2021 Winners, Dr. Kwan, DMD & Dr. Hsu, DDS

2021 Safe Sedation Dentists of the Year

While many couples found themselves working together for the first time during Covid-19 quarantines, it was business as usual for Dr. Arthur Kwan, DMD and his wife, Dr. Sally Hsu, DDS. The successful synchronicity and innovative patient care of Nu Smile Dental in Roseville, CA made these partners a natural choice as Dentists of the Year for the 13th Annual Safe Sedation Week.

Dynamic Duo Combines Expertise, Comfort, and Technology

Dr. Kwan, a graduate of Boston University School of Dental Medicine, and Dr. Hsu from the University of Southern California have added postgraduate training from the Las Vegas Institute for advanced Cosmetic Dentistry to establish a comprehensive practice and partnership of 20+ years. In addition to cosmetic and restorative services, they provide orthodontics and aligners, as well as sedation dentistry.

The couple agrees that their common dedication to their patients, but differing and unique skillsets, can only benefit their practice. Dr. Kwan enjoys challenging neuromuscular cases and Dr. Hsu likes working with young patients to set a foundation for good dental health.

“We complement each other very much and provide an all-around, full experience for our clients,” says Dr. Kwan.

“I can give him all the problem patients,” adds Dr. Hsu, laughing.

The Advantages of Sedation Dentistry

The practice added sedation dentistry to its offerings more than 15 years ago, allowing them to provide an extra level of comfort to those with severe anxieties or dental trauma history. Surprisingly, Dr. Hsu counts herself among the fearful.

“Being a dental phobic myself because of a bad dental experience when I was a teenager, I appreciate what oral conscious sedation can provide to many people that also share my phobia,” she explains.

“I feel really fortunate that sedation dentistry provides that one ingredient for patients to get the treatment they need,” adds Dr. Kwan. “By taking the fear out of the equation it allows the quality of care they deserve.”

Dr. Arthur Kwan, DMD & Dr. Sally Hsu, DDS
Dr. Arthur Kwan & Dr. Sally Hsu

In addition to mild and moderate oral sedation, Nu Smile provides many other comforting options to ensure a positive experience. These include:

• Warm blankets
• State-of-the-art personal video headsets
• Stereo headphones with music of your choice
• Aromatherapy
• Soothing herbal eye masks
• Calming herbal teas and more

“We get a fair amount of scaredy-cats and we welcome them,” says Dr. Kwan. In addition to the sedation protocols, these extras help bring cortisol levels down and calm the central nervous system. “On full cases, we provide booties so they can take their shoes off and fully relax.”

Although sedation patients make up approximately 20% of their practice, the couple is encouraged by the percentage of those who graduate from sedation. They estimate approximately a third of their clients who specifically seek out sedation at the beginning eventually feel safe in the chair and can get treatment without any form of additional sedation.

“Many of our patients are now able to have checkups and cleaning done without being sedated, whereas previous to their sedation appointments they would never think about getting even a cleaning done without being sedated,” says Dr. Hsu.

In-House Technology

Complementing the sedation and slippers, Nu Smile also provides in-house, state-of-the-art technology that adds an extra layer of ease as well as delivering beautiful results.

By implementing computer-aided design and computer-aided machining (CAD/CAM) since 2007, Dr. Kwan is able to design and build crowns and veneers in their own lab during the appointment.

“It works well with sedation patients and before they ‘wake up’ they have their new smiles,” he says. And because many anxious patients have an overactive gag reflex causing difficulty with impressions, the staff is able to use digital scanning to create virtual impressions for mouthguards while they wait.

A Formidable Team

The Nu Smile duo are valued members of their community as well as to their patients. Dr. Kwan appears regularly on the local news affiliates to discuss the latest CAD/CAM technology for dentistry. He also evaluates products for numerous dental companies and is a local mentor and instructor to other dentists in the region.

Dr. Hsu has received recognition from fellow healthcare professionals from across the country and is part of the National Registry for Executive and Professional Women in Healthcare. The National Consumer’s Research Council has touted Nu Smile as one of America’s Top Dentists since 2005.

As members of DOCS Education since 2008, the doctors regularly maintain their California Certifications for oral conscious sedation and are looking into adding IV sedation to their practice’s repertoire. Dr. Kwan feels sedation dentistry is under-represented in the wider community and hopes to see more dental professionals embracing the knowledge.

Family Matters

Like most practices, Nu Smile closed its office last March to anything but emergency treatment. Although the couple works together, their busy schedules meant they could go all day without seeing one another, but thoroughly enjoyed the time at home with their two children. Since reopening in June, Dr. Kwan is enthusiastic about the opportunity that downtime provided.

“We’ve grown by coming back with a razor-sharp focus on life and family, and it’s shown in our practice,” he says. They are currently booked out until May and he shares similar stories from other health practitioners. With the end of the pandemic hopefully in sight, people can take care of the things that matter.

“We’re very grateful,” Dr. Kwan adds, simply.