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Certification for Dental Lasers

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Certification Documents

Certification Program Background & Overall 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 2019 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 new 2019 program shifts the emphasis 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.

2019 Academy of Laser Dentistry Curriculum Guidelines and Standards for Dental Laser Education will be published on December 1, 2018 publicly.

In January 2018, 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 2019 guidelines 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
  4. Educator Status

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. This course is a pre-requisite for the standard level of recognition.  The ALD will offer an Introduction to Lasers Course online in 2019.  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 Certification

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

  • Module 1 - Online Course in Dental Laser Fundamentals (6 hours at your leisure - availble Jan. 2019; Sept-Dec 2018 lecture)
  • Module 2 - In-person lectures and participation hands-on full day program provided by an ALD Recognized Speaker
  • A Clinical Simulation Oral Exam on the specific laser you are using in your practice
  • A 75 question multiple choice psychometric Online Exam administered by the Academy of Laser Dentistry

Standard level is the basic level of education in dental laser usage, including specific laser proficiency and laboratory knowledge. Candidates for standard must demonstrate basic understanding of all wavelengths via an online 75-question multiple choice psychometric examination and an oral clinical simulation proficiency exam, with at least one wavelength. The standard level defines the standard of care for the dental professional. The standard level 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 certificate.  Standard courses are held throughout the year by ALD recognized speakers.  All exams will be administered in a proctored setting.

Pre-Requisites for Standard level Application

  1. For the rest of 2018, successful completion of a recognized introduction to lasers course is a mandatory prerequisite for ALD Standard  Certification. The required hours needed to satisfy this prerequisite are equal to or greater than 2.5 credit hours. Beginning in January 2019, the online course Module 1 is required.
  2. A basic understanding of Lasers in Dentistry.

Pre-Requisite for the Standard Online Exam

  1. Successful completion of an Academy of Laser Dentistry Recognized Standard Course and Clinical Simulation Oral Exam provided by an ALD recognized speaker.

IF YOU'VE COMPLETED A STANDARD  COURSE FROM A 2018 RECOGNIZED PROVIDER OR YOU ARE ATTENDING AN UPCOMING STANDARD COURSE AND WOULD LIKE TO PAY FOR THE ALD ONLINE EXAMINATION, please click this direct link: Online Standard Exam.  You will need to provide your course code and Clinical Simulation Exam wavelength details. Effective May 1, 2017, the fee for the Standard Proficiency Exam is $175.  

Successful Standard Level Completion

Upon successful completion of the online exam and clinical simulation oral exam you will receive a 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.

About the New 2019 Standard Level

This new 2019 program shifts the emphasis 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. The 2019 – 2022 curriculum includes the currently available dental lasers, including wavelengths, delivery systems, and emission modes. It addresses the current U.S. FDA cleared clinical applications, to include hard tissue, soft tissue, therapeutic, and diagnostic indications.  The laser safety section reflects the guidelines and terminology found in the supporting American National Standards Institute (ANSI) documents. The safety outline includes specific mention of a policies and procedures manual, safety audits, and education and training. This is covered in the Academy of Laser Dentistry Online Standard Module 1.  A psychometrically valid standardized electronic written examination follows the online didactic segments and is administered during the clinical in-person module.

The hands-on and clinical simulation section is device or wavelength(s) specific with concentration on details for the chosen device or wavelength(s). It precludes a requirement of having completed the didactic section for general laser knowledge. This second half of the program (minimum of 6 hours of in-person contact time) allows for a more in-depth training experience. A clinical skills checklist will assess mastery of essential skill sets for each device or wavelength.

Upon completion of this course, participants successfully completing both the written and clinical simulation examinations will be recognized as having completed the certification program for a standard dental laser course.

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.

Overall Expected Learner Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the Standard Certification, expected learner outcomes include demonstration of the basic level of education in dental laser usage, including specific laser proficiency and laboratory knowledge. Successful learners demonstrate an understanding of all wavelengths via a 75-question multiple choice written examination and clinical simulation oral examination with at least one wavelength. Participants in the Standard Online Examination are required to have successfully completed the 12-hour Standard course and Clinical Simulation Oral Examination with an ALD recognized speaker. This level defines the standard of care for the dental professional.

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 - Online 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. 




Position Statement (01-27-2003) Laser Use by Licensed Dental Professionals



ALD 2019

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