2018 Top Dentist: Leslie Fish

Editorial StaffAugust 1, 2018
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Photography by Steve Craft

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Dental School: University of California, Los Angeles

Years in Practice: 31

How has the treatment of wisdom teeth changed in your years of practice?
The use of 3D in-office imaging to assess complex cases has enabled me to use techniques to lessen the risk of postoperative complications. Also, the administration of Exparel as an alternative to opiate pain medication generally leads to a more comfortable postoperative course.

What is Exparel? Why do you favor it?
Narcotic addiction is a major health care problem throughout the world. It’s critical for health care professionals to decrease the amount of opiates prescribed to their patients. Exparel is a time-released local anesthetic agent, which is injected at the surgical site during the procedure. It provides pain relief over a 72-hour period, reducing or eliminating the need for the use of narcotic pain medication. I’ve been using Exparel for nearly two years. It’s been a game-changer.

You’re trained in performing surgery on facial trauma victims. Are these mainly athletes?
Yes. Most of the facial trauma victims I see are related to athletic injuries. Believe it or not, some of the most recent injuries are related to cheerleading. The importance of wearing athletic mouthguards cannot be stressed enough.

You went to UCLA. Big Bruins fan?
I attended UCLA for my undergraduate studies, dental school and oral and maxillofacial surgery residency. Do you think I would root for the University of Second Choice [University of Southern California]? I wear the Bruin blue and gold with pride [and] have a great deal of respect for the many honorable people associated with UCLA who have made major contributions to society – most notably Jackie Robinson, John Wooden and Arthur Ashe.

Who is your favorite pop-culture dentist? Maybe Orin Scrivello from Little Shop of Horrors?  
Pop-culture dentists are rarely portrayed in a flattering manner. Hollywood, I’m ready for my shot at the big screen.

What’s the funniest thing a patient has said to you on nitrous oxide?  
Most of the funniest things I have heard are [too] inappropriate for publication. The funniest thing I see is the way little children act under nitrous oxide when I tell them we’re going to have a laughing contest just prior to administering a local anesthetic injection. They usually laugh hysterically through the entire injection process. They obviously win the contest, and get a prize for doing so.

What do you do in your spare time?
Golf… I had my first hole-in-one [this summer]. [I like watching the] Cardinals, Suns, Diamondbacks, and whatever my wife tells me to do.

If I wasn’t a dentist, I’d be…”
I started my [professional] journey… in high school. One of my good friends was the catcher on our baseball team. He fractured his lower jaw when he was run over at home plate. That sparked my interest initially. There was no doubt in my mind that this was the perfect profession for me. If I was forced to choose another occupation, I guess I would be an athletic coach, sports administrator, paramedic, emergency room physician or an anesthesiologist.


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