2024 ALSC Breathe and Thrive Symposium • February 2-4, 2024 • San Diego, CA

Presentation Abstracts and Speaker Biographies


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Ordered by Presentation Date and Time

Friday, February 2, 2024

Dale Tylor, MD, MPH

Keynote Friday, 8:05 am – 9:20 am

Pediatric Airway Management – A Pragmatic ENT Approach


Many infants and children suffer from airway obstruction at one or more anatomic sites. The impact of pediatric airway obstruction is significant on breathing, sleep, communication, behavior, academic performance, and overall health. This can have major economic and quality-of-life consequences for the family as well.

Numerous clinical fields overlap in managing pediatric airway obstruction, including primary care, otolaryngologists, dentists, speech and occupational therapists, and a host of other fields. There has been some difficulty in achieving true multidisciplinary care for pediatric airway obstruction because of often dogmatic beliefs or an unwillingness to understand conflicting views of other clinical professionals.

As a pediatric otolaryngologist with considerable interest in the medical condition of ankyloglossia as well as a passion for individualized and pragmatic management of pediatric airway disorders, it is hoped that an approach to diagnosis and management can be demonstrated that may allow for the best possible outcomes for pediatric patients suffering from upper airway obstruction.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Dale Amanda Tylor is Board-certified in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery in both the United States and Canada. She completed medical school at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and an otolaryngology residency at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. She then spent two years as a complex pediatric otolaryngology fellow at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego before pursuing a Master of Public Health at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom. Her MPH thesis was entitled “The Impact of Frenotomy on Feeding and Speech in Children.”

Dr. Tylor has worked in academia at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and then shifted to private practice otolaryngology, first in the San Francisco Bay Area and then in Santa Barbara, where she is now co-owner of Riviera ENT and serves as a referral source or second opinion site for complex pediatric ENT patients for much of the central part of the state and beyond. She has started tongue-tie programs at Vanderbilt University, SF Bay, and Santa Barbara.

Dr. Tylor is a vocal supporter of managing ankyloglossia in the otolaryngology community. She co-authored a rebuttal to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery’s 2020 Clinical Consensus Statement “Ankyloglossia in Children” with Dr. Bobby Ghaheri and Dr. Soroush Zaghi entitled “Lacking Consensus: The Management of Ankyloglossia in Children”. She also lectures annually at the AAO-HNS about ankyloglossia with Dr. Ghaheri.

Raymond J Tseng, DDS, PhD

Keynote Friday, 9:25 am – 10:40 am

Evidence-Based Clinical Findings from an Integrative Tongue Tie Center for Use in Patient Encounters


Evidence-based clinical findings from an integrative tongue tie center for use in patient encounters Raymond J. Tseng DDS, PhD, Adjunct Faculty, Dept. of Pediatric Dentistry, Adams School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC USA; North Carolina Tongue Tie Center, Cary, NC USA, Adjunct Research Fellow, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia.

Utilize data from 4 years of comprehensive patient records with follow-up data in an integrative tongue tie center to identify evidence-based findings that can be utilized in patient encounters to provide more accurate information during diagnosis and treatment planning to help parents make informed decisions. Specific analyses revolved around the following topics:

  • Top 10 breastfeeding symptoms that were reported in patients presenting for tongue-tie evaluation
  • Timing and failure rate of scissor frenectomies from medical providers
  • Differences in symptom resolution in babies with or without lactation support during and after frenectomy surgery
  • Differences in symptom resolution in babies with or without bodywork support during and after frenectomy surgery
  • Association of labial tie restrictiveness and dental caries
  • Incidence of future problems in babies who received frenectomy surgery early on
Biographical Highlights

Dr. Raymond Tseng is a pediatric dentist in North Carolina and the director of the NC Tongue Tie Center, a center for research and clinical practice. Dr. Tseng earned his DDS and PhD (Oral Biology/Immunology) at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry and completed his pediatric dentistry residency at UNC Chapel Hill. The National Institutes for Health supported him throughout his research and clinical training. Dr. Tseng has been practicing pediatric dentistry for 11 years and has been involved in tongue tie surgery and research through the NC Tongue Tie Center for six years. Dr. Tseng sits on the board of directors for the International Consortium for Ankylofrenula Professionals (ICAP) and created and co-chairs CIREAS, ICAP’s scientific affairs committee. He has created an evidence-based practice and treatment protocol, produced clinical evidence related to lip and tongue ties, and continues to collaborate with other ankyloglossia and tongue tie health professionals.

Peter Vitruk, PhD, MInstP, CPhys

Peter Vitruk, PhD, MInstP, CPhys

Keynote Friday, 10:45 am – 11:45 am

Non-Ablative and Ablative LightScalpel CO2 Laser Applications and Introduction to the Hands-On Laser Wet Labs


The differences between Non-Ablative and Ablative CO2 laser settings will be discussed with respect to LightScalpel CO2 laser applications ranging from frenectomies to tonsil reduction and soft palate tightening and more. For Non-Ablative applications, the histology of the remodeled tissue will be discussed along with clinically relevant laser settings, techniques, and principles. For Ablative applications, the Depth of Incision and the Depth of Coagulation/Hemostasis will be discussed. A brief introduction to hands-on simulation and practicing of Ablative and Non-Ablative procedures during the upcoming wet labs will also be presented.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Peter Vitruk was born and raised in Ukraine. He earned his PhD degree in Physics from the Moscow Physics and Technology Institute, Moscow in the late 1980s in the former USSR. In the 1990s he held a Research Scientist position with The Academy of Sciences in the former USSR and then a Royal Society Visiting Research Fellow position at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. He later worked as Senior Scientist with Synrad Inc. in Seattle, WA, and then as Chief Scientist with Luxar/ESC/Lumenis also in Seattle, WA. In 2002 Dr. Vitruk founded Luxarcare LLC – an exclusive certified Luxar laser service and accessories provider for 12,000+ surgical Luxar laser installations around the globe. In 2005 he founded Aesculight LLC and LightScalpel LLC – the only American-based designer and manufacturer of surgical CO2 lasers for small office out-patient market. Dr. Vitruk has authored 10 patents and over 20 articles on CO2 lasers, and is a Member of The Institute of Physics, UK. In 2017 he founded the American Laser Study Club, an educational platform that helps physicians, dentists, veterinarians, and practice staff members to excel at the efficient and safe application of laser energy in everyday practice. He is married to his wife of 34 years Natasha and they together have two children, Olga and Alexander.

Piya Gandhi, DDS

Piya Gandhi, DDS

Breakout Session I Friday, 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm

Functional Pediatric Dentistry: The Practice of Looking Beyond Teeth


Functional Pediatric Dentistry is understanding the connection between teeth, jaw development, and oral musculature and their impact on overall health. The development of these structures can give us clues to growth patterns and allows early intervention to favorably shift growth to develop healthy airways. We know that airway health is connected to much of our overall growth development and functional health of the rest of the body.

If we can create healthy pediatric airways by screening and treating them early, we have a much higher chance of creating healthy adults. This course is intended to provide tools to screen every patient that comes through your practice and provide some potential treatment options.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Piya Gandhi is a board certified pediatric dentist specializing in functional pediatric dentistry. Her practice screens all patients for airway, sleep, speech, feeding and growth and development disorders. She specializes in treating infants and children with airway disorders including the diagnosis and treatment of tongue and lip tie. Her passion for tethered oral tissue (TOTs) was born from her personal experience and struggles with her older daughter, Cyrah. Dr. Gandhi’s goal is to avoid the same experience for her patients and their families.

Dr. Gandhi has done extensive training beyond her residency in airway development and the diagnosis and treatment of tethered oral tissues. She screens all her patients for airway disorders and oral restrictions which could impact growth, development, and healthy sleep. She believes in a comprehensive team approach by using the Function First Model. She has worked to develop a network of practitioners in the greater Houston area as well as in her practices. Her in house team currently consists of a speech language pathologist, myofunctional therapist, pediatric chiropractor, and international board-certified lactation consultant. This allows the office to provide both convenient and comprehensive care.

Dr. Gandhi is passionate about sharing her knowledge with other practitioners. When she is not seeing patients clinically, she is usually meeting with local practitioners to further collaborations or lecturing nationally to increase the training and awareness about airway disorders and tongue ties.

Ellen Carlin, CCC-SLP, COM®, IBCLC, CIMI

Breakout Session II Friday, 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm

Airway and Laryngomalacia: Why Do These Patients Trickle Back on to Speech Pathologist’s Caseloads


Laryngomalacia – an anomaly of the larynx with laxity of pharyngeal tissues causing the epiglottis, arytenoids, and aryepiglottic folds to involute and partially obstruct breathing during inspiration. Other definitions of Laryngomalacia characterize this diagnosis as floppy tissue above the larynx which falls inward over vocal folds upon inhalation. Usually exhibits stridor and feeding issues due to unsynchronized breath control and muscle coordination.

The literature reports that Laryngomalacia resolves by age 2; however, does it truly? Evidence within research and patient reports demonstrates this may not be accurate. Brigitte Piaget’s study indicates the existence of potentially serious complications, which may include airway obstruction, sudden death, pulmonary hypertension, failure to thrive, and the possibility of intellectual impairment to develop.

A congenital laryngomalacia double-blind study was conducted: Congenital Laryngomalacia (CLM) is related to Exercise-Induced Laryngeal Obstruction in Adolescence. This study investigates if CLM is associated with altered laryngeal structure or function in later life—participants of 23 infants all having CLM without comorbidities and matched controls. Participants were followed and reassessed at the age of 13 years using a questionnaire, spirometry, laryngoscopy at rest, and during a continuous laryngoscopy exercise test (CLE-test). Conclusion: CLM appeared to have left footprints that increased the risk of later exercise-induced symptoms and laryngeal obstruction.

Let us take a closer look at the patients who continue to trickle back onto the speech pathologist’s caseload due to airway concerns impacting feeding progression and speech development. I have personally conducted a survey regarding Laryngomalacia resolving symptoms. My personal survey was conducted in 2019 involving 44 participants who responded from Facebook laryngomalacia support groups. The ages of children reported in this study ranged from 8 to 12, with one responder being 22 who stated that she continues to struggle with breath support and sleep. The study concluded that those participating in this study had not resolved their Laryngomalacia diagnosis by the age of 2 as proposed in the literature. Currently, long-term respiratory prospects for individuals diagnosed with laryngomalacia are poorly described in the literature. Adequate breath support and optimal airway health play a critical role in establishing good long-term health and wellness. Case studies will be shared with techniques used by this speech pathologist to promote quality frenotomy outcomes involving breath support, feeding progression, and speech development for this population.

Biographical Highlights

Ellen is a board-certified speech language pathologist with a private practice in The Woodlands, TX. Ellen completed her master’s degree in Speech Pathology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She specializes in feeding and myofunctional disorders, structural and sensory-motor based speech disorders, developmental speech/language disorders, social pragmatic disorders, and interventions for breastfeeding infants. For 29 years, she has worked together with lactation consultants to provide infant feeding programs for breastfeeding infants. Ellen obtained her International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) certification in 2015 and Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI) in 2019. She is a certified Orofacial Myologist (COM®). Ellen specializes in teaching gentle techniques for breastfeeding infants and toddlers transitioning to table foods and instructing creative myofunctional activities for school-aged children. She works with infants, preschool and school-aged children, teens, and adults. Ellen has presented nationally and internationally at both ASHA and TSHA on topic areas of her specialty and her Baby Friendly Techniques 2-Day Course.

Jennifer White, DDS

Breakout Session I Friday, 1:45 pm – 2:30 pm

Maximizing the Use of Laser in a General Dentist Office


Initially purchased for TOT releases for airway patients, Dr. White wanted to find a way to utilize the LightScalpel in other areas of her practice to increase the ROI on the equipment. It was quickly determined that no class existed, so she decided to pioneer the efforts and share her journey of learning to use the LightScalpel with other general dentists.

Biographical Highlights

All because she broke her front teeth… It’s true. In fourth grade, Dr. Jennifer White went over the handlebars of her bike and broke her two front teeth. After seeing the life-changing accident and recovery process, she knew she wanted to be a dentist when she grew up and never looked back. Dr. Jennifer White graduated from Indiana University in 2006 and has had an unwavering passion for the field ever since. Brite White Dental was established in December 2013 and has evolved from a general dentistry office to an office that focuses on sleep, airway, and CO2 laser procedures.

Neel Bulchandani, DC, SOFT, CFT

Breakout Session II Friday, 1:45 pm – 2:30 pm

Top 5 Postural Compensations in Patients with Tongue Tie and Sleep Disorders


With ankyloglossia, restricted tongue mobility comes with implications: mouth breathing, snoring, feeding issues, myofascial tension, and gastrointestinal problems. This study looks at the five most common postural compensations found along with ankyloglossia. With the findings observed in the diverse cohort of patients, these specific patterns are identified in detail. By identifying these osseous misalignments, visceral misalignments, and areas of myofascial tension resulting from restricted tongue mobility, various healthcare providers have an effective map for aiding in the easier identification of ankyloglossia. This study brings new light to the various forms of glosso-postural syndrome and the role of ankyloglossia in this condition. The patients in the study ranged from infants to adults, and extensive intra-oral and extra-oral examinations were performed on each patient, including palpatory and movement-based methods. Intra- and extra-oral bodywork techniques were performed by Dr. Neel Bulchandani to affect changes and ameliorations in these postural compensation patterns and are being advised and taught to other bodyworkers in the field to counter these effects of restricted tongue mobility.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Neel Bulchandani became immersed in the field of tethered oral tissues after the birth of his oldest daughter. With bodywork failing to resolve the breastfeeding issues, his daughter’s restrictions were released, and the relief was instantaneous. In the post-op process and then in caring for many infant patients, Dr. Neel began to recognize patterns in myofascial tension and osseous alignment, and he endeavored to help as many babies as possible.

Dr. Neel is a holistic chiropractor, bodyworker, and movement teacher. He utilizes systems thinking in a healing approach called Integrative Airway & Feeding Chiropractic, a field he is pioneering and educating others on. He graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 2008, and in 2016, he trained in the Gillespie Approach/Craniosacral Fascial Dental Therapy and took the course from Barry Gillespie. He launched an intuitive movement practice in 2017 called Movintuit. He began teaching other bodyworkers and birth workers his holistic approach to aiding in the freeing of tethered oral tissues in 2021. In 2022, he launched a technique called the Stomatognathic Oscillatory Fascial Touch Technique (S.O.F.T. Technique).

Dr. Neel thrives at being involved in collaborative care with other healthcare practitioners. He currently collaborates with many midwives, doulas, nurses, physicians, nutritionists, lactation consultants, dentists, ENT, chiropractors, naturopaths, and massage therapists. He’s often a go-to provider for pre- and post-op bodywork for patients undergoing frenectomies and frenuloplasties.

He specializes in the holistic treatment of tethered oral tissues, and he has helped many moms breastfeed with ease, less pain, and more success by utilizing his knowledge of freeing tension associated with oral ties. He loves to hold these precious babies while solving the ever-so-challenging issues that make nursing rigorous: hypersensitive gag reflex, latching difficulties, and abdominal gas-related pain. While doing this, work with infants is vital. So very timely, Dr. Neel also sees many children and adults who suffer from issues related to tethered oral tissues: feeding, airway, digestion, sleep, and TMJ issues. Dr. Neel’s pioneering work with freeing the tongue has been pivotal in many patients’ healing journeys. He practices in Redding, California, and often functions as a point person for cases related to tethered oral tissues. He offers Soft-Technique — Guided releases where he works alongside a frenectomy provider to do preliminary bodywork, peri-release bodywork, and post-op bodywork as needed.

Dr. Neel collaborates with Dr. Soroush Zaghi at his Bay Area office to co-consult patients and offer guidance and bodywork in the office. He also sees some of those patients for pre- and post-op bodywork for functional frenuloplasties.

Hal Stewart, DDS

Breakout Session I Friday, 2:30 pm – 3:15 pm

Optimal Airway, Optimal Tongue Space..Now Let’s Finish the Case!


A collaborative treatment protocol is most often necessary for our airway patients. Myofunctional therapy is crucial in developing proper tongue posture and promoting nasal breathing. Laser Frenuloplasty, craniosacral therapy, chiropractics, ENT intervention, and bodywork are also all integral parts of our therapy. Many surgical and non-surgical expansion therapies are utilized to create more tongue space by widening the dental arches. And non-ablative laser therapy can significantly optimize the soft palate.

However, once these therapies are completed, the case MUST be finished for long-term function, stability, and esthetics!

The speaker, through the use of actual case studies, will walk through his treatment protocol from initial diagnosis, collaborative care, expansion therapy, and other necessary adjunctive treatments all the way to the finalization of the case utilizing orthodontics and restorative dentistry.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Hal Stewart has a long-standing commitment to the highest standards of craniofacial and functional airway development. He believes that optimal health starts with an optimal airway. His passion is helping people gain optimal airways by utilizing his skills in Laser frenuloplasty and craniofacial development.

Dr. Stewart is the founder and CEO of The Stewart Center for Optimal Health. He is the CEO and co-founder of the Stewart Center for Minimally Invasive Biorejuvenation Dental Medicine. He is an affiliate of The Breathe Institute (TBI), having completed a surgical residency with Dr. Soroush Zaghi. Dr. Stewart is also on the teaching faculty at TBI. He has served on the teaching faculty of Orognathic Bioesthetics International, and he is a Key Opinion Leader for GC America, Align Technology, and Ultradent.

Dr. Stewart practices in Flower Mound, Texas, along with his wife, Dr. Adriana Corredor-Stewart, who is also a TBI Breathe Baby Affiliate. They have a thriving practice focusing on craniofacial and functional airway development.

Toni-Ann Antoniato, MS, CCC-SLP, CLC; and
Janine Stiene, MA, CCC-SLP, TSSLD

Breakout Session II Friday, 2:30 pm – 3:15 pm

Tongue Ties & Myo – Assessment to Referral and Beyond


Myofunctional therapy is an exercise technique program used to correct the function of the tongue and orofacial muscles for proper resting posture, speech, and chewing/swallowing. When an individual presents with an orofacial myofunctional disorder, oftentimes, there is a restriction in their lingual and/or labial frenum, which can contribute to why they present with such orofacial myofunctional deficits.

Tongue Ties & Myo – Assessment to Referral and Beyond will allow participants to understand what myofunctional therapy is, how it relates to a short lingual frenum, and what outside referrals can be required in order for a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach. The lecture also provides a broad overview of what myofunctional therapy for a patient with a short lingual frenum, pre and post-frenectomy, could look like. Gain insight on the exploding topic of myofunctional therapy from Janine Stiene, a speech-language pathologist specializing in myofunctional therapy for almost 20 years, and Toni-Ann Antoniato, a speech-language pathologist specializing in myofunctional therapy for the last 12 years. Together, Janine and Toni-Ann evaluate and treat orofacial myofunctional disorders across nine offices on Long Island as the largest myofunctional therapy provider in the State of NY.

Biographical Highlights - Toni-Ann Antoniato, MS, CCC-SLP, CLC

Toni-Ann Antoniato is a speech-language pathologist and certified lactation counselor specializing in myofunctional and orofacial disorders. She has worked alongside Janine Stiene for 11+ years, treating and evaluating myofunctional disorder. Toni-Ann received her undergraduate degree at St. Joseph’s College and her Master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University. Toni-Ann is the SLP Director at Long Island Center for Speech and Myofunctional Therapy, as well as became Janine Steine’s business partner in 2020, after 8 years of working alongside Janine. Toni-Ann conducts all myofunctional evaluations for the Practice, as well as supervises all SLPs of the Practice, supporting their training in the myofunctional therapy training S.P.O.T. Toni-Ann also spent some time as a professor for the speech Master’s program at Stony Brook University. Toni-Ann is the co-host of the series Talk the Talk.

Together, Janine and Toni-Ann strive to make a difference in the world of myofunctional therapy. Educating other types of professionals, attending conferences and lectures nationwide, conducting case study research, and always looking to continue to grow and learn in this rewarding field.

Biographical Highlights - Janine Stiene, MA, CCC-SLP, TSSLD

Janine Stiene (MA, CCC-SLP, TSHH) is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), Teacher of the Speech and Hearing Handicap, and trained Myofunctional Therapist with over 22 years of experience in the state of New York. Janine’s coursework beyond her MA is comparable to her doctorate without a dissertation. Janine received her undergraduate degree from Loyola University and graduated with her MA in Speech Pathology from Hofstra University. She began her career working as a Clinical Fellow at Maryhaven Center of Hope while also working part-time at Cold Spring Harbor Central School District. Soon after, Janine obtained a full-time position as an SLP at Hauppauge School District.

In 2003, Janine was presented with an amazing business opportunity and bought a small, privately owned, home-based speech practice. Seventeen years later, Janine has grown her company with eight locations throughout Nassau and Suffolk County. The Suffolk Center for Speech and Myofunctional Therapy, also known as Long Island Speech, is the largest privately owned insurance-based speech pathology practice on the East Coast and the largest insurance-based Myofunctional practice nationwide. Janine’s large and exceptionally trained staff treats 1,700+ sessions per week via teletherapy and in-person, and that number continues to grow.

Robert Levine, DDS

Robert Levine, DDS

Breakout Session I Friday, 3:20 pm – 4:05 pm

The Highly Versatile 10600 nm CO2 Laser. It’s More Than Just Lip and Tongue Ties.


Coming soon.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Robert Levine is the President of Global Laser Oral Health, LLC, and Levine Consulting. GLOH is a CERP Recognized provider of Online Laser Training. Dr. Levine designs these programs for General Dental and Hygiene professionals and Academics. He has been in the field of dentistry since 1973. He graduated from N.Y. University and completed a two-year residency from 1973 to 1975 at the VA Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y. He remained as a consultant from 1975 to 1985 and was in private practice in NYC from 1978 to 2005.

Dr. Levine has 12 years of experience in the laser arena, both in academic and private practice. Dr. Levine has been a full-time faculty member at the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH) for the past eight years. He served as clinical director of the AEGD Post Graduate program from 2009-2013 and Director of Laser Dentistry. Dr. Levine has published many papers on the science and use of CO2 laser technologies in dentistry. He also lectures on Lasers and the new emerging technologies in dentistry.

Dr. Levine is also a proud co-developer of the first accepted laser curriculum at an accredited United States dental school. He also works heavily in the Special Care Dentistry arena, where he is able to apply this technology to a special group of patients.

His interest in oral cancer has led him to be a keynote speaker at the Major League Baseball meeting in Dallas, Texas, in 2011. He spoke on the dangers of using smokeless tobacco products. Dr. Levine educates the Major and Minor League players on the dangers of ST Products as well as HPV-related Oral Cancer.

Through the GLOH training process, Dr. Levine saw a way of introducing a comprehensive pathway to laser technology to dental professionals. The GLOH website utilizes the Articulate Process to provide training. With these technologies, they would see the potential benefits for their patients and their practices. He realized that an online training program is the most viable way to share this information with a large audience of dentists at a very affordable price. Dr. Levine’s interests include baseball, golf, skiing, and tennis. He resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Dr. Levine owns and is President of Global Laser Oral Health, LLC (GLOH) and Levine Consulting LLC. Dr. Levine offered independent consulting services to various laser companies.

Chelsie Goulet, DC; and
Karrie Page, MSLP, R.SLP, COM®, IBCLC

Breakout Session II Friday, 3:20 pm – 4:05 pm

Lips to Hips: Real-Life Conversations for a Collaborative Team Approach


What happens when an SLP falls down the rabbit hole of tethered oral tissues? She brings her friends with her! Come and join us for this practical case study presentation to learn how fostering a collaborative multidisciplinary team approach with a speech-language pathologist, chiropractor, and dentist can expand your practice, enhance your services, and optimize your patient outcomes. Join us to learn how this small team in Central Alberta (Canada) is implementing this functional team approach to all ages. Today’s session will focus on our patients who didn’t “grow out of it” and, in fact, “grew into it.”

Step through an adult case study from pre- to post-release. Learn how a collaborative team can support patient readiness for release and how to provide care in a way that ensures a family-focused approach. Through our investigation of the following goals, we aim to support your clinical skills as well as your ability to empower patients with knowledge that allows them to better understand what is happening with their bodies and guide their own healthcare decisions.

GOAL 1: Learn the important impact team communication, consistent language, and collaborative recommendations can have on optimizing functional outcomes, including managing expectations of the release, worries/emotions, and functional outcomes.

GOAL 2: Explore the importance of providing individualized, dynamic assessment throughout the therapy process—including the principles of neuroplasticity and reflective learning—to achieve successful neuromuscular re-education and successful habitation of new habits.

GOAL 3: Review a full body assessment, including targeting specific tissues, and understand how a release can instantly impact range of motion and body tension.

Biographical Highlights - Chelsie Goulet, DC

Canadian Board Certified Chiropractor Dr. Chelsie Goulet graduated in 2015 from Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and has been practicing in Central Alberta since graduation. Dr. Chelsie always envisioned a clinic that was more than ‘just a chiropractic clinic.’ She envisioned practitioners being partners in health, offering an integrative approach that addresses the patient’s unique needs, which is how her private practice ‘Aligned Together’ was born. Dr. Chelsie treats nose to toes, giving a personalized approach to each patient. She utilizes a variety of modalities depending on what the patient needs, putting an emphasis on wellness. In 2022, Dr. Chelsie welcomed her son into the world, and you guessed it- he had tethered oral tissues! Dr. Chelsie is now extremely passionate about education around functional ties and proper ‘pre-hab’ as well as rehab now that she has been a patient of this journey.

Biographical Highlights - Karrie Page, MSLP, R.SLP, COM®, IBCLC

Registered Speech Language Pathologist Karrie is a fiercely passionate speech pathologist. Growing up, her dad always told her, “do what you love.” Karrie is lucky enough to be able to say she truly loves her job! Karrie graduated in 2002 with her Master of Speech Language Pathology from the University of Alberta. Karrie values ongoing education and has obtained post-graduate education to become a Certified Orofacial Myologist (COM) and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Karrie co-developed the Orofacial Rest Posture Program (ORPP Canada) and has taught courses to speech language pathologists and dental professionals since opening her private practice almost 20 years ago. Karrie’s private practice ‘Tip of the Tongue’ seeks to optimize the client’s oral function, breastfeeding experience, and speech therapy through collaborative care with community partners. Karrie loves blending a behavioral approach to treatment with her neuro-rehabilitation background. She supports and empowers her clients through a practical approach to therapy to ensure functional, attainable gains are achieved to the level of mastery to ensure long-term retention and client self-efficacy in their own care.

Najmeh Hannanvash, DDS, MSD

Breakout Session I Friday, 4:05 pm – 4:50 pm

Why Do Oral Restrictions Matter?


Frenectomy, early functional growth modification, and intervention into a typical pediatric dental office. It’s important to discuss why incorporating these new techniques/focuses matters for dentists and therapists alike. In diving into this frenectomy and airway world, my practice has changed and taken on multiple new forms. The focus of my patient care and attention has been modified, and my eyes opened. As pediatric dentists, we see kids coming and going from our practice all day. Many signs and symptoms associated with oral restrictions and sleep-disordered breathing are missed or incorrectly diagnosed.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Najmeh Hannanvash, DDS, MSD, is a board-certified pediatric dentist who owns and operates Little Star Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics and Little Star Breathe.

She attended the University of California, San Francisco, and earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree in 2010. She spent one year in Maui, Hawaii, completing an Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) residency prior to moving to Seattle, WA, for a pediatric dental residency at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital. There, she also received her Master of Science in Dentistry (MSD) in 2013.

After completing her final degree, she moved to sunny San Diego and has been providing excellent care in pediatric dentistry since 2013. After learning, researching, and further understanding the issues caused by tongue and lip ties, she decided to open her own specialized clinic to provide advanced laser treatment to this patient population. Dr. Najmeh states that her work in this specialty clinic and with these patients has “been profoundly rewarding and has changed the focus and direction of her career.”

Dr. Najmeh Hannanvash is locally known for her commitment and work on treating newborns, infants, toddlers, and children of all ages with lip and tongue ties with the use of advanced laser surgery. She also does extensive pediatric airway work and early intervention.

In her free time, Najmeh enjoys traveling, going to concerts, watching movies, exploring San Diego, and spending time with her chihuahuas, Simba and Nala.

Lisa Paladino MS, RN, CNM, IBCLC

Lisa Paladino, MS, RN, CNM, IBCLC

Breakout Session II Friday, 4:05 pm – 4:50 pm

What about Mom? Considering Maternal Factors When Evaluating and Treating Tethered Oral Tissues in Breastfeeding Infants


Since the identification of tethered oral tissues (TOTs) is a functional assessment, in order to be complete, maternal assessment must be included. In this presentation, we will discuss how the function of the breastfeeding infant is affected by maternal factors, including discomfort, milk supply, birth experience, and lack of prior education/support. It is essential to assess whether there is a tie and whether the tie is causing the feeding concerns. This paradigm extends to readiness for the release of TOTs and considers maternal/family readiness as an indicator for successful procedures.

Biographical Highlights

The producer and host of the Tongue Tie Experts Podcast, Lisa Paladino, is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Registered Nurse, and Certified Nurse Midwife in private practice in Staten Island, NY.

Lisa’s 30+ year career includes 28 years at Staten Island University Hospital, where she founded the Breastfeeding Initiative and worked in collaboration with the NY City Department of Health’s Baby Friendly Hospital initiative.

In addition to her Master in Midwifery, Lisa has trained through the Academy of Oral Myofunctional Therapy and completed certification programs in Herbal Medicine for Women and Women’s Functional and Integrative Medicine.

Lisa’s unique qualifications as both a nurse practitioner and lactation consultant allow her to diagnose and prescribe treatment protocols for breastfeeding management as an independent provider. She is a founding member of the International Consortium of Oral Ankylofrenula Professionals (ICAP).

Lisa’s private practice focuses on lactation, women’s wellness, and nutrition, with an approach that integrates the Midwifery model with the Functional medicine model.

She is experienced with assessment, diagnosing, and treatment protocols for infants with tethered oral tissues and has a network of professionals for collaboration and referral.

She is the author of the book, “It Shouldn’t Hurt to Nurse Your Baby” and a parent’s course called “Parent’s Guide to TOTs,” which is available online for families to purchase and providers to use as patient education and the “Professional’s Guide to Tongue Tie in the Breastfeeding Infant,” an online, interdisciplinary introductory course for professionals.

Eric Armakan, DDS

Breakout Session I Friday, 4:50 pm – 5:35 pm

Taking the Complaints out of Compliance: Functional Frenuloplasty in the Early Child and Adolescent Population


Timing and compliance are common factors/challenges when planning for a frenectomy or functional frenuloplasty. When evaluating and treating children and adolescents for tethered oral tissues, post-operative compliance can be challenging and prevent us from having favorable outcomes. Release providers often are faced with the challenge of either placing sutures or instructing caregivers to do wound healing stretches on their own. Case studies and knowledge from previous research have helped us formulate key factors that can help lead to positive outcomes for the patient and provider.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Eric is a board-certified pediatric dentist and laser-certified professional, expert-trained provider in releasing tethered oral tissues (tongue and lip ties), and treats patients as young as a few days old and from all walks of life. He values a conservative and comprehensive team approach to optimal health and works with multiple providers to ensure the best possible outcome. He is an Ambassador of the Breathe Institute, a Tufts Pediatric Sleep Medicine Residency graduate, a Tongue Tie Academy graduate, TOTs Specialty trained, and a Verified Airway Dentist with Airway Health Solutions. He’s actively involved in the community, an avid DC sports fan, and a kid at heart. You can find Dr. Eric exploring the world in his free time with his wife and three daughters. You can follow him on social media @Dr.EricDMV to see what he’s up to.

Melissa Mugno, OMT

Melissa Mugno, OMT; and
Sarah Hornsby, RDH

Breakout Session II Friday, 4:50 pm – 5:35 pm

The Secret to Effective and Efficient Myofunctional Therapy


In this lecture, Melissa Mugno and Sarah Hornsby will be sharing their secrets to effective and efficient myofunctional therapy. As this field grows, many doctors and therapists struggle with how to incorporate myo in a proficient and profitable way in a “real life” setting. Melissa and Sarah’s combined experience of over 20 years in the field gives them a great deal of knowledge and experiences to share when it comes to educating patients, delivering exercises, and getting better patient compliance and case acceptance.

Biographical Highlights - Melissa Mugno, OMT

Melissa is a pioneer within the modern Myofunctional Movement. Since becoming an Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist in 2014, she has improved the lives of hundreds of patients, lectured around the country, and raised the standards of the profession. Her background as a Dental Hygienist and experience in the fields of Orthodontics and Pedodontics contributes to her success. Melissa treats patients of all ages suffering from a wide range of conditions stemming from adverse myofunctional habits. She now resides in Las Vegas, where she enjoys being with her family, cooking, and being involved in her community.

Melissa is proud to announce that she has become a Breathe Associate at the Breathe Institute in Los Angeles with Soroush Zaghi, MD, ENT.

Biographical Highlights - Sarah Hornsby, RDH

Sarah Hornsby graduated with a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene from Eastern Washington University in 2008. After practicing as a hygienist for only one year, she began to explore complementary modalities to help her patients achieve optimum oral health. She discovered the then-little-known field of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy and pursued training with the Academy of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (AOMT) in early 2010.

She studied under leaders in the field, such as Barbara Green and Joy Moeller, and in 2011, she enrolled in Sandra Holtzman’s training program through the International Association of Orofacial Myology (IAOM).

Sarah opened her practice, Faceology, in Seattle and began seeing patients in 2010. In 2014, she transformed her practice into the world’s first fully online telehealth myofunctional therapy practice. She has been working with patients from across the country and worldwide since then. In 2015, Sarah opened MyoMentor, a new branch of her business designed to mentor, train, and support hygienists and dentists who want to incorporate myofunctional therapy into their practices and careers. Today, over 600 hygienists and dentists have gone through her mentoring program. Sarah is also Co-Director of the Myofunctional Therapy Department at The Breathe Institute, where she is actively involved in publishing research on myofunctional therapy to grow the field. Although Sarah has become a speaker, teacher, and leader in the field, it’s her journey through recognizing and treating her own oral myofunctional symptoms that makes her so passionate about the field and spreading the message about this critical component of dental health and overall wellness.

Saturday, February 3, 2024


Robert A. Strauss DDS, MD, FACS

Keynote Saturday, 8:05 am – 9:35 am

Laser Physics for Poets: How the Good Practitioner Uses Basic Principles for the Best Clinical Laser Results


As a surgical modality, lasers have many advantages over cold steel or electrocautery. However, using a laser in the same manner as either of these will result in unpredictable, erratic, and potentially very poor results. Understanding that laser use is based strictly on the physics of light energy, one can apply a few very basic physics concepts to obtain repeatable, predictable, and positive results. This lecture will discuss the “Big 3” techniques for using surgical lasers and how to manage power, time, and spot size to maximize efficiency while limiting lateral thermal damage.

Biographical Highlights

Robert A. Strauss, DDS, MD, FACS, Professor and Director of the Residency Training Program in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, and Past President of the American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Dr. Strauss is board-certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and is a former Chair of the Major Surgery Section of the Board. Over the last 30 years, he has authored numerous publications and textbook chapters on the use of lasers in oral and maxillofacial surgery.

Dr. Strauss received his dental degree from the University of Buffalo and his medical degree from the UHSA School of Medicine. He completed his internship at the Buffalo General Hospital and residencies in both Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and in Anesthesiology at the Michael Reese Medical Center in Chicago.

Dr. Strauss specializes in laser surgery of the head and neck, facial and jaw reconstructive surgery, cosmetic facial surgery, and sleep apnea surgery. His research interests include laser and cosmetic surgery, sleep apnea, anesthesia, and orthognathic and reconstructive surgery.

Rajeev Agarwal, MD, FAAP

Rajeev Agarwal, MD, FAAP

Keynote Saturday, 9:40 am – 10:40 am

Use of a New Tool (FLIP) for Evaluation of Breastfeeding Dysfunction


Symptoms of breastfeeding dysfunction lie in a continuum with normal breastfeeding experience of the dyad, with the difference lying between the frequency and severity of the symptoms. We have developed a self-reporting tool for the parents, which will be helpful to providers in differentiating between the two. Longitudinal follow-ups and management of the breastfeeding journey of the dyad can be simplified by using this tool. It converts the subjective experience of breastfeeding into an objective number, which can be used to longitudinally manage issues with breastfeeding and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Agarwal worked on the Eastern Shore of Virginia for eight years in general pediatrics before moving to the Valley of the Sun to establish Agave Pediatrics in 2005. Dr. Agarwal underwent medical schooling at India’s premier institute of medical sciences, AIIMS, in New Delhi. He completed his residency in Pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. To further his learning in subspecialty medicine, he joined the fellowship program in Pediatric Nephrology at the University of Florida at Gainesville. Under the program, he also conducted bench research at Ohio State University.

Richard Baxter, DMD, MS

Richard Baxter, DMD, MS

Keynote Saturday, 10:45 am – 12:00 pm

What’s New In Tongue-Tie Land: Latest Research and Clinical Insights


In this lecture, Dr. Baxter will discuss the latest research and clinical insights from the past year. He will share his new stretching protocol, the latest laser settings, how to choose the best setting, case studies, and research projects on buccal ties and sleep data on children after a tongue-tie release. He will also discuss training a new doctor to start doing releases and how to best help new doctors complete their first 50 releases successfully. A question-and-answer session will follow for attendees to ask any questions related to tongue-tie assessment and treatment.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Richard Baxter is a board-certified Dr. Richard Baxter is a board-certified pediatric dentist, Fellow of the AAPD, and Diplomate of the American Board of Laser Surgery. He is an internationally recognized speaker on tongue-ties, instructor of the acclaimed online course Tongue-Tied Academy, and lead author of the bestselling book Tongue-Tied: How a Tiny String Under the Tongue Impacts Nursing, Speech, Feeding, and More. He is passionate about educating parents and healthcare providers about the effects a tongue-tie can have throughout the lifespan. He lives in Birmingham, AL, with his wife, Tara, and their three girls, Hannah, Noelle, and Molly. He is the founder of the Alabama Tongue-Tie Center, where he uses the CO2 laser to release oral restrictions. He had a tongue-tie himself, and all of his girls were treated as infants, so this field is a personal one. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, running, and outdoor activities. He serves in Kids Ministry as a 4th grade Faith Trainer at the Church at Brook Hills and participates in global missions projects around the world.

Diana Batoon, DMD

Breakout Session I Saturday, 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm

Barely Breathing and Barely Sleeping


Exploring considerations in setting the stage to support our body’s incredible built-in capabilities. Revolutionizing how we view frenulum healing processes through cellular stress minimization, red light therapy, and celebrating our body’s innate wisdom.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Diana Batoon is a highly regarded educator and public speaker within the dental and medical community, specializing in raising awareness about sleep-related breathing disorders and promoting a healthy airway. Dr. Batoon’s comprehensive understanding of healthcare systems, combined with her dental expertise, positions her uniquely to integrate advanced technologies and streamline processes, ultimately improving patient outcomes in both dental and general healthcare settings. Additionally, Dr. Batoon is a sought-after speaker who inspires teams and leaders, motivating them to cultivate positive cultures within their workspaces. Her passion lies in empowering individuals who aspire to make a meaningful difference in their respective fields, guiding them toward action and success.

Justin Roche, MB ChB, MRCPCH, IBCLC; and
Kate Roche, BSc, MISCP, IBCLC

Breakout Session II Saturday, 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm

Challenge the Challenges! – How to Make the Ideal Treatment Pathway Fit a Family’s Reality


We know that surgical outcomes are dependent upon therapy to retrain normal movement, release inhibitory tension patterns, and correct dysfunction. Most of this rehabilitation is then carried out by families helping to habitualise therapy, so we need to help parents and children manage this in their day-to-day lives.

Each family faces different challenges as they head into a treatment program, and we look at how a clinical team can help to achieve the best surgical and therapeutic outcomes by working with families in a way that meets their needs.

Biographical Highlights

Justin and Kate founded the National Tongue Tie Centre in 2017, a dedicated space to provide care for Infants, children, and adults. With Clinical Backgrounds as a Consultant Paediatrician and Paediatric Physiotherapist. They each have over 15 years of experience in caring for patients with tethered oral tissues. Together, they built a multi-disciplinary team and have brought Functional Frenuloplasty to Europe, including for pre-school children.

Maribel Santos-Cordero, DMD

Maribel Santos-Cordero, DMD

Breakout Session I Saturday, 1:45 pm – 2:30 pm

Surgical Contraindications and Management of Complications in Laser Dentistry


While most laser surgical interventions are uneventful, there are always associated risks. The management of patients with oral lesions and tethered oral tissues requires a thorough evaluation and diagnostic process. An understanding of the anatomy of the oral cavity, associated functional deficits, as well as surgical contraindications is vital to providing our patients with the best treatment outcome. Rapid assessment and decision-making of potential complications can be the difference between a scare and an apparent life-threatening event. The purpose of this lecture is to present an overview of treatment contraindications and complications in laser dentistry to empower the clinician with practical information to obtain desired and consistent results.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Maribel Santos-Cordero’s personal journey and relentless pursuit of finding solutions to her son’s struggles drove her down the path of specialized training in tethered oral tissues, oral myology, integrative orthodontics, and pediatric dental sleep medicine. She has now made it her mission to provide each patient with the necessary tools to achieve optimal growth & development.

As an Affiliate of The Breathe Institute, Dr. Santos is very passionate about the need to create awareness of the potential health problems in children with lip & tongue ties and sleep-related breathing disorders. She often engages in a team approach with other healthcare professionals to provide her patients with treatment options that will help them thrive.

Dr. Santos-Cordero earned a DMD degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine and has been practicing dentistry since 1994. She completed her residency program in Pediatric Dentistry at The Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, NY, a Pediatric Dental Sleep Medicine mini-residency at Tufts School of Dental Medicine, and a surgical proctorship with Dr. Soroush Zaghi at The Breathe Institute. A certified laser surgeon, she is also trained in oral myofunctional therapy and orthodontics.
Dr. Maribel Santos has earned privileges to practice dental surgery at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL, and has been on staff since 2002. She regularly attends continuing education courses to expand her professional scope and to stay up to date on the latest techniques. She has been a guest speaker at various local and international organizations.

Dr. Santos is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and a Fellow of the American Laser Study Club. She is a member in good standing of the Florida Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Academy of Laser Dentistry, the International Affiliation of Tongue-Tie Professionals, the International Consortium of Ankylofrenula Professionals, and the American Dental Association.



Breakout Session II Saturday, 1:45 pm – 2:30 pm

The Ever Evolving Process of Release: Assessment, Timing, and Technique


As a doctor preforming frenectomies, how do you know when a patient is functionally ready for their tongue-tie release? This lecture aims to give you a clear, simple, and decisive set of pre-operative goals to help you efficiently and effectively preform frenectomies, and to achieve the best results possible.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Cara graduated from Arizona State University with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. She is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner in addition to having her IBCLC certification. Dr. Cara is also a diplomate of the American Board of Laser Surgery, specializing in “Oral Surgery in Infants, Toddlers, and Adults.” She has additional training as a Certified Specialist in Orofacial Myology (CSOM). In 2023, Dr. Cara was accepted as a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Dr. Cara very much enjoys helping families to reach their breastfeeding goals.

Brynn L. Leroux, DDS

Brynn Leroux, DDS

Breakout Session I Saturday, 2:30 pm – 3:15 pm

Lip Ties, Buccal Ties, Eiffel Tower Ties, Oh My – Part 2!


This presentation will highlight lip ties, buccal ties, and Eiffel Tower ties in patients from birth to adolescence and the importance of releasing each type. Correlations between these tethered oral tissues, feeding and speech difficulties, dental and orthodontic issues, and more will be reviewed. Appropriate timing and necessity for each release will also be discussed. Part 2 of this 2-part lecture will include multiple case presentations of these different types of frenectomies in all ages.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Brynn Leroux is a Louisiana State University School of Dentistry graduate and was ranked 2nd in her graduating class. She completed a residency in Pediatric Dentistry at the Medical University of South Carolina, acting as Chief Resident. A native of Maringouin, LA, Dr. Leroux graduated as Valedictorian from the Catholic High School of Pointe Coupee and continued on to study Biological Sciences at LSU in Baton Rouge. Dr. Leroux is a partner in Associates in Pediatric Dentistry, a group practice with 4 locations serving the Greater Baton Rouge area. She is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and has begun the certification process through the American Board of Laser Surgery. She is an active member of numerous local and national dental organizations and honorary societies, including the Greater Baton Rouge Dental Association, Louisiana Dental Association, American Dental Association, Southwest Society of Pediatric Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, OKU National Dental Society, C.E. Kells Honorary Society, and Pierre Fauchard Honor Society. After being personally affected by tongue-tie and sleep-disordered breathing, Dr. Leroux has taken a special interest in tethered oral tissues, airway-centered dentistry, sleep medicine, and interceptive orthodontics. She is a TOTS-trained professional, an active member and speaker of the American Laser Study Club, and a founding member of the International Consortium of Oral Ankylofrenula Professionals (ICAP). She evaluates her patients for signs and symptoms of tethered oral tissues and sleep-disordered breathing and provides laser lip and tongue tie revisions from birth through adulthood using the LightScalpel CO2 laser. Her practice can offer any level of sedation or anesthesia “in-house” as needed to provide patients with the most thorough, positive, and safest laser revision experience. Dr. Leroux works closely with a team of local lactation consultants, therapists, bodyworkers, pediatricians, and ENTs to ensure collaboration, follow-through, and comprehensive care for her patients. In her spare time, Dr. Leroux, her husband, Lance, and her children, Anson and Amelie, enjoy entertaining family and friends, attending LSU football games, exercising, traveling, and spending time at their lake house.

Alisa Sacker, MD, IBCLC

Breakout Session II Saturday, 2:30 pm – 3:15 pm

To Wait or Not to Wait? Optimal Timing for Release of Oral Restrictions


In the medical realm, clinical skills and significance have been losing ground compared to the need for continued, non-biased research. Having come from a large institution, the importance of ‘standard of care’ is relevant, but we must not lose clinical experience and expertise in such a specialized area of tethered oral tissues. Babies must be considered different than children and especially different as compared to adults. Each category of patients is unique, as well as each individual patient is unique. Just as there are red flags to recognize and refer to a competent release provider, that provider must understand the importance of what to consider in a proper and thorough release. We will review differences in the type of ties and how to assess for proper function and compensatory mechanisms. We will cover important factors to consider, such as the degree of signs and symptoms, feeding issues, family anxiety, muscle tension, weak or uncoordinated functional problems, and the need for and importance of follow-up. We will also cover some interesting and unusual cases to expand your knowledge and how to think outside of the box when surprises arise. We will discover the advantages of having a medical provider understand the patient and other novel ways a CO2 laser can be used in medical practice.

Biographical Highlights

Alisa Sacker is a Pediatrician, IBCLC, and owner of Team Tongue Tie in San Diego, CA. She provides a full, unique experience for her patients in a specialized private medical practice. She has 2 RN/IBCLCs and 2 IBCLCs in her office. Two of her lactation consultants are undergoing CST certification. Dr. Sacker has completed myofunctional training to better understand and provide care for her patients. Being an MD release provider, Alisa Sacker also uses her LightScalpel C02 laser to treat skin tags, moles, warts, remove extra digitals and umbilical granulomas, and is the only provider currently releasing congenital chordee of the penis and complete circumcisions in babies that would otherwise have to wait until they are older and undergo general anesthesia. She worked for Kaiser Permanente for 23 years in General Pediatrics and NICU. There, she created the first and only laser frenectomy program for all of Southern California Kaisers in 2013. In 2017, she opened Team Tongue Tie to provide personalized, quality releases for babies, children, and adults. She is known for her extensive aftercare program and passion for education. She has taught her Lactation IBLCE-certified lecture to over 400 ancillary providers in Southern California in the past five years. Full resume available upon request.


James Thomas, DDS, MS

Breakout Session I Saturday, 3:20 pm – 4:05 pm

Lasering Through Misunderstanding: Communicating the Essence of Laser Frenectomies


In “Communicating the Essence of Laser Frenectomies,” Dr. Thomas aims to clarify the often misunderstood realm of performing frenectomies at health:latch in Bellevue, WA. This talk is not just about the technicalities of the procedure but is intensely centered on unraveling the misconceptions held by the general public and even by pediatricians. Focusing on the transformative power of effective communication, the presentation aims to equip attendees with the knowledge and tools to convey the critical importance of frenectomies in aiding infant feeding and overall development. The utilization of advanced communication technologies will be highlighted as a pivotal strategy to foster understanding and support amongst healthcare providers and parents. This speech is a call to action for professionals to become advocates and educators, ensuring that the significance of these early interventions is recognized and valued for the lifelong benefits they offer to children and their families.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Thomas’s career path has been marked by innovation, dedication to patient care, and a continuous quest for improving healthcare delivery. After founding Everyone By One (EBO) in 2007, a venture that championed the belief that every child deserves excellent oral healthcare from an early age, Dr. Thomas led the practice to remarkable growth, serving over 7500 patients in the greater Seattle area. In 2016, he took a step further in my mission and founded health:latch, where we pivoted from traditional pediatric dentistry practices. At health:latch, we introduced a niche healthcare model focused on correcting oral dysfunction and enhancing breastfeeding in newborns, underpinned by our values of being radically kind, fiercely patient, disruptively brave, and defiantly joyful.

In January 2023, Dr. Thomas built and launched the online masterclass “No More Phony Business,” designed to revolutionize healthcare communication by training professionals to leverage HIPAA-compliant text messaging and efficient messaging processes, aiming to reduce burnout and improve patient experiences. This initiative has been a testament to my dedication to advancing healthcare practices through innovative solutions.

Most recently, in September 2023, Dr. Thomas re-entered the field of Pediatric Dentistry at Milestone Kids Dentistry, driven by my experiences at health:latch and a deep understanding of the need for early diagnosis and treatment of Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) in children. His focus is laser-focused on designing operational processes for the early identification and management of SDB, particularly in children between 18 months and 4 years old, believing this is crucial for their overall health and well-being.

Throughout his career, Dr. Thomas has remained committed to believing every child deserves the best start in life. He continues striving to shape the future of pediatric oral healthcare through innovation, education, and compassionate care.


Breakout Session II Saturday, 3:20 pm – 4:05 pm

Cutting Edge Care: Why Integrating Myofunctional Therapy is a Game Changer for your Dental Practice


In this era of dental innovation, it is paramount that we continuously seek new ways to enhance patient care. This presentation will delve into the transformative power of myofunctional therapy and its potential role in the dental office, particularly in conjunction with tongue tie releases. Drawing on recent studies and clinical experiences, we will explore why this therapy is not just an adjunct but a crucial element in the holistic treatment of patients. We will discuss how integrating myofunctional therapy can significantly improve treatment outcomes, enhance patient satisfaction, and set your practice apart in today’s competitive landscape. Prepare to be enlightened, engaged, and perhaps even a little entertained as we dive into the cutting edge of dental care.

Biographical Highlights

Joy Lantz has over 25 years of experience in the dental field, with a background in dental hygiene. She earned her degree in dental hygiene in 1998. Joy began practicing orofacial myology in 2016 and received her certification in orofacial myology (COM) from the International Association of Orofacial Myology in 2017. She is currently serving as the Executive Committee Secretary and as a Board of Directors of the IAOM. She came out of her myofunctional private practice to join the team at Inspire Dental Wellness in 2020. She also earned her title of Certified Breastfeeding Specialist in 2021 and got her International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) credential in 2022. She created the mini Sproutz program for children aged birth to three for anticipatory guidance for parents and to track oral development in the early years. Joy is the owner of Level Up Myo, specializing in advanced myofunctional concepts and business development. She is a professional speaker presenting courses on anticipatory guidance, collaboration for patient care, and myofunctional therapy. Her passion is to assist dental and medical professionals to work together in screening and treating oral myofunctional disorders and overall health.

Chelsea Pinto

Chelsea Pinto, DDS

Breakout Session I Saturday, 4:05 pm – 4:50 pm

Healthy, Happy Healing Tissue: Understanding and Optimizing Wound Healing on a Cellular Level


Exploring considerations in setting the stage to support our body’s incredible built-in capabilities. Revolutionizing the way we view frenulum healing processes through cellular stress minimization, red light therapy, and celebrating the innate wisdom of our body.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Chelsea Pinto is an educator and dentist in Woodland Hills/Los Angeles who has solely dedicated her practice to focus on Infant/Toddler Tongue and Lip Ties. Dr. Pinto earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the USC Ostrow School of Dentistry and completed a post-graduate General Residency Program. She has successfully treated thousands of babies with oral restrictions and proudly provides families with the knowledge to support their child’s oral motor skills, including appropriate therapeutic and feeding support referrals for an individualized and comprehensive approach.

As an advocate for honoring anatomical and physiological normalcies, she teaches proper diagnosis and treatment protocols to 1) avoid unnecessary procedures and overtreatment and 2) to address the importance of establishing optimal oral motor function and tongue posture early on to support feeding, breathing, sleeping, and speaking habits as babies grow. Collaborative care with a focus on empowering parents is her passion!

Dr. Pinto uses a state-of-the-art LightScalpel CO2 laser for a quick, precise, and gentle frenectomy procedure. She also utilizes Photobiomodulation (PBM) – Red Light Therapy to enhance tissue healing properties, reduce inflammation, and increase circulation inside and outside of the mouth to optimize movement patterns, flexibility, and comfort for both mother and baby.

She is a member of the American Laser Study Club, American Dental Association, California Dental Association, International Affiliation of Tongue Tie Professionals, and International Consortium of Oral Ankylofrenula Professionals. As an internationally recognized speaker, Dr. Pinto provides comprehensive educational resources and mentorship opportunities for practitioners worldwide.

Dr. Pinto and her husband have two little boys and a goldendoodle named Goose. Some of their favorite family activities include going to the beach, spending time outdoors and in the pool, and cooking together.

Jessica Altemara, IBCLC

Breakout Session II Saturday, 4:05 pm – 4:50 pm

Self Efficacy As A Tool in Active Wound Management


Providers often struggle with finding success in patients’ (and parents’) execution of active wound management following frenectomy. Self-efficacy is a little-known and unique factor in human behavior that is an evidence-based predictor of performance. Understanding how to affect self-efficacy gives providers an amazing tool for learning new skills, teaching new skills, and successfully following through with post-op instructions by patients. Learn how to use concrete self-efficacy-based strategies to find compliance with active wound management protocols.

Biographical Highlights

Jessica has been invested in helping families struggling with oral restrictions since giving birth to a tongue-tied baby in 2005 while working as a La Leche League Leader birth and postpartum doula. “Medically complicated” herself, she has an appreciation for seeking answers to her favorite question: “Why?”. Her doula background added an appreciation for the importance of whole-person approaches. She earned her IBCLC credential in 2009 and started a private practice in the Triangle area of North Carolina in the United States. She provides home visits there and also works regularly to provide integrative care for the treatment of ties in infants through the North Carolina Integrative Tongue Tie Center. She has worked with multiple practices to initiate an integrative model in multiple geographic areas. She’s excited to see so many families fully supported by the Three Pillars Approach, as well as enjoying time with her husband and 4 children, ranging in age from 20 to 10. She’s also a dedicated Whovian and passionate about creating community.

Sofya Kats, DDS; and
Jennifer Huffman, DDS

Breakout Session I Saturday, 4:50 pm – 5:35 pm

Measuring Effectiveness of Non Ablative Laser Therapy on Length of Soft Palate


An office study was done to test the efficacy of topical anesthetic on three intraoral locations: the upper lip frenum, sublingual frenum, and the soft palate. We will use four common topical anesthetics, including an infant-specific topical anesthetic. The other topic would be measuring CBCT readings of the length of the Soft Palate pre and post-nonablative CO2 laser therapy. There are no assumptions made on the findings, and only present the findings themselves. We will also present on how Riverwalk Dentistry has been using the CO2 laser in our practice as general dentists, from frenectomies to herpetic and aphthous ulcer therapies to Laser Bacterial Reduction (this last one will be a big focus as most people I have talked to do not use the laser for this, and it has been a major ROI for us and patient comfort and results have been really good) including the effectiveness of non-ablative laser therapy on the length of the soft palate.

Biographical Highlights - Sofya Kats, DDS

Dr. Sofya Kats is local to Milwaukee, WI. She grew up in Bayside and attended UW-Milwaukee and Marquette University School of Dentistry. She received her DDS degree in 2007 and then completed a two-year General Practice residency program in Brooklyn, NY, at NY Methodist Hospital.

Dr. Kats loves the art of dentistry and the healing it can bring to her patients. She volunteers her time by going on international dental mission trips and local events, such as the Mission of Mercy.

Biographical Highlights - Jennifer Huffman, DDS

I’m a general dentist practicing in Harrisonburg for 28 years. I graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1996. I obtained my diplomate status at the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine in 2020 and my Fellowship with the American Laser Study Club in 2023. I’m a Mom to seven grown kids and spend most of my time between Richmond and Harrisonburg, Virginia. My passion lies in treating airway disorders and spreading sleep and airway awareness everywhere I go.

Shervin Yazdi, DDS

Shervin Yazdi, DDS

Breakout Session II Saturday, 4:50 pm – 5:35 pm

Infant Frenectomy Pearls 2024: Clinical Concepts, Tools, and Precautions Not Yet Common Practice


As providers, we take many measures to strive for the best clinical outcome; however, we may not have incorporated some tools, concepts, and precautions into practice yet; a discussion is warranted to explore possible patient benefits.

Biographical Highlights

Shervin Yazdi was born in Manhattan, New York, and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. He completed his undergraduate study of biology at Sonoma State University in 1990, his Doctor of Dental Surgery at UCLA in 1994, and his Pediatric Dentistry residency at UCLA in 1996. He has been practicing pediatric dentistry in Northern California for the past 28 years.

Dr. Yazdi has kept his passion for soft tissue surgery alive due to the clear functional benefits it provides his patients. He routinely attends national and international conferences, learning from other providers what is essential to bring you the functional effectiveness and safety families deserve. He was certified by the Academy of Laser Dentistry in 2002, Laser Soft Tissue re-certified in 2013, a Fellow of the World Clinical Laser & Imaging Institute in 2014, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Laser Surgery in 2018.

Dr. Yazdi has performed over 10,000 frenectomies in the past 25 years using a variety of lasers and laser wavelengths. With decades of unwavering passion for relieving oral restrictions, Dr. Yazdi has limited his thriving practice to the sub-specialty of infant frenectomy; he practices out of the Infant Frenectomy Center he has scratch built in 2016; he finds no greater joy than to relieve the many ailments afflicting a baby.

Dr. Yazdi sincerely believes “success” depends on a community of open-minded healthcare professionals who are humble with their talent but generous with their knowledge.

Sunday, February 4, 2024


Soroush Zaghi, MD

Keynote Sunday, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Dr. Zaghi’s Annual ALSC Update: Results from Recent Studies and More.


Sleep, breathing, tongue-tie, and myofunctional disorders are now well appreciated to have a direct effect on a multitude of dental health outcomes including caries, periodontal disease, dental wear, malocclusion, pain, and oral dysfunction, as well as overall medical health, longevity, and psychosocial well-being. This course aims to provide updates to the evidenced-based approach in identifying and unraveling the root causes of sleep-related breathing disorders and myofunctional issues in children and adults based on the most recent research and latest clinical protocols developed and utilized by Dr. Soroush Zaghi and his team at The Breathe Institute.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Zaghi graduated from Harvard Medical School, completed a residency in ENT (Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery) at UCLA, and Sleep Surgery Fellowship at Stanford University. The focus of his sub-specialty training is on the comprehensive treatment of nasal obstruction, snoring, and obstructive sleep apnea. He is very active in clinical research relating to sleep-disordered breathing with over 80+ peer-reviewed research publications in the fields of neuroscience, head and neck surgery, and sleep-disordered breathing. Dr. Zaghi practices in Los Angeles, CA as Medical Director of The Breathe Institute, which provides comprehensive functional and structural treatment options for pediatric and adult sleep and breathing issues. Dr. Zaghi is particularly interested in how tethered-oral tissues (such as tongue-tie) and oral myofascial dysfunction impact maxillofacial development, upper airway resistance syndrome, and obstructive sleep apnea. He is an invited lecturer, author, and journal reviewer for topics relating to sleep-disordered breathing and tongue-tie disorders.

None of the speakers have indicated a conflict of interest related to this event with the exception of Dr. Soroush Zaghi. Dr. Zaghi is a speaker/consultant for the American Academy of Physiological Medicine and Dentistry, Beam Readers, Boom Boom Naturals, DiolPure CBD, Itamar Medical: Watch PAZT Home Sleep Test, LightScalpel, JedMed Surgical Instruments, Myofunctional Research Company: MyoBrace, SpirAir, and Xlear Nasal Spray.

Don’t miss the 2024 premier gathering of airway-focused practitioners, laser surgeons, and dentists at the American Laser Study Club (ALSC) 7th Annual Symposium, themed Breathe and Thrive. The 2024 Symposium will be held February 2-4, 2024, in San Diego, CA.

The ALSC promotes Science-Based Laser Surgery, Dentistry, and Safety Education. The ALSC fills the void in current Laser Surgery and Laser Dentistry education (i.e., the physics of laser-tissue interaction, such as absorption, scattering, ablation, coagulation and hemostasis, soft and hard tissue ablation, laser safety, etc.) and helps Physicians, Dentists, and Practice Staff Members to excel at the efficient and safe application of laser energy in everyday practice.

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