sold the practice to Bogdan Madurowicz. I was distraught. But of course, he chose wisely, and for the past 17 years I have been equally thankful for the opportunity to work with such an artist of dentistry. Now I am once again delighting in the fact that Bogdan has carefully passed the torch to Steve Horne, a man I like and respect. A wonderful continuation of the philosophy and quality started so long ago. I am proud to be part of this harmonious team. I have loved every day, taking care of my charming and wonderful patients year after year.

Lisa Sugg

Lisa Sugg

Lisa Sugg, RDH, is from a family of dental professionals. Her father is a retired oral surgeon, mother a retired dental hygienist, and uncle a retired orthodontist. Her great uncle, the late Dr. Gene Burks, opened his dental practice in Solana Beach in the 1950's. It is only natural that Lisa chose a career in the dental field!

After growing up in Solana Beach and graduating from Torrey Pines High School, Lisa attended San Diego State University, University of California San Diego, and University of California Los Angeles, where she received her clinical dental hygiene training. She also was trained and licensed in Medical Diagnostic Ultrasound and worked in both professions for a few years. After starting a family, she chose to return to part-time dental hygiene only.

Lisa has worked in many dental office settings including general dentistry, periodontics, and prosthodontics. Additionally, she spent 2 years in a private dental office in Melbourne, Australia where she developed and implemented a periodontal program as the first hygienist to see patients in that practice. She has been a part of this office in Leucadia since February 1990 when she joined the founder, Dr. Benedict and her fellow hygienist and colleague, Lena. 17 years ago she was retained as a clinician by Dr. Madurowicz, and is now fortunate to be a part of Dr. Horne's amazing dental team that continues to provide the highest quality of care.

Lisa has two sons who are now in college. The oldest is a senior in mechanical engineering at University of California Santa Barbara and the youngest is a freshman at California Polytechnic Institute, San Luis Obispo. She loves visiting them and exploring the central coast whenever she can get away for a few days.

Her favorite activities include stand-up paddleboarding, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba, hiking, spin class and working out at the gym. She also enjoys attending book club and bunco.

Michelle Mitchell

Michelle Mitchell

Originally from Michigan, she moved with her family to California when she was in grade school. Being an attentive and inquisitive youngster she actually enjoyed her visits to the dentist and hygienist as a child. Becoming a hygienist was a natural choice when she entered college and she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene from USC in 1994, graduating Magna Cum Laude. Throughout her dental career she has worked in both General/Cosmetic and Periodontal Specialty practices.

Having an interest in the Healing Arts, she continued her education and earned her Masters of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture. She has a private practice in Del Mar, CA.

In her free time, she enjoys walking her dog, yoga, traveling, reading, cooking, baking, and spending time with family and friends; and—sleep.

Carolina Worland

Carolina Worland

Happily married for 12 years with 2 beautiful girls, Maya (9) and Milan (7). Carolina loves being a mom, but being in dentistry has been her passion for over 20 years. Originally from Brazil, where she attended dental school, she moved to the United States 18 years ago. She worked as a registered dental assistant for 8 years and decided to become a dental hygienist.

As a dental hygiene student she received awards for academic achievement highest GPA (4.0) of her class and was awarded scholarships from California Dental Hygiene Educators Society and Southwestern College commitment to Excellence. She was also awarded membership in Sigma Phi Alpha Dental Hygiene Honor Society.

Her family has an active lifestyle. Carolina loves yoga, running and a good book when it's time to relax!

Front Office

Michelle Quint

Michelle Quint

Being a “North County” native, I have enjoyed seeing our community grow and all the new generations that have come along with that! I have had the pleasure of being in Cosmetic Dentistry for over 20 years and have gained experience and knowledge which has allowed me to understand the nuances of patient care and the importance of earning trust. I enjoy being a dental concierge, helping patients in all of their front office needs including scheduling, insurance billing, and coordinating treatment with our back office staff and specialty offices when needed. Please feel free to call anytime, as I am more than happy to assist you with any of your questions or needs.

When not at the office, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, watching live music, taking vacations, visiting one of our many local beaches and setting out on endless road trips. I am always up for an adventure and taking advantage of what life chooses to bring me!

Favorite Quote: “Be the change that you wish to see!” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Melanie Belletieri

Melanie belletieri

Originally from Northeastern PA, Melanie obtained her BS in Environmental Science before moving west to North Lake Tahoe where she resided for 13 years. Opportunity brought her to the North County San Diego area in 2015. Melanie has worked in dentistry for over 10 years. She started out dental assisting, but it wasn’t long before finding her niche at the front office where she provides exceptional patient care and customer service. Melanie’s warm, friendly smile and kind manner allows her to connect with patients in helping to make their dental experience a positive one. Melanie’s passions include music, health, and nutrition. When Melanie’s not working she enjoys running, yoga, reading a good book on the beach, and hiking with her boyfriend and two English Labs, named Cash and Dylan.

Registered Dental Assistants

Nancy Castaneda-Jones

Nancy Castaneda-Jones

Nancy graduated from Palomar College in San Marcos, CA, completing their dental assisting program in 1996 and passing the state board to acquire her RDA license in 1997. Nancy has been working in the dental field since 1995, and started out as a back office assistant and sterilization technician while attending school. She worked in a few dental practices before joining our Encinitas office in 2002.

Nancy continues to stay current with the latest technologies, materials and techniques by attending seminars and continuing education courses.

Nancy enjoys her time off by spending it with her husband Jere. She enjoys exercising, antiquing, camping in their 5th wheel trailer, and performing home improvements with her husband. Nancy has really enjoyed working with Dr. Horne and is excited to continue to work with our awesome patients and our professional, caring and loving staff.

Elizabeth (Beth) Lawrence

Elizabeth (Beth) Lawrence

Registered Dental Assistant with Expanded Functions

Beth has been in the dental field for over 20 years. She graduated from Concorde Career Institute with honors and continued her education at UCLA School of Dentistry where she earned an Expanded Functions license.

Beth is committed to helping her patients maintain their smile and dental health. In order to stay current with her profession, she regularly attends required continuing education classes staying up to date with the latest in dental technology. Patients will appreciate her bubbly positive personality and radiant smile.

When Beth is not spending time with her family or friends, you will find her out cycling, motorcycling, or hiking. She is thrilled to be a part of Dr. Horne’s dental team, which affords her the opportunity to live and work near the coast.