Safety First
Led by Dr. P. Michael Schelkun, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Centers has earned a reputation for its devotion to safety, comfort and positive outcomes for patients
by Bill Donahue

It was 1967 when Lewis J. Schwartz, D.M.D., first opened the doors to a modest surgical practice in Warminster that specialized in comprehensive oral and maxillofacial surgery, especially the removal of impacted wisdom teeth. A lifetime of progress has happened in the nearly 50 years since.

Although Dr. Schwartz has since retired, the practice—now known as Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Centers—has grown to include multiple surgeons serving several office locations in Bucks and Montgomery counties. It continues to specialize in wisdom-teeth removal and dental implants, but under the leadership of P. Michael Schelkun, M.D., D.M.D., it has also expanded its areas of expertise to include jaw/facial reconstructive surgery and other procedures of the head and neck, such as oral pathology.

“We’re trying our best to do everything the right way in all our facilities,” says Dr. Schelkun. “It’s the same way I approached my career early on. I realized that in order for oral and maxillofacial surgery to be practiced in this kind of environment, I needed both a dental degree and a medical degree. I then took that a step further by becoming board certified in oral and maxillofacial surgery as well as anesthesiology.

“With board certification,” he continues, “the rigorous examination that specialists take is extremely important, and it’s the benchmark of excellence for any practicing physician or surgeon. It lets everybody know you have the qualifications to practice a particular specialty at a high level.”

Dr. Schelkun assures that each of his practice’s freestanding surgery centers offers the highest standard of patient care and safety. His assurances have been examined and verified by the Joint Commission, a highly respected nonprofit based out of Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., that has been overseeing and maintaining strict safety standards for U.S. hospitals and surgical centers such as Dr. Schelkun’s since 1951.

Becoming Joint Commission accredited is a voluntary process that medical practices undertake to ensure their commitment to exceptional patient care and safety. The Joint Commission measures each medical practice against comprehensive standards based on consultations with health care experts, providers and researchers, as well as consumers.

In order to achieve accreditation, a practice must submit to a rigorous onsite review by a Joint Commission surveyor, who not only assesses the practice’s performance in multiple areas but also provides suggestions for further improving upon individual metrics. Accreditation is awarded only to surgical practices that consistently “demonstrate a commitment to the highest level of patient safety and patient care,” according to the Joint Commission’s website. For a practice such as Dr. Schelkun’s, standards-based performance areas under the Joint Commission’s scrutiny include environment of care; emergency management; human resources; infection prevention and control; information management; leadership; and medication management.

Last year Dr. Schelkun’s practice achieved its fifth consecutive accreditation through the Joint Commission. Since 1997, the practice has owned the distinction of being the only fully accredited oral and maxillofacial surgery centers in the Philadelphia area and one of only a handful in the entire state of Pennsylvania. At one time, according to Dr. Schelkun, the practice was the only oral and maxillofacial surgery practice on the East Coast to have earned Joint Commission accreditation.

“The Joint Commission is a second set of eyes to make sure everyone is who they say they are,” says Dr. Schelkun. “All of the surgical staff who work with the surgeons are true medical professionals—RNs or LPNs—so we can provide the highest standard of surgical, medical and anesthesia care. That’s critically important; if you want to provide that level of care and that level of expertise, you have to surround yourself with highly qualified people.”

Dr. Schelkun would know, having earned impressive qualifications of his own, beginning with a dental degree from Marquette University School of Dentistry and a medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine. He built on his experience by completing a four-year residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Missouri-Kansas City/Truman Medical Center and a year of fellowship at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago before joining the practice in 1991. He received his dual board certification in oral and maxillofacial surgery and anesthesiology, respectively, from the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and the National Dental Board of Anesthesiology.

Such credentials are indicative of the practice’s devotion to patient care, safety and comfort. Each member of the practice’s nursing/surgical staff is certified in basic cardiac life support, advanced cardiac life support and pediatric advanced life support. In addition, when Dr. Schelkun went searching for a business partner and fellow surgeon to further grow the practice, he found someone with a similarly uncompromising devotion to patient care: Mark P. Kienle, M.D., D.M.D., M.B.A.

“A lot of people want the instant gratification of having a problem solved, especially a problem that is causing them pain or discomfort,” says Dr. Kienle, who joined the practice in July 2013. “We’re able to do that with some of the surgical procedures we’re doing here, and patients are grateful for that. It’s a very rewarding part of the field.”

Although he currently lives in Rittenhouse Square, Dr. Kienle was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. He attended The Ohio State University and received early acceptance to dental school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). While studying at UNLV, Dr. Kienle was accepted into a joint D.M.D./M.B.A. program, graduating in 2007 with high honors in both programs.

Dr. Kienle initially thought he would be a general dentist, but his experiences in dental school convinced him to pursue a future in oral and maxillofacial surgery. He was accepted into the oral and maxillofacial surgery residency program at the University of Pennsylvania, a six-year program that included an M.D. degree at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, a two-year certificate of training in general surgery (including rotations on plastic surgery and pediatric plastic surgery) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and an advanced specialty certificate in oral and maxillofacial surgery from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine.

Drs. Schelkun and Kienle offer a variety of anesthesia options to assist patients through oral and maxillofacial procedures, from fully monitored sedation, deep sedation and general anesthesia. Although patients often experience significant anxiety leading up to a procedure of the head and neck, being able to provide the proper level of sedation in a caring environment makes the experience more comfortable and “absolutely pain free,” says Dr. Schelkun. Often, after a member of the surgical staff awakens a patient in the aftermath of a successful procedure, the patient will be amazed that the procedure even happened.

“We are able to provide a safe, effective and comfortable situation for our patients to have these procedures done,” Dr. Schelkun says. “Not only do you have to have the training and expertise in providing a particular modality, but you also have to have the proper facilities to accentuate what you are doing. You need to have a surgical center, with proper staffing to run it properly, that is set up to provide a high level of care for that specific patient.

“This is what we’ve been striving to do here for a long time,” he continues, “because this is what we believe every patient deserves.”
Three Area Offices:
158 York Road, Warminster
853 Second Street Pike, Suite A-106, Richboro
467 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 106, Fort Washington

Opening in September 2014
46 Blacksmith Road, Suite Dreams, Newtown
Visit for more details on each office and other information about the practice.

Photograph by Allure West Studios