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Lighting the Way to Advanced Healing

The United Nations Annual International Day of Light is a day set aside to promote awareness of the healing capabilities of the low-powered laser treatment modality known as photobiomodulation (PBM).

LightingtheWaytoAdvancedHealing Today, March 16th, is the United Nations Annual International Day of Light, a day set aside to promote awareness of the healing capabilities of the low-powered laser treatment modality known as photobiomodulation (PBM).

It is up to all of us, for ourselves, our families, and our communities, to make the promise of light a reality. Here’s why.

PBM is the process where a specific small range of the light spectrum, at the right intensity, when directed to the body for the right period of time, can restore the function of stressed cells to normal healthy operation. It is non-invasive, non-toxic, and has no reported side effects.

Throughout the world, forward-thinking physicians and dentists are currently using PBM to successfully treat oral mucositis (side effect from chemotherapy), dry macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Lyme disease, and diabetic wounds. PBM also reduces pain and inflammation in various orthopedic conditions such as tendonitis, neck pain, low back pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Unfortunately, despite the worldwide adoption and success of PBM, the United States has not embraced this technology. The FDA has been moving at glacier speed towards granting regulatory clearances for PBM light equipment to officially treat a variety of diseases and conditions.

Until the FDA moves forward, U.S. insurance companies, except for a few BCBS affiliates, refuse to reimburse for PBM treatments. Insurance companies remain a solid wall of resistance. For example, Medicare and Medicaid refuse to reimburse for PBM treatments.

Yet, Australia, Canada, England, the European Union, and NATO all recognize PBM, promote its use, and accept insurance coverage for technology that our government officials has called “mumbo jumbo.” Currently, the FDA labels PBM devices in the same basic category of infrared or heat lamps. Really?

The real losers in the regulatory inertia are the patients – especially those who are in pain. Did you know that chronic pain costs Americans over $635 billion a year in additional healthcare costs and lost productivity?

Because of this, a growing number of progressive doctors and public health officials are exploring PBM therapy as an alternative pain treatment to opioids. This may help solve the addiction crisis facing America.

Among those leading the charge in PBM advocacy is the Academy of Laser Dentistry. We’ve been doing this for several years through the many ALD- courses and workshops on various applications of PBM therapy. For example, during Dentistry’s Laser Meeting April 2018, ALD led 11 PBM- courses and workshops. All PBM programs were well-attended and surveys were encouraging and positive.

ALD plans to have a CE track dedicated to PBM-related courses and workshops during Dentistry’s Laser Meeting next year in Dallas. I believe PBM fits perfectly within our ALD 2019 theme, “The Laser-Systemic Connection: Lighting the Way Towards a Healthier Mouth and Body.” Click here for details.

Let me share a short patient satisfaction story. Next year’s keynote speaker, oral-systemic health advocate Charles Whitney, MD referred one of his patients to ALD’s incoming president Dr. Mel Burchman to use PBM to treat the painful chemotherapy side effect of oral mucositis. Dr. Whitney, Dr. Burchman and the patient were pleased at the improved healing and pain relief results.

Can we all come together in the conversation about improved healing and lessening pain and yes also decreasing the use of prescribed Opioids? Wouldn't this world be a better place? PBM addresses so many human conditions. This single event connecting one physician, one dentist, and one patient with care is an example of how PBM can be a catalyst for increased medical-dental collaboration. We plan to develop this story into a dental journal article.

Speaking of using PBM to reduce opioid addiction, ALD board member Dr. Gerald Ross recently had an article on this topic published on DentistryToday.com. In this piece, he explains how he has significantly reduced his opioid prescriptions since using PBM. To read Dr. Ross' article, click here.

May 16 is an annual reminder that bringing the healing potential of light therapy into healthcare is long overdue. The ALD is doing its part throughout the year to make that a reality and to elevate the standard of care. The conversation continues at Dentistry’s Laser Meeting April 4-6, 2019 in Dallas. PBMTherapyHeals ALD

Gail Siminovsky, CAE, Executive Director, Coral Springs, FL

Gail is a leadership professional as executive director of the Academy of Laser Dentistry (ALD). Gail serves the ALD Board as an advisor. She has 18 years in leadership and 28 years in marketing, public relations, educational program development and business. She is a graduate of SUNY Binghamton and maintains the credential Certified Association Executive (CAE) from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE); she serves on ASAE’s Small Staff Advisory Committee and on the Board of Directors for the Florida Society of Association Executives (FSAE). Gail is a member of the ADA’s Committee on Dental Meetings.

Disclosure: Ms. Siminovsky is a salaried employee of the Academy of Laser Dentistry. She has no other financial affiliations or personal conflicts of interest.

Contact: Gail may be reached by email siminovsky@laserdentistry.org


Gail Siminovsky CAE
[ Executive Director ]
2018-05-16
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ALD 2019