DOCS Education is proud to showcase members of our "2019 Best-in-the-Nation Sedation Dentists" honor society.
This edition's luminary, Dr. Michael A. Knight, was named the 11th Annual Safe Sedation Dentist of Year earlier this month, selected by a jury of his peers as an exemplary model of professionalism and dedication.
Michael A. Knight, DDS, shares an anecdote arising from his participation two years ago in the popular DOCS Education IV Recertification course taught by Dr. Anthony S. Feck and his colleagues.
At the beginning of the class, Dr. Feck polled the dentists in the room about how often they perform dental surgery using IV sedation. One doctor replied, “once a month.” A second dentist estimated he did four or five surgeries a month using IV sedation.
A third doctor proudly told Dr. Feck that he handles 15 or more IV sedation cases each month.
Dr. Feck then turned to Dr. Knight, a rural Georgia dentist whose hometown has fewer than 6,000 residents, and asked him about his IV sedation caseload.
“Well, I average between 15 and 20 IV sedation cases a week,” Dr. Knight informed him in his rich Southern drawl.
“How many?” Dr. Feck asked, the puzzled look on his face signaling that Dr. Feck thought he misheard Dr. Knight.
“Fifteen to twenty a week,” Dr. Knight repeated.
In fact, Dr. Knight has maintained that amazing caseload – roughly 1,000 IV sedation surgeries annually – for years, drawing patients from many miles away to his central Georgia offices.
And over the past 12 months, how many patients did Dr. Knight treat using IV sedation who also required him to administer a reversal agent?
“Zero,” Dr. Knight says. “Zero.”
It is a safety record like that led the jurors who administer the annual Sedation Safety Week to designate Dr. Knight the 11th Annual ‘Safe Sedation Dentist of the Year’ honoree.
“The world of general dentistry is rapidly changing, with IV sedation increasingly becoming an indispensable skill in our arsenal of tools to safely and effectively treat fearful and anxious patients,” notes Dr. Michael D. Silverman, president and co-founder of DOCS Education.
Dr. Knight owns two practices in rural Georgia, in LaGrange and Fitzgerald, and is preparing to open a third one in Eastman, where he lives and formerly served patients for 24 years. Each office is operated under Dr. Knight’s American Dental of Georgia umbrella, a dental support organization that he launched.
Dr. Knight, 57, shares duties with his son Mike, 27, a recent graduate of The Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University, as well as their dentist associates.
The father-and-son duo work with two highly skilled nurses and a surgical assistant. Each of them is dedicated first and foremost to the safety and comfort of their patients.
Dr. Knight is absolute that no other continuing education training has meant as much to his success – and the success and satisfaction of his patients – as his IV sedation education. It is because his offices provide caring, safe, and effective sedation dentistry that so many patients are drawn to his practices, he says.
“100%, no doubt about it,” Dr. Knight says, when asked if he believes other general dentists who already offer minimal and moderate oral sedation would be wise to get the IV sedation permit. “It will make them a better, safer, more confident dentist.”
Rigid Safety Protocols
Dr. Knight and his American Dental of Georgia colleagues are rigid in adhering to three specific protocols to ensure the safety of their patients.
- Before any treatment, they do an extensive medical check, often including consultations with the patient’s physician.
- When sedating a patient, they always begin with a test dose – a minimal amount to alert them to any possible adverse reaction before fully dosing the patient.
- They titrate the patient to effect, meaning that they don’t determine a set amount of sedation based on standard tables – such as the patient’s age and weight. Rather, they customize the dosage for each patient, depending upon how he or she responds to the sedation.
Of course, Dr. Knight also adheres to DOCS Education’s long-standing safety tenet of knowing who not to treat in the first place. Some patients, due to their health conditions or behavior issues, should not be cared for in an outpatient setting.
In fact, earlier this month Dr. Knight heard back from one such patient who he declined to treat, referring her instead to a cardiologist after he detected some irregularities in her heart rhythm. The patient, whose life Dr. Knight may well have saved, called him to express her appreciation after learning she’ll need one or more stents to treat her clogged arteries.
Teaching Dentistry and Bailing Hay
When he’s not tending to his own patients, Dr. Knight serves as an adjunct professor at Augusta University’s school of dentistry.
Back when he was graduating college, Dr. Knight recalls that he was accepted to both medical and dental school. The choice of which career to pursue was a difficult one.
In the end, the deciding factor was the lifestyle that each profession afforded. While Dr. Knight was not yet married, he wanted a family and observed that while the local dentists in his small town were visible in the community – seen at church, having meals out with their families, and participating in recreational activities – the local physicians were mostly absent, working all the time.
So he opted for dentistry and has never regretted the decision. Indeed, Dr. Knight and his wife, Dawn, enjoy a close relationship with their three children and large extended family. The Knights like to travel and go to the beach, and Dr. Knight and his two sons, Mike and Thomas, enjoy working their family-owned farm; even bailing their own hay.
“I do believe in family values, and the Lord’s been good to me,” Dr. Knight says. “I’m one of these people who believe, ‘Life’s short, make the most of it, you’re going to make mistakes. Well, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move forward.’”
[Editor’s Note: The faculty and staff at DOCS Education spotlight outstanding sedation dentists throughout the year for their service and excellence. Our ‘Best in the Nation Sedation Dentist’ honors are conferred on fewer than 1-in-every-200 of our course alumni.
Previous ‘Best-in-the-Nation Sedation Dentist’ honorees include:
- William Nudera, DDS, MS
- Keerti Sahasrabudhe, DDS, MDS
- David Potts, DDS
- David Kurtzman, DDS
- Dr. Carol Wolff
- Dr. Brian McKay
- Dr. Peter C.J. Chiang
If you know of a DOCS Education alumnus who merits inclusion in our awards program, please email us at Nominations@DOCSEducation.com. In 100 words or less, tell us why this dentist is among the elite of the elite. Please be sure to include your name and contact information, should we have any questions.
By the way, feel free to nominate yourself. Who knows better than you what an outstanding job you're doing?]