Safe Administration of IV Anesthesia

At Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, many of the surgical procedures prescribed require the use of IV anesthesia to sedate and relax, as well as relieve pain for our patients. The board-certified oral surgeons at Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial are uniquely qualified to administer anesthesia because of their extensive education, training and clinical experience.

Our surgeons have completed a four-year undergraduate degree, a four-year dental degree and an additional four or six-year oral and maxillofacial surgical residency. It is during the residency that oral surgeons are trained in a hospital setting, alongside anesthesiology residents, to evaluate patients pre-operatively, administer anesthesia, monitor vitals, recognize complications associated with anesthesia, and to respond accordingly. In addition, the NWOMS surgeons are BLS (Basic Life Support), PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) and ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) certified on an annual basis. Our surgeons, Diplomates of the American Board of Oral Surgeons, maintain their board certification through ongoing continuing education, passing the American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Recertification Examination every eight to ten years, and successfully completing an Office Anesthesia Evaluation every five years.

An Office Anesthesia Evaluation (OAE) is a program designed by the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons to assure the public that the surgeon, the staff and the facility are equipped for the successful use of anesthesia. The OAE includes evaluation and inspection of the facility, emergency equipment and emergency medicines. It requires successful demonstration of emergency management procedures by the surgeon and the staff, and subsequent critique and discussion of the demonstration. Lastly, OAE examiners may observe surgery and anesthesia during the rigorous certification process.

The surgical staff at Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery is trained to assist the surgeons in the safe and predictable administration of anesthesia. Each assistant is BLS (Basic Life Support) certified, engages in ongoing continuing education and has successfully completed DAANCE, the Dental Anesthesia Assistants National Certification Examination. Two surgical assistants are present in each surgery, one to assist the surgeon and one dedicated to the observation and monitoring of the patient’s vital signs.

Dr. Penelope Duke, MD, a board-certified anesthesiologist, serves as our Medical Director of Anesthesia Services for Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. She is an integral part of our ongoing commitment to delivering safe, state-of-the-art anesthesia. Dr. Duke also administers and monitors anesthesia to our patients who require additional care because of underlying health conditions, age or other risk factors. To our knowledge, we are the only private practice with this extra measure in place to ensure that we are constantly examining our anesthesia practices including emergency protocols, staff training, and facility evaluations.

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons are the surgical specialists within the dental profession. Each day their focus is on the safe administration of IV anesthesia and successful surgical procedures.  When deciding how to proceed with a surgical treatment plan, the surgeons at Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery encourage patients to be an advocate in their care. Patients are encouraged to ask questions about their surgeon’s credentials and the safety of the office. Ultimately, the goal at NWOMS is to provide compassionate care in an environment specifically designed for the safest surgical experience.

Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery |

UPDATED: Anesthesia & Patient Safety

oral surgery

According to Channel 2 News, on July 24, 2017, Dr. Bethaniel Jefferson was indicted and charged with injury to a child in connection with the 2016 incident described below.


Recently my partners and I were saddened by the latest report that another patient has suffered serious injury as a result of complications arising during a dental procedure.  More specifically, according to the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners, Dr. Bethaniel Jefferson, a general dentist, sedated a minor patient in her dental office.  The patient began to experience seizures. Dr. Jefferson improperly treated the patient with the oral administration of Halcion and failed to contact emergency personnel in a timely manner.  The patient has suffered brain damage as a result.  Dr. Jefferson’s license to practice dentistry has been temporarily suspended and permanent suspension is pending.

As board certified oral surgeons, we continue to be concerned about the safety of patients who choose to be sedated in dental offices.  At Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, anesthesia is a major part of our practice and it is provided in conjunction with most oral surgeries.  We have an outstanding record of safety.  As Diplomates of the American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, all of our surgeons have completed an accredited OMS residency program which includes formal training in anesthesiology.  We maintain our certification through ongoing continuing education.

Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery offices are regularly inspected and utilize the safest and most technologically advanced equipment.  Our surgical staff is required to pass the Dental Anesthesia Assistant National Certification Exam.  In addition, our staff attends continuing education courses which include CPR training and emergency crash cart training.  A pre-assessment of each patient is completed so that all involved understand the risks involved with anesthesia, and each patient is monitored closely before, during and after a procedure.  Preparing for, recognizing and managing complications and emergencies is an integral part of our training.  In addition to providing a successful surgical outcome, patient safety and comfort are our goals.

Before agreeing to oral surgery procedures and anesthesia in a dental office, ask the following questions:

  • Would I be safer and more comfortable in a hospital or surgical office?
  • Will my dentist perform the procedure or will an itinerant oral surgeon perform the procedure? Is the itinerant surgeon board certified?  If I experience complications following oral surgery, will the itinerant oral surgeon be available to care for me?
  • Does my doctor have the training and experience required to administer the prescribed level of sedation?
  • Will I be monitored before, during and after my procedure? Who will monitor me and what are his/her qualifications?  What equipment will be used?
  • Is my dental office prepared to manage an emergency? For every level of anesthesia, the dentist and staff must have the appropriate level of training, skills, drugs, and equipment to identify and manage a medical emergency.
  • Is my dental provider board-certified?

When oral surgery is prescribed, my partners and I strongly encourage you to consult with a board certified oral surgeon whose priority is your safety, comfort and a successful surgical outcome.  Do not compromise your health, or worse yet, your life to unqualified or untrained dental professionals.

The surgeons at Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery are Diplomates of the American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. They specialize in wisdom teeth extractions, dental implant preparation and placement, oral pathology, bone grafting, corrective jaw surgery and oral/facial trauma.  For more information about Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, please visit



Choosing a Dental Specialist

“Today’s dental patients are able to choose from a variety of innovative procedures, from dental implants that may improve their smile and their ability to eat and speak, to adult braces made from clear, almost invisible materials. When choosing a dental professional to provide the service, however, many patients may not understand the difference between a dental specialist and dentists who say they “specialize” in a particular procedure. It is an important distinction that could affect the outcome of your dental procedure.”


Read the full article Choosing a Dental Specialist from Texas Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons here.

What to Ask Before Oral Surgery

When administered and monitored by an anesthesia team led by a well-trained and highly skilled surgeon, all levels of sedation, up to and including general anesthesia, may be safely, comfortably and predictably provided to patients undergoing an office-based dental surgical procedure. As with any surgery, however, it is essential that patients, as key members of their healthcare team, take an active role in their treatment choices and ask the following questions before selecting a dental specialist and office for their procedure.

Make sure to ask the following questions  Before Oral Surgery.


*Information is courtesy of the Texas Society of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons

Are Dental Implants the Best Option?

We understand that dealing with the loss of one or more teeth can cause anxiety for our patients. Whether a tooth has been lost to injury, neglect, improper dental hygiene, dental caries or gum disease, it is important to replace the tooth (or teeth) in order to restore functionality and appearance. At Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, patients are typically referred to us by general dentists who have diagnosed a condition which requires a surgical treatment, usually an extraction of one or more diseased teeth. Once the tooth (or teeth) is surgically extracted, how will it be replaced? Without a doubt, the best replacement option is a dental implant.

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root made from titanium, a biocompatible implant material which encourages the fusion of implant and bone. The implant is surgically anchored into the jaw and provides a foundation for restoration. It is this foundation which will preserve jaw bone and adjacent teeth and provide a long term successful solution to tooth loss. The placement of the dental implant is a surgical procedure and should be completed by a surgical specialist such as the surgeons at Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery who are experienced and skilled in the successful placement of dental implants. Each surgeon works closely with a patient’s general dentist to coordinate a treatment plan. In most cases, the oral surgeon will surgically extract teeth, prepare the jaw for implants with bone grafting if necessary, and finally surgically place the implants and abutments. A patient’s general dentist will complete a treatment plan by restoring the site with either a crown, bridge, or dentures.

When facing the need to replace missing teeth, the surgeons at Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery want to reduce a patient’s anxiety and encourage them to opt for dental implants that will provide the foundation for the successful restoration of functionality and appearance as well as preservation of jaw bone. For more information about dental implants or the surgeons at Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, please visit