DE’s Advisory Board member profile: Kris Mendoza, DDS

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Kris Mendoza, DDS

Practices at:

Rocky Mountain Dental Anesthesia


Golden, Colorado

Dental school:

UCLA, 2015;
UCLA Dental Anesthesiology, 2018

Areas of expertise:

General anesthesia, sedation,
airway management

Social media:

Facebook: Kris Mendoza;
Instagram: @kdoza04

Tell us about a product or technology that has recently changed your world.

While this isn’t a specific product (I don’t want to bore you with advances in different medications), the recent adoption of dental anesthesiology as an American Dental Association–recognized specialty is a huge step forward for dentistry. Even though most are quick to credit dentists as the founders of modern anesthesia, it has taken dentistry more than 150 years to recognize anesthesiology as an official specialty. Although I currently practice mobile anesthesia in a variety of dental settings, it is often seen as a nontraditional or even rogue pathway in dentistry. I hope that the official specialty recognition leads the dental profession to a greater interest in anesthesiology.

More importantly, I hope this begins a much bigger conversation about anesthesia’s place in dentistry. While I will be the first one to say that sedation or general anesthesia is not always appropriate in a dental office, there are certain situations in which it is perhaps advantageous to both patients and dental providers. As general anesthesia in the outpatient setting becomes more commonplace in dentistry, our full attention must be on maximizing safety in these environments. I already work with a variety of dental specialists and general dentists to care for patients who cannot be seen without sedation or general anesthesia. As dental professionals, we must work together to make safety and access to dental care a priority for our patients. I am excited to see how dental anesthesia’s specialty recognition impacts dentistry, and I look forward to working with many of you through this process.

What’s a piece of advice you wish you knew five years ago?

Enjoy the process! Fall in love with the daily grind. While goals and results are important, we spend 99% of our lives in pursuit of them. If we cannot find joy and happiness in the process, then we risk a miserable life in pursuit of an arbitrary goal. As dentists, we are typically high achievers, focused on a singular goal at the expense of our personal fulfillment. It is only once we find joy in the process that we can begin to truly experience and enjoy life—and dentistry! Whether it is graduating from dental school, owning a practice, or retiring, don’t get too caught up in the next goal, but focus on the journey. Enjoy the process!

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