I have been practicing Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, a recognized and accredited specialty, for 15 years. My pursuit began as an undergraduate student at the University of Utah. After completing basic human anatomy, I spent an additional semester learning advanced head and neck anatomy. I was then chosen to work as a full-time teaching assistant in the cadaver lab, responsible for supervising and teaching undergraduate lab sessions, preparing and dissecting cadaver specimens, administering and proctoring exams, etc. This competitive and unique opportunity forged a deeper appreciation for the human body’s complexity, sparking a vision wherein I could see myself using anatomy as a roadmap to fix, improve, correct, align, and more, through the art and practice of surgery. After finishing at the University of Utah, I attended Creighton University School of Dentistry in Omaha, Nebraska. After completing dental school, our young family moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan where I completed a four-year surgical residency. In addition to performing hundreds of surgical cases, I spent 6 months on rotation with the Department of Anesthesia, administering anesthesia in the main OR and children’s hospital. These six months, combined with two months in the Trauma and Burn ICU, and one month each in the Neurosurgical ICU and Surgical ICU, provided invaluable experience managing medically complex, sick patients. Despite grueling 120-hour work weeks, residency furthered my understanding and knowledge of the medical and dental sciences. After completing residency training, we moved to East Millcreek, Utah and began my private practice career. After gaining a few years of practical experience, I began preparing for the first step to become a Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, administered and sanctioned by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (ABOMS).
The written phase, or Qualifying Exam, is designed to test competency in the specialty. This computer-based 8-hour exam is comprised of 300 questions and comprehensively covers 10 subject areas. After passing the Qualifying Exam, I prepared for the Oral Certifying Exam designed to test a Board candidate’s clinical knowledge and decision making. This exam is made up of four, fifty-minute case-based sections, covering the full scope of hospital and office-based surgery, adult and pediatric anesthesia, adult and pediatric medicine, and other topics such as aesthetic surgery, sleep apnea, ethics, etc. Following successful completion of both sections, I became formally recognized as a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Although board certification is not required, I personally wanted to reach the pinnacle in the specialty by becoming board certified.I continue practicing the full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery, which includes wisdom teeth, dental implants, bone grafting and jaw reconstruction, management of oral disease and pathology (benign and malignant disease), facial trauma (fractures and soft tissue lacerations), correction of jaw and tooth misalignment for bite correction (surgical correction of over/under bites, asymmetry, etc), and jaw pain (“TMJ”). The responsibility to properly care for patients fuels my motivation to remain current and up-to-date with the latest innovations and methods. Accomplishing this requires ongoing education and training. Tooth replacement with dental implants and adjunct procedures such as bone grafting have become a major interest, especially high esthetic/cosmetic areas. I have sought mentorship from many world leaders and scientific authorities in the field of dental implant and reconstruction. Some of my experiences and travels include: advanced implant and reconstruction surgery training at the University of Bern in Switzerland, full mouth and esthetic implant reconstruction at Ilapeo Dental School in Curitiba, Brazil, soft tissue management for esthetic dental implant treatment with Professor Giovanni Zucchelli, Bologna, Italy, advanced hard and soft tissue grafting for esthetic and full arch (entire jaw) dental implant surgery at GIDE Institute, Santa Monica, California, advanced implant surgery and grafting with Dr. Michael Pikos in Florida, scientific symposia in Florida, Chicago, California, Las Vegas, and local meetings/lectures. In addition to personally seeking education and training, I have ongoing responsibilities teaching and educating locally. I have lectured for the Continuing Education program sponsored by the University of Utah, School of Dentistry. I have had many opportunities to speak and present scientific and clinical presentations at local and national events. I maintain an academic and staff position at the Salt Lake Veteran’s Hospital and Dental Clinic where I teach and mentor dental residents who spend one year, generally after graduating from dental school, increasing and honing their skills. I have continued an active research role at Jean Brown Clinical Research, working with pharmaceutical companies and studying more effective medicines for post-surgical pain. Since 2005, I have helped complete 25 different studies, several of which have been published in peer review journals. The majority of the studies aim to find alternatives to opioids. In addition to outpatient, office-based surgery, I maintains active operating room and admitting privileges at Intermountain Medical Center, Alta View Hospital, Riverton Hospital, and Lone Peak Hospital, where I also provide facial trauma call.