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News and Announcements from ALD HQ RETURN TO LIGHTWAVES HOME



Jeanette Miranda, BSDH, RDH

Jeanette Miranda, BSDH, RDH
ALD Communications Chair

Welcome back to the Academy of Laser Dentistry’s Lightwaves! We hope you are enjoying your summer. The sun has finally made an appearance in my neck of the woods and we have a hot issue to share with you this month. Our new ALD president, Dr. Mel Burchman shares his vision for ALD and recaps the 2019 Annual Conference and Dr. Ed Kusek highlights our 2020 Annual Conference. Our newest Board member, Dr. Laura Braswell is featured in the Member Spotlight article. Nick Clausen shares a tip on laser safety eyewear and Kristin Hunter has a bright Column of Illumination. Check out the Practice Area column, for Dr. John Graeber’s Clinical Tip. We are also introducing our new Poland Study Club and Dr. Marta Maciak. Please consider joining in the fun at ALD by submitting an Abstract for the 2020 conference.


Mel Burchman, DDS

Mel Burchman, DDS
ALD President, 2019-2020
Langhorne, PA

Hi Everyone!

It has been a little more than a month since our historic conference in Dallas. I am so proud of the program we put on and have received excellent comments from so many of the attendees. Once again thank you to the General and Scientific Chair, Dr. Gerry Ross, everyone on the Conference Committee and the ALD staff. It was lots of hard work and well worth it.

Dr. Chip Whitney opened the conference as the first Keynote speaker and did an amazing job. His presentation was spot on and was a perfect lead into the theme of our program, “The Laser Systemic Connection: Lighting the Way to Healthier Mouth and Body ”. This is becoming quite the hot button topic and many of the presenters continued on the theme throughout the conference.

How about the presentation of Dr. Andrew Meister? I didn’t know what to expect, but what we heard was incredible! That was one of the best presentations we have ever had at the ALD. His insights and slides of the cases that his father worked on were just mind-boggling and think about it, he was the pioneer of the entire science of photobiomodulation.

Dr. Ross and I have been doing PBM for over 20 years and we both thought that Dr. Lyons’ presentation on PBM science and theory was the clearest and best one we have ever had the pleasure to observe. She followed a fabulous presentation by Dr. Lew Lin about the research into using PBM for Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. This is truly important and groundbreaking work and we all know how many people need these answers and techniques./p>

One of the most important changes that you saw was the increase in the number of hands-on courses. We had 10 hands-on clinics and as I mentioned in my opening remarks, “you can’t get that from any online course.” These ranged from beginning to advanced topics and they were all well attended. This follows with my goal of having everyone who attends an ALD conference be able to take home new techniques and procedures that can be put into use on Monday at their offices.

This was my 21st conference and once again I was able to make new ALD friends, catch up with my old ones and share my laser knowledge and experiences. That is the true ALD tradition I want to continue honoring. Please feel free to contact me and speak about your conference and laser experiences. My cell number is (215) 801-4676 and my email is I hope all of you who attended had a wonderful time and learned a lot. I look forward to seeing you all in sunny San Diego, April 4-6, 2020!


Dr. Marta Maciak, DMD, PhD
Chair of ALD Polish Study Club
Poznan, Poland

Dr. Walid Altayeb International Chairman and Board Member, Gail Meisner Siminovsky, CAE Executive Director, Dr. Marta Maciak Chair Poland Study Club and Dr. Raminta Mastis 2018 PresidentThe ALD Affiliated Study Club Poland is spreading the knowledge about lasers among dentists, hygienists, and students by organizing educational programs, supporting research in the field of lasers and collaborating in this area with other institutions and organizations.

As dentists in Poland are looking for unbiased and independent information and workshops, the idea of introducing ALD in Poland offered by Prof. Olivi and Dr. Walid Altayeb, was the best option. The contract was signed during the ALD Annual Conference in Dallas, and our plan is to provide different levels of education and certification in each specific wavelength, as a means of basic, as well as, advanced training in the use of each laser device.

As a new ALD Affiliate in Poland, we are expanding the use of lasers in our country. We want to develop the knowledge and practical skills to aid dentists in the growth of laser use and advanced dental care for their patients.

The continuing education and the latest information and technology is essential, and the first ALD Polish Study Club activity is planned for 2019 in August with Dr. Arun Darbar and in October with Dr. Walid Altayeb to announce the presence of ALD in Poland. Visit our website at and follow our Facebook page for the latest information about upcoming events and workshops.

Please contact me at or call me at +48 602821589.

Pictured from left to right: Dr. Walid Altayeb International Chairman and Board Member, Gail Meisner Siminovsky, CAE Executive Director, Dr. Marta Maciak Chair Poland Study Club and Dr. Raminta Mastis 2018 President


Midwestern Dental Laser Association Activities Update

Larry Kotlow, DDS

Thomas Kovas, BS
D.M.D. Candidate 2021 and MDLA President
Midwestern University, AZ

The Midwestern Dental Laser Association of Midwestern University in Arizona has had an eventful academic year. After the elections of our 2018-2019 administration, we began engaging our members in informative Lunch & Learns as well as hands-on events. 

So far, we have hosted an orientation and a laser safety course as well as presentations on pediatric frenectomies, oral mucositis treatment via photobiomodulation (providing CE to faculty), and laser incorporation into private practice.  Additionally, we have hosted exciting hands-on events including a crown lengthening procedure on cow jaws and oral cancer screenings with our Velscope-VX oral assessment devices. We’ve also engaged our members in community service, participating at AZMOM (Arizona Mission of Mercy) performing oral cancer screenings.

We plan to host a presentation on the Sirona SIRO laser diode to help prepare lower classmen for the upcoming use in our third- and fourth-year clinic. As a fundraiser, we hosted a bake sale and raffle during the International Day of Light on May 16th. This day, inaugurated by the United Nations, represents a celebration of light’s role in science, art, and medicine.

None of this, of course, would be possible without the help and support of our faculty advisor, Dr. Nancy Fitzgerald. Dr. Fitzgerald, an Academy of Laser Dentistry member, has been faculty at Midwestern since 2013 and has collaborated with other faculty to spearhead the education and incorporation of lasers in the MWU clinic curriculum.


Gail A Czarnecki, DDS

Laura Braswell, DDS
Private Practice
Atlanta, GA

When did you begin using dental lasers in your practice? 
I started using lasers in 1993 after my friend bought an Nd:YAG from American Dental Technology. I soon was able to try out a CO2 prototype from ILT which at the time was amazing!

How has the use of dental lasers changed the way you practice dentistry?
Lasers had an immediate positive impact on my practice. I mostly used them for tissue removal, frenectomies and cauterization. The orthodontists were thrilled that we could do a simple surgical procedure with no blood or sutures.

How have your patients responded to the use of dental lasers for their procedures?
Patients definitely have a positive view about the use of lasers in Dentistry. One of my first big Laser Perio cases was on a retired dentist who swore he would "NEVER" have periodontal surgery again. Somehow the laser seemed less frightening so he proceeded with the therapy and has been stable for over 25 years!

How did you become involved with the Academy of Laser Dentistry?
I was a charter member of the ALD and excited to be on the cutting edge of clinical science. We all knew that laser energy was a new addition to our toolbox, but did not exactly understand the reasons. Now we are seeing the science and it is even more exciting!

Which benefits from your ALD membership do you most utilize?
My favorite part of membership in the ALD is going to the meetings. It is an opportunity to meet "like-minded" practitioners and researchers who are passionate about Dental Lasers. Our last meeting in Dallas was fantastic as we got to hear from physicians and learn about the amazing results of Low-Level Laser Therapy. I can't wait to learn more and incorporate LLLT into my practice!


ALD Webinar Series Continues - Free CE for ALD Members

The first webinar successfully rolled out earlier this year. We are busy planning another series to run through the beginning of 2020. The first webinar will be with Dr. Gerry Ross on Photobiomodulation. Registration for this webinar is open now!

Register Now

The newest secret weapon in the dentist’s arsenal is photobiomodulation (PBM) or low-level lasers. PBM uses the power of light to effectively heal tissue and reduce pain and it is nothing short of amazing!

PBM enables quicker recovery and opioid-free pain management for your patients, plus a new revenue stream for your practice.

Join internationally-renown PBM expert, Dr. Gerry Ross, as he explains the many applications of PBM such as post-surgical pain control, nerve regeneration, prevention and treatment of oral mucositis, treating TMJ and many more conditions that your patients may be coping with.

Dr. Ross will also provide valuable information regarding the underlying science behind PBM, proper PBM dosage, and which laser devices on the market are designed for PBM.

Your practice needs this amazing secret weapon and so do your patients.

Register Now


What's Your Angle?

Larry Kotlow, DDS

John Graeber, DMD
Laser Educator

East Hanover, NJ


Clinical tips to help you achieve maximum efficiency and satisfaction when using the popular Diode Laser.

Diode Lasers have often been characterized by both users and non-users alike by "BEING TOO SLOW”.

There are many factors which affect the speed of ablation of Diode Surgical Lasers. Among them are quality of initiation, precision of the cleave, power setting, chromophores, and the angle of the fiber tip to the surface of the tissue.

The angle of the fiber tip is highly focused when it barely contacts the surface of the tissue in surgical mode. The most efficient use of the laser requires the angle of the fiber to be slightly off 90o to the tissue surface. The divergence of the angle from 90o will lessen the concentration of photons reaching the surface, i.e., if the tip is parallel to the surface ( 0o ) there would be virtually no absorption (given the average divergence of the beam a mere 11o ).

Diode lasers work best when the length of the stroke on the tissue is 4mm or less in length. The simplest explanation is that longer strokes result in tissue cooling at the starting point which increases the time required to re-warm the tissue to ablative temperatures (> 100o C).  Shorter strokes allow a return to a warmer starting point.

Pre-initiated tips (by the manufacturer) yield a more consistent and longer lasting initiation than operator applied carbonization.

The Old ALD Adage always applies to power settings: Always use the least power to achieve the clinical treatment objective.

The more Chromophore present (pigment, blood) the greater the absorption with less power!

As one becomes more experienced with diode lasers, focus your observation from the actual incision to the lateral borders: The best balance of power and hand speed is progress with NO BLANCHING at the lateral borders.

If using standard Trunk fibers, cleaving becomes of paramount importance. The idea is to create a flat end surface. See illustration.



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Gail A Czarnecki, DDS

Nick Clausen
Las Vegas, NV

Of all the potential unintended hazards/events with lasers, perhaps the most common and most preventable are Ocular Hazards.  The objective of this article is for the attendee to clearly understand why and how laser ocular events can happen and how to eliminate the occurrence of these unintended events by having the appropriate mechanisms in place.

Different lasers produce different wavelengths.  And different wavelengths pose a different risk to the eye.  Below is a chart of the different wavelengths commonly used in dentistry and their effect on different areas of the eye.

It is also important to note that most active wavelengths are NOT visible and the degree of ocular damage is also a factor of the following:

  • Energy
  • Power density
  • Exposure time
  • Many other factors

In order to better protect yourself, it is useful to understand how most incidents occur.  Below is a short list of things to avoid to ensure ocular incidents do not occur:

  • No Laser Protective Eyewear (LPE) is worn
    • Applies to doctor, assistant, patient, team, parent, or service personnel
    • During setup, use, or cleaning/maintenance
  • No side shields are applied on LPE
  • Magnification not filtered
  • Improper LPE used
  • LPE not properly fit
  • Unsupervised and unmanaged laser firing
  • No LPE because people think they are “safe”
  • Unintended reflection
  • Outside door but within NOHD
  • Poor eye-hand-foot coordination & accidental firing

Again, this is not a comprehensive list, but with proper education, most if not all issues can be dramatically reduced if not eliminated.

It is important to fully understand Laser Protective Eyewear (LPE) in detail.  So we will look at this closer in 3 areas: 1) LPE Selection/Markings 2) LPE Usage 3) LPE Maintenance.

LPE Selection/Markings

Manufacturers are required to provide appropriate eye protection.  The LPE also are required to have the following marking on the LPE: 


The wavelength will be stamped on the glasses in nanometers (nm) that the specific LPE is rated to protect.  It is important to note, that some LPE have a range or multiple wavelengths and some are for a specific wavelength only.  So it is important to always check the wavelengths match your laser you are using!

Optical Density (OD)

A value that determines the attenuation property of a filter.  Attenuation means the reduction of the force.  For Example:  OD4 means reduces light by 104 times or 10,000 times only letting in 0.01% of the specified light.  Again, different laser require different OD levels, and that will be noted by the manufacturer.

There are other descriptors used internationally as well but are not required in the US.  But in case you have a pair of LPE manufactured internationally, below is an index of terms so you will understand the markings on your LPE:

  • DIR – Defines “Emission Mode” for which the eyewear is intended:
    • D = Continuous Wave (CW)
    • I = Pulsed Mode
    • R = Q-switched
  • DIN – Direct Impact Number
    • Ability of LPE to attenuate direct beam laser energy within MPE limits.  Example: CW for 10 s, or Pulsed Mode for 100 pulses 
    • L6A – Protective grade which defines suitability.
    • CE Logo – Conformité Européenne indicates licensed approval for distribution in the European Community.

LPE Usage

  • Patient on first & off last 
  • All on before and not off until laser off
  • LPE must cover entire periorbital region
  • Proper nm & OD worn per manufacturer
  • Side shields required
  • Controlled Area/Hazard Zones and Laser Sinage posted The appropriate sign for the class of laser you are using as defined by ANSI is to be posted at every entryway to the operatory in which the laser is being used, and that the sign should be taken down after the procedure is completed. 


Proper maintenance, inspection and reporting is required for your LPE. Periodic Inspection of LPE shall include*:

  1. Attenuation material for:
    1. Pitting
    2. Crazing
    3. Cracking
    4. Discoloration
  2. Frame for mechanical integrity.
  3. Straps & retaining devices are not excessively worn or damaged.
  4. Light leaks and coating damage.

*ANSI Z136.3-2011 American National Standard for Safe Use of Lasers in Health Care, page 28.  Orlando, Fla.:  Laser Institute of America, 2011.

If any issues are noticed, it should be documented and the LPE disposed of and replaced immediately.  In order to make your LPE last, properly clean with soap and water and avoid abrasive chemicals.  In addition, properly store and maintained per the manufacturer's recommendations.


Though rare, ocular hazards are perhaps the most preventable of all hazards if users understand the potential risk to the eyes from the laser, properly use LPE and maintain LPE to adequately protect the entire dental team and their patients.

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