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Certification for Dental Lasers

Great Dentists are Always Learning & Include their Teams

Dental Laser Certification Starts Here

January 15, 2020

About the ALD certification

The Academy of Laser Dentistry certification is a professional certificate that ALD offers to individuals who demonstrate proficiency in basic and advanced aspects of laser use in dentistry. An ALD certification program allows individuals to demonstrate that ALD recognizes them as a skilled professional in laser dentistry.

Becoming an Academy of Laser Dentistry certified professional can help you differentiate yourself from your competitors, attract and win new patients, build loyalty and improve patient and team satisfaction.


Why is a laser certification important? It is a mechanism to demonstrate an understanding of laser light and tissue interaction for ultimate clinical efficacy, efficiency and patient safety. Some licensing bodies require a demonstration of continuing education is lasers.

What is a certificate program? A certificate program typically indicates attendance or completion of a course or series of courses with a specific focus. They are open to newcomers and experienced professionals alike. The result demonstrates knowledge of content at the end of a specific period of time.  Associations create certification programs by gathering experts to discuss and determine content and criteria that improves or changes behavior.

What sets ALD above any others? Let the buyer beware. ALD’s certificate program includes an education and experience component and requires passing exams.  Depending upon the level, at least 2 and up to 3 examinations are required.  It is a peer reviewed and approved educational standard. It does not require re-certification although ALD’s programs encourage practitioners to stay current through continuing education.

What does it mean to be an ALD Certified Professional? An ALD Certified dentist or hygienist demonstrates expertise in understanding laser use in every day patient care.  The more practical chair-side experience you have, and the more training you complete, the better your chances are to pass the test.

Why are the ALD Certification Exams essential? Certification exams measure your skill and proficiency with laser use in dentistry.  They are a psychometric instrument intended to demonstrate your ability to meet challenges with a mastery that comes with training and every day laser use. The ALD examinations are fair but challenging, designed to assess the ability of test takers to apply fundamental dental laser knowledge and more advanced knowledge, depending upon the program.  ALD exam content is updated every three years and is based on research and input from subject-matter experts and changes in dentistry conducted in 2019. 

What are the benefits of an ALD Certification?

  • ALD certified professionals demonstrate safety and proficiency.
  • They have taken a peer-reviewed dental laser foundations course.
  • They have passed a 75-question psychometric multiple-choice exam covering 5 distinct areas of laser use.
  • They have demonstrated safe hand skills in a clinical simulation hands-on examination by well-experienced examiners.
  • They understand the purpose and role of dental lasers in every day treatment.
  • They have participated in a recognized professional program.  The Academy of Laser Dentistry is the standard setting organization for dental laser education and certificate programs. 
  • The Standard Level Certification Course fee includes your first year of ALD Membership.

Ask a Certification Coach

Preparing for the oral case examinations for Advanced Proficiency?  Ask a Credentialing Coach for tips on how to prepare.   ALD Credentialing Coaches provide encouragement, support and advice based on his or her personal experience as you prepare for the advanced examinations.

Background & Educational Objectives 

The educational objective of the Academy's Laser Certification Program is to provide candidates with an overview of the scientific fundamentals of lasers, the instruments used, safety issues, and clinical guidelines in accordance with the new 2020 Academy of Laser Dentistry Curriculum Guidelines and Standards for Dental Laser Education. A main objective of the Academy of Laser Dentistry is to develop and uphold educational and clinical standards for the use of lasers in dentistry and to promote the safe and effective laser use on patients. This educational emphasis shifts from device characteristics to laser-tissue and laser-material interactions along with a deep dive understanding of absorption spectrum and chromophores.  Biologic effects of laser interaction are critical concepts to understand the safety and effectiveness of clinical procedures. Successful completion of the certification program formally demonstrates knowledge and clinical proficiency in laser dentistry. The program is a structured educational mechanism for dental practitioners wishing to demonstrate high standards of dental laser use. This certificate program does not authorize the holder to practice outside the scope of his or her license.

2020 Academy of Laser Dentistry Curriculum Guidelines and Standards for Dental Laser Education is planned to publish in 2021.

The Academy of Laser Dentistry Education Committee began a comprehensive review of the 1998 Curriculum Guidelines and Standards for Dental Laser Education, initially developed in July 1992 and revised in 1998.  Through a consensus process with members from dental academia, industry and private practice ALD will publish a new dental laser curriculum. The new Curriculum Guidelines and Standards for Dental Laser Education establish standards of education for the demonstration of safe and effective use of lasers by dental professionals.

Levels of Dental Laser Education

The Academy formally recognizes several levels of dental laser certification: 

  1. Introductory and Basic Competency Courses
  2. Standard Level Certification
  3. Advanced Certification

Documents & Position Statement

  1. Certification Documents
  2. Position Statement: Laser Use by Licensed Dental Professionals

Introductory Courses

This certification level encompasses an understanding of laser physics and the uses of lasers in dentistry. It is intended to be informational and primarily didactic. There is no examination. There is no formal recognition of the Introductory level. An introductory course is a pre-requisite for the standard level of recognition.  The ALD offers an Introduction to Lasers Course online in the ALD Online Course Catalog.  This level may be attained by particating in any ADA CERP or AGD PACE laser course with proper completion documentation.

Basic Competency Courses

This course is an introductory course designed to introduce the novice laser user or potential user to the basic scientific principles involved with laser dentistry, the safety concerns associated with laser utilization, the potential uses of a laser in the dental practice and to provide a hands on experience using one or more lasers.  It is intended to give the participant a basic understanding of the principles necessary to assure safe and efficacious use of lasers for the health and welfare of the patient as this should be the first step toward becoming clinically competent.  This is not intended to be a comprehensive course, nor is it a marker for recognizing a level of proficiency.  The course will not be an exhaustive education in the technological developments, nor in the most current research findings.

The scope of the course itself is limited and will be determined by the needs of the participants and the material presented by the instructor.  It could, for example, be designed for a specific device, a particular wavelength, multiple wavelengths or for hygiene or specialist use only.  The course must be a minimum of six hours in length, contain a hands on opportunity and a learning assessment instructment of 25 questions and a minimum of one hour period of supervised participation using animal specimen material or vegetable matter to simulate and develop the feel for clinical usage.

This course is a pre-requisite for the standard level of recognition.

For a list of upcoming courses, please visit our ALD CE Calendar.

Standard Level Course Certification

Be prepared to learn and understand through distance learning, lecture and discussion, and hands-on participation.

ALD Dental Laser Standard Level Course - A Certificate Program

Educational Objectives

The 12 hours of CE laser utilization includes:

  • an understanding of the basic principles of laser physics and laser-tissue interaction.
  • how variations in the laser’s wavelength, power, and temporal modes can be used to alter desired clinical outcomes.
  • an understanding of laser operation and safety features in a hands-on learning assessment exercise.
  • Practical hands-on exercises in laser-assisted clinical procedures on porcine tissue under controlled supervision.
  • Fulfillment of the Dental Laser Licensure Requirements.

ALD’s Standard Level Dental Laser Certificate Program is a peer reviewed, hands-on training, comprehensive laser certificate course for the entire dental team.

Components of Standard Level Course Certification (previously known as Standard Proficiency) include:

  • Part 1 - Foundations in Laser Dentistry - Self-paced Digital Learning (6 CEU hours at your leisure)

Chapter 1 Foundations of Light
Chapter 2 Production of Light
Chapter 3 Laser Tissue and Laser Material Interactions
Chapter 4 Clinical Applications in Laser Dentistry
Chapter 5 Laser Safety in Dentistry

  • Part 2 - Hands-on (in person) Clinical Simulation Training Program - provided by an ALD Recognized Speaker that includes a Clinical Simulation Oral Exam on the specific laser you are using in your practice (6 CE hours from training program)
  • Part 3 - Standard Level Online Exam - 75 question multiple choice online exam administered by the Academy of Laser Dentistry (1 CE from ALD)

The Standard Level Course is the basic level of education in dental laser usage, including specific laser proficiency and laboratory knowledge. Candidates for the Standard Level Course must demonstrate a basic understanding of all wavelengths via an online 75-question multiple choice examination and an oral clinical simulation exam, with at least one wavelength. The Standard Level Course defines the standard of care for the dental professional. These courses are a minimum of 12 hours: 6 CEUs are self-paced online including the examination and a full day 6 CEUs in person hands-on learning. The Standard Level Dental Laser Certificate program is taught by speakers who are recognized by the Academy of Laser Dentistry.  The Standard Level Course also forms the base credential for progressing to the Advanced Proficiency Level. Successful candidates at the Standard Level can submit for the advanced examination immediately after obtaining their Standard Level Course Certification. Standard Level Courses are held throughout the year by ALD recognized speakers.  

Pre-Requisites for Application

  1. Successful completion of a recognized introduction to lasers course is a mandatory pre-requisite for ALD Standard Level Course Certification. The required hours needed to satisfy this prerequisite are equal to or greater than 2.5 credit hours. 
  2. A basic understanding of Lasers in Dentistry.

Successful Standard Level Course Completion

In order to successfully complete the ALD's Dental Laser Standard Level Course in its entirety, you must successfully complete all 3 Parts within 90 days of your Part 2 Hands-on course. Upon successful completion you will receive a continuing education record of completion letter from the Academy of Laser Dentistry (within 6-8 weeks) indicating your Continuing Education Credits for the exam. ALD members will also receive a Certificate of Successful Completion noting the specific course participation and clinical simulation wavelength. To find out more about membership in the Academy of Laser Dentistry, or to join online, click here.

Advanced Certification

There are 3 parts to attaining Advanced recognition from the Academy of Laser Dentistry.  The Advanced level is taken over a 2-3 year period to successful completion.  To apply for the Advanced Exams, you must register for the next annual conference and select Advanced Certificaiton on your conference registration application.  Please ensure you meet the application requirements before applying.

Click here to apply: Advanced Certification Exams.

Advanced Certification Part I - Written Exam
Advanced Certification Part II - Clinical Simulation Exam
Advanced Certification Part III - Case Study Presentation

This level represents advanced knowledge and clinical experience with the dental laser. Learners for advanced level recognition will demonstrate knowledge of all laser wavelengths via an online written examination, demonstrate advanced clinical proficiency using the dental laser of their choosing in the Clinical Simulation Exam, plus dental practitioners who use the laser for treatment must also prepare five (5) clinical case studies and be prepared to present a minimum of two of them at an ALD annual conference.  These should be the cases with the highest degree of difficulty following the Clinical Case Study Guidelines that are provided to candidates upon application.  Successful participation in all 3 parts of the Advanced program is required to meet this level of education. Separate application fees and requirements apply for each part. The Advanced program exceeds the standard of care for the dental professional. A Laser Safety Officer does not participate in the Clinical Case Presentation section.

Application Requirements for Advanced Certification

  • Applicant must be a licensed dentist, hygienist, dental assistant, office manager or industry representative, etc. wishing to attain Advanced recognition.
  • Applicant must have achieved Standard level recognition approved by the Academy of Laser Dentistry.
  • Applicant must be a member of the Academy of Laser Dentistry and must maintain ALD membership during the AP process and of course we hope well beyond.
  • Candidates must attend a minimum of 2 ALD Annual Conferences during the Advanced process before the award can be earned.
  • Successful participation in all 3 parts of Advanced is required to meet this level of education. Passing mark of 75% is required on Part 1 written exam, and 85% is required on Parts II and III. Separate applications for each part are required.

 Advanced Criteria 

  1. The Advanced Written Examination is administered in a proctored setting, at an ALD Conference or Meeting.  To register for the Advanced Written Exam, you must be registered for an ALD Conference or Meeting. The Advanced candidate is expected to have a level of knowledge above and beyond that which is required for the Standard level examination.  Applicants may apply for the Advanced Written Exam AND the Clinical Simulation Examination at the same time.  Please ensure that you meet the application requirements before submitting your application.   

  2. As a courtesy to the individual study required for success, ALD provides a mentorship program for candidates.  Applicants are encouraged to meet regularly with their assigned AP mentor during their preparations. 

  3. The Clinical Simulation Examination passing mark is 85%. The Clinical Simulation exam is administered in person during an ALD Conference or Meeting. Please reference the Clinical Simulation Guideline documents, Exam Grade Sheets and Advanced Policies and Procedures Manual upon application.  Candidates should be able to address all the points on the Clinical Simulation Exam grade sheet within a 30-minute time frame.  This part is timed to 30 minutes. Candidates are notified of their time slot approximately 1 week prior to the exam date.  

Clinical Case Presentation of Advanced Proficiency Criteria

  1. Clinical Case Examination passing mark is 85%.  The Clinical Case Presentation Exam is administered in person during an ALD Conference or Meeting. Clinical Case Submission Guidelines, Checklists and Exam Grade sheets are provided upon application.
  2. Passing the Written Examination requires 75%.  Success in both the Written Exam AND the Clinical Simulation Exam is a pre-requisite for presenting the Part 3 Clinical Case Examination.
  3. Applicants may begin documenting clinical cases and obtaining the required photographs as soon as you apply for the Advanced Program. Close contact with your assigned mentor is strongly suggested as you prepare your clinical cases.  Strict adherence to the level of difficulty of selected cases is typical. 
  4. You may present your Clinical Cases any time it is offered after 1-year of successfully completing both the Written Exam and the Clinical Simulation Exam.  This means there is a minimum preparation period of 2 years before you may present your Clinical Cases, if you begin your case selections when you apply for AP. Most candidates take 3 years to complete this level of proficiency status.
  5. Clinical Case Presentations must be completed within a 3-year time limit has elapsed after completing the Written Exam and the Clinical Simulation exam. 

Practitioners are advised to investigate and consider which medical devices and materials are cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for safety and efficacy and which are considered experimental, and which procedures are considered within the applicable scope of their license, competence, skills, and abilities, as established by their education, training, and experience. Clinicians are advised to review the specific indications for use of their devices and to review their operator manuals for guidance on operating parameters before attempting similar techniques on their patients.

Certification Documents

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