Dentaltown March 2020 - 68

office
visit

Our sedation/surgical suite is designed for
seclusion, comfort and function. Patients who
require sedation are treated either in this suite
or, if need requires, in the hospital operating
room across the street. (Good Sam's new
name is Banner University Medical Center
Phoenix.) All IV and general anesthesia
sedation is performed by a board-certified
M.D. anesthesiologist.
Your hygienist, Tina, swears the
Grunow building is haunted.
Winnie Ruth Judd, the "Phoenix Trunk
Murderess," was a secretary in one of the
clinic's offices in the 1930s, which is when
she killed two women, dismembered them,
stuffed the bodies in steamer trunks and
boarded a train to California, where a
baggage agent made a gruesome discovery
the next day because the trunks were leaking. There's also a rumor that as part of the
clinic's medical research, the building had
a morgue in the basement where autopsies
were performed-and the basement happens
to be where we store our rarely used items
and old files. Obviously, it's all speculation

and hearsay, but it adds to the charm and
mystique of this building. I don't believe it is
haunted, although I've had staff who swear
they've experienced weird occurrences here.

Although you've scaled back on
hospital dentistry, you still
have patients who come in
for sedation. Who's a typical patient
who requires sedation dentistry, and
how do you schedule them? 
There's no "typical" because there's
such a wide range. Some patients are afraid
of needles, or dentistry in general. Others
have severe gag ref lexes. Some have an
intolerance or allergy to local anesthestics,
limiting their ability to numb adequately
for dental procedures. Patients who have
moderate, severe or profound mental retardation, or some forms of autism, dementia or
Alzheimer's disease, are unable to cooperate
with dental treatment. And patients with
neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy
and Parkinson's disease aren't able to sit still
during dental treatment. We determine the
level of sedation based on each person's dental

history, past and current medical history,
and current level of cooperation and dental
health. If we can perform treatment simply
by listening to the patient and giving TLC,
we won't need sedation. If that's ineffective,
we'll recommend the lightest level of sedation
necessary to accomplish our dental objective.
Options include nitrous oxide, oral sedation,
IV sedation administered by an M.D.
anesthesiologist, and general anesthesia in
a hospital setting.
Our cases can go for as short as an hour
or as long as 12 hours in the OR, depending
on the health of the patient and required
dental needs.
The patient population we treat with
sedation are predominantly teenage and
adult. Most pediatric dentists are trained
to treat the pediatric population, but as
these individuals transition into adulthood,
their dental needs can dramatically change.
Procedures performed include endodontics,
perio therapy, operative, restorative care,
removable and fixed prosthodontics, implant
restorations, minor oral surgery (including
extractions, bone grafts and minor soft-tissue
biopsies) and all forms of aesthetic dentistry.
Pretreatment and follow-up care include
oral hygiene education and recall maintenance, and our goal is to provide recall
and follow care without sedation whenever
possible.

For a while, you were on the Arizona
state dental board. How did that
come about, and what were those
duties like? 
I served as a governor-appointed member
to the Arizona Board of Dental Examiners
for a term of four years, from January 2006
to December 2010. My role was to protect
the public by ensuring that any individual
who practiced dentistry in the state of
Arizona did so within the standard of care
and safely. As part of the board's duties, we'd
review statutes, hear complaints brought

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