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Awards recommendation for 2019
Make your 2019  recommendations by October 8, 2018 by clicking on the link above.

2018 ALD Award Recipients

Many of the members of the Academy of Laser Dentistry (ALD) submerge themselves in the dynamics of laser dentistry on a day-by-day basis. They put in long days at the office serving their patients, and in their "free time" dedicate themselves in even deeper ways. They spend time in research, developing new treatment techniques, write journal articles, teach at seminars, mentor colleagues, and spend countless hours volunteering on Academy committees. They do this without the thought of being given an award.

The ALD has three awards to celebrate the hard work of its members:

Because of the level of sacrifice our members are committed to, they understand the criteria required when nominating another member for one of these prestigious awards. Their nominees are above the standard and show such dedication and passion. Not every award is given each year.

In 2018, ALD honors the following recipients: Dr. John Graeber and Mary Lynn Smith, RDH both received the Leon Goldman Award for Clinical Excellence. Dr. Scott Benjamin received the John G. Sulewski 2017 Distinguished Service Award.

The Leon Goldman Award for Clinical Excellence

John Graeber, DMD
Private Practice - East Hanover, New Jersey, USA

About Dr. John Graeber

Dr. Beatrijs Deruyter

Dr. John Graeber has maintained his private practice for 43 years in East Hanover, New Jersey. His goal has always been to provide his patients with a comprehensive approach to care based on solid preventive principles. After graduating from the New Jersey Dental School in 1972, he entered the Dental Corps of the United States Army. During his service, he was appointed Resource Training Officer with the responsibility of training Expanded Duty personnel for which he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. During the early years of Practice, he earned fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry and completed Training in Intravenous Sedation and a certificate in Orthodontics and Facial Orthopedics. By1990, he realized the limitations of practicing conventional dentistry and incorporated an Nd:YAG laser into his practice. He helped form the first study club in lasers along with future ALD Presidents, Dr. Art Levy, Dr. Eugene Seidner, and Dr. Lester Burman. It became apparent to Dr. Graeber and his fellow colleagues that only by collaborating and continued study could the value of lasers be fully utilized for the benefit of patients. By 1993, the New Jersey laser study club played a central part in the formation of the Academy of Laser Dentistry. The world of lasers began to grow much larger. 

The first few years of practicing with a laser were challenging as well as incredibly horizon-widening. Being able to provide patients with much-improved outcomes fans the flames of desiring to learn. In 1996, Dr. Graeber was asked to begin teaching others by becoming a standard course provider for programs sponsored by the American Dental Laser Company. He has continued providing standard and diode laser training around the world. Since the first laser, he has added all of the diode wavelengths, erbium, diagnostics, and photobiomodulation. He is widely recognized for his Microscopic procedural videos and diode laser workshops. He maintains a comprehensive diode laser training Web site:

Dr. Graeber completed Standard Proficiency at the first-ever meeting of the Academy and followed with Advanced Proficiency in Nd:YAG, and Educator Status. He has attained Fellowship and Mastership Status. A member of the Board of Directors since 2003, he has chaired the Annual Meeting, Education, Certification, and Strategic Planning Committees, among others. He has served through the Executive Committee Officer positions and was elected ALD President 2015-2016. 

Since 1996, he has presented on lasers and minimally invasive operative techniques at the Academy meetings and worldwide. Currently, he is writing and editing a book Micro-invasive Dentistry to be published in the spring of 2018. The book will be based on light-based diagnostics, laser and abrasive preparations, and microbiology and remineralization of early lesions. Many of his fellow Academy Members are joining him in this important endeavor.

Anyone who presents his work to colleagues knows the challenge of constantly improving techniques and outcomes: the essence of the word “Practice.” 

I would like to express my gratitude to the entire Academy membership, both present and past, for being the catalyst in inspiration to always seek improvement. In particular, to John Sulewski, for encouraging my early trials of presenting, to Terry Myers for his confidence in my clinical ability, to Glenn van As for showing me the incredible value of microscopic dentistry, to Don Coluzzi for being a positive mentor and colleague, and to Art Levy for his 27 years of positive influence.

I wish to express my thanks to the Awards Committee for honoring me with the Leon Goldman award for Clinical Excellence. To my friend and mentee, Mel Burchman, and the other members of the Awards Committee, laser pioneers: Gabi Kesler, Larry Kotlow, Gerry Ross, and John Sulewski, I am truly honored. To take my place alongside the past honorees is one of the most important milestones in my nearly 50-year dental career.

Mary Lynn Smith, RDH
Private Practice - McPherson, Kansas, USA

About Mary Lynn Smith

Mary Lynn Smith is a registered dental hygienist, working clinically for 23 years. Practicing with lasers daily since 2000, she has persisted in advancing her knowledge and expertise. Mary Lynn holds both standard and advanced proficiencies in multiple laser wavelengths. She is currently recognized by the Academy of Laser Dentistry as an educator of lasers in dentistry. Her involvement with ALD has included serving as an instructor for the annual conference’s standard proficiency course on several occasions and, at other conferences, serving as a certification examiner. She has also shared her knowledge by presenting lectures on various topics specifically related to lasers and dental hygiene. Through her years of membership, she has been involved with various committee projects to advance laser education and use. Outside of the Academy, Mary Lynn has contributed to the dental community through speaking at both national conferences and small groups on subjects including care of implants, periodontal therapies, laser-assisted hygiene techniques and principles. She presented dental hygiene laser education for DEKA Laser Technologies of El. En. 2006-2012. She has had the privilege to provide treatment for a study with TRAC research for Dr. Rella Christensen and has volunteered as a university guest lecturer on more than one occasion. She has authored published articles and a chapter on laser-assisted non-surgical periodontal therapy in the textbook Principles and Practices of Laser Dentistry by Dr. Robert Convissar, 1st edition. Mary Lynn’s passion for sharing her knowledge, developing other clinician’s skills, and inspiring them to work with excellence is evident in her teaching. She currently resides in McPherson, Kansas, where she is employed at McPherson Dental Care. She is the owner and CEO of Aspiring Dental Hygiene, LLC, and may be reached by e-mail at

What does this award mean to me?

The Leon Goldman award is such an incredible honor. To be named among the clinicians who are regarded so highly in laser dentistry is more than I would have ever imagined. When I think about the progression of my career and my never-ending quest to learn about dentistry including lasers, I have to give credit to many members of the Academy of Laser Dentistry who shared their expertise and encouraged me as an individual. Actually seeing the benefits of the laser applications I used in patient care made the value of my education skyrocket. It has magnified my passion as well. Having the opportunity to participate in relevant and yet progressive education is essential. This enriching experience has made my daily practice exceptional. Receiving this award inspires me to learn more and share more, to ask more questions and find answers, practice, practice, practice! 

The John G. Sulewski Distinguished Service Award

Scott Benjamin, DDS
Private Practice - Sidney, New York, USA

About Dr. Benjamin

Dr. Arun DarbarDr. Scott Benjamin is a graduate of SUNY Buffalo, School of Dental Medicine and has been in full-time private practice in rural upstate New York for over 35 years. Dr. Benjamin is an Adjunct Professor at Midwestern University, College of Dental Medicine, an Associate Professor of Clinical Dentistry at Eastman Institute for Oral Health at the University of Rochester Medical Center, an Associate Professor at Roseman University of Health Sciences, College of Dental Medicine, and a Clinical Lecturer at the Laser and Health Academy. He has been an internationally recognized leader in dental lasers and computerized dental technology since its infancy. Scott is actively leading the development of the laser curriculum for dental and hygiene schools with ADEA’s Laser in Dentistry-Special Interest Group (LiD-SIG) where he presently serves as an officer. 

He has presented internationally at major dental meetings, universities, workshops, study clubs, and user meetings around the world and has authored more than 300 articles, textbook chapters, and ADA and ANSI Technical Reports on topics ranging from Oral Cancer and enhanced diagnostic modalities to computerization, lasers, and other advanced dental technologies. Dr. Benjamin is presently the Technology Section Editor for The Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry, and was the Technology Editor of The Journal of Practical Hygiene, and the Section Editor of Advanced Technologies for The Journal of Practical Procedures & Aesthetic Dentistry, and is currently on the editorial board of Inside Dentistry and, Dentistry Today.

Dr. Benjamin is an active member of ADA Standards Committees on Dental Products (ADA-SCDP) and Dental Informatics (ADA-SCDI). He serves as Chairman on five separate of their Working Groups of these committees: WG-6.58 on Dental Lasers WG-10.4 on Data Redundancy, Archiving, and Storage, WG-12.1on Digital Imaging, Photography and Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine (DICOM), and WG-11.2 The Electronic Patient Dental Record. Dr. Benjamin also is the co-chairman of the Joint Working Group of both the ADA-SCDP and ADA-SCDI that acts as the liaison that connects the two standards committees together especially in the areas of CAD-CAM dentistry and terminology and was appointed to the Task Force on the National Healthcare Information Infrastructure (NHII). He is a past member of the National Dental Electronic Data Interchange Council (NDEDIC) Board of Trustees. He is also a Past-President of the Academy of Laser Dentistry (ALD), a member of ANSI Committee Z-136 on Laser Safety. Scott is President of the Tri-County Dental Society and is a past President of the Sixth District Dental Society of the New York State Dental Association. He has served as the Scientific Program Chairman for the Academy of Laser Dentistry in 2007 and 2010. In 2014 Dr. Benjamin was honored by the ADA as “The Outstanding Volunteer” for his dedication to dentistry, especially as it relates to his efforts in the development of the ADA/ANSI Standards.

Additionally, Dr. Benjamin is an internationally recognized authority and lecturer on Oral Cancer and its early detection and diagnosis. He was a participant at the World Health Organizations (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Oral Cancer and Precancer Closed Session Working Group on “Potentially Malignant Oral Mucosal Lesions and Conditions Terminology; Classification; Diagnosis and Prognosis”.

Dr. Benjamin’s interest in technology and advancing its proper utilization in dentistry began with his first computerized practice management system, in the early 1980’s, and was instrumental in the development and implementation of electronic communication and insurance submittals, in the mid 1980’s and is continuing to assist in the progression of digital communication, electronic patient records, and advanced technologies of many types into mainstream dentistry.

His interest continues today on a much broader scale with his involvement in the development of dental lasers, clinical screening, diagnostic, and treatment modalities and incorporating the appropriate utilization of advanced technologies into the everyday clinical dental practice. Dr. Benjamin is a consultant and advisor for many dental practices and several dental technology companies utilizing his expertise in clinical dentistry and oral health, oral cancer, lasers, digital radiography, imaging, practice management, dental computerization, diagnostics, ergonomics, and workflow.