2023 ALSC Breathe and Thrive Symposium • February 17-19, 2023 • San Antonio, TX

Presentation Abstracts and Speaker Biographies


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Friday, February 17, 2023



Keynote Friday, 8:05 am – 9:20 am

Office Based CO2 laser TOTs Treatment Techniques for Medically Complex Patients: Toddlers, Children, and Adolescents


Office-based treatment of TOTs is continuing to rise. This results in the treatment of populations of patients from infants to adults that may have significant medical comorbidities. In conjunction with medical feeding and speech therapists, I have been treating patients with significant neurological impairments that have been condemned to a life without the ability to orally feed and nasally breathe. I will present cases of significant medical compromise, specifically the challenges facing the population of children diagnosed with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE). This lecture will dive deeply into the role of neuroplasticity and teach these children to gain oral function in conjunction with the treatment of TOTs and intensive feeding therapy. Multiple case studies on how to safely and effectively treat this population in the office setting and a review of literature will be presented.

Biographical Highlights

Scott A. Siegel, MD, DDS, FACS, FICS, FAAP, is a board-certified, dual degree MD, DDS, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. Dr. Siegel is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and International College of Surgeons, and the first oral and maxillofacial surgeon awarded Fellowship to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Siegel is also an active member of numerous medical and dental professional organizations.

Dr. Siegel has over 25 years of experience as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and has devoted the past 22 years to the treatment of issues related to tethered oral tissues (TOTs). Dr. Siegel has performed over 30,000 tethered oral tissue surgical procedures to date and is an internationally recognized pioneer in the field.

Educated at the State University of New York at Stony Brook Schools of Medicine and School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Siegel maintains a private practice based in New York City and Long Island, NY.

During his surgical residency and in private practice, Dr. Siegel was mentored by the world-renowned pediatric surgeon and tongue-tie pioneer Elizabeth “Betty” Coryllos, MD, FACS, FRCS, FAAP, and assumed her practice upon her retirement.

Dr. Siegel has been treating TOTs patients with lasers for the past 22 years ranging from infants to adults.

Dr. Siegel lectures internationally, conducts clinical research, and publishes on topics related to TOTs, including aerodigestive disorders related to TOTs. Dr. Siegel is known for his work regarding Aerophagia Induced Reflux (AIR), utilizing ultrasound to understand the kinematics and tongue motility before and after frenotomy. Dr. Siegel is currently working as a clinical investigator in two major IRB-approved clinical research projects. Dr. Siegel is working in collaboration with the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University and Tel Aviv University to understand the kinematics of tongue movement in infants, children, and adults with ankyloglossia. Dr. Siegel is also working with the Child Development Lab at the City University of New York, investigating objective parameters of infant sleep before and after lingual frenectomy.

Paul Bahn, DMD

Keynote Friday, 9:25 am – 10:40 am

Everything Else You Can Do with a CO2 laser in Dentistry: A Frenulum Free Course


This lecture will discuss a wide variety of oral pathology lesions that can be addressed with the use of a carbon dioxide laser. Details into diagnosis, prevention, and pathophysiology related to these lesions will be reviewed. The lesions that will be covered are more commonly seen in a pediatric and adolescent patient population, but may be relevant in the adult patient population. Additional, cases related to orthodontic exposures and gingival recontouring will also be discussed and reviewed.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Bahn is a native of south central Pennsylvania and spent his entire childhood in that area. After graduating from high school, he attended Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA where he received his B.S. in Biology. Immediately after college, he relocated to Philadelphia, PA to attend dental school at Temple University Dental School for the next 4 years. While at Temple he became more and more drawn toward pediatric dentistry and working with children. After graduating magna cum laude from Temple University Dental School he decided to remain in Philadelphia and complete a 2-year pediatric dental residency at Temple University Hospital – Episcopal Division, from which he graduated from in 2008.

He was first taught about and exposed to lasers in dentistry while in residency, but did not start to routinely use them until he was practicing. Over the course of a few years, he continued to use the laser more frequently in practice and take more continuing education courses focused on its applications in practice. In 2012, he started to research more into breastfeeding struggles with newborns and infants. With the help and guidance of some great lactation consultants in the Philadelphia area, he started treating patients the following year.

Currently, he serves as the Program Director for Temple University Hospital-Northeastern Campus’s Pediatric Dental Residency Program. It is one of the largest pediatric dental residency programs in the country and currently consists of 20 pediatric dental residents that receive first-hand exposure to treating newborns and infants.

Dr. Bahn is a board-certified pediatric dentist and also serves as a Board Examiner for the American Board for Pediatric Dentistry (APBD). He maintains active memberships with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and both the Pennsylvania Dental Association and Philadelphia County Dental Society.

When he is not working or teaching, he enjoys spending time and adventuring with his wife, 4 children, and 2 dogs.

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 Tissue Remodeling 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.


Joy Lantz RDH, COM®, IBCLC; and
Erica Zolnierczyk, DMD

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

Continued Support Post Release for Birth to 3


While providing laser releases within a dental practice is an amazing service, why should it stop there? Infants and toddlers getting ongoing support post-frenectomy allow for monitoring of orofacial growth. Releasing ties is just the beginning of the process and it does not ensure proper habits that will encourage optimal growth and development. We will review our six-step plan to follow our patients for milestone recall visits from birth to 3 in our office. This not only builds rapport with families but also allows us to catch problems early and intervene as needed. Children that get frenectomies will have a dental home early which will benefit both the patient and the clinician for their future needs.

Biographical Highlights - Joy Lantz RDH, COM®, IBCLC

Joy earned her degree in dental hygiene in 1998. She began practicing orofacial myology in 2015 and received her certification in orofacial myology (COM) in 2017. The training and certification were approved by the International Association of Orofacial Myology (IAOM). She is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the IAOM. She is the owner of Oral Function Specialties and the creator of Spot on Myo.

Joy is married with three children. Each of her children has had issues with orofacial myofunctional disorders and that is what prompted her training. She continues to learn new strategies and then incorporates that knowledge into the practice to help her patients. Her passion is to assist dental and medical professionals to work together in screening and treating for myofunctional and overall health.

Biographical Highlights - Erica Zolnierczyk, DMD

Dr. Erica Zolnierczyk completed her undergraduate education at Loyola University Chicago receiving a Bachelor of Science in Biology Cum Laude. After completing her Bachelor’s degree, Dr. Zolnierczyk went on to Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine where she earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree in 2011. She currently lives in Orland Park and serves the surrounding community. Dr. Zolnierczyk has been practicing General Dentistry with a focus on facial and airway development, prevention, and cosmetics. She believes that listening to her patients will enable her to provide them with the best care possible.

Dr. Erica has been practicing General Dentistry with a focus on facial and airway development, prevention, and cosmetics. She believes that listening to her patients will enable her to provide them with the best care possible. Dr. Zolnierczyk exceeds the required amount of Continuing Education required by the State of Illinois and enjoys remaining at the forefront of dental care for her patients by doing so.


Bret B. Christensen, DDS, MS, D-ASBA

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

Pediatric Sleep Disorders: Dentistry’s Role in Treating the Airway Compromised Child


Treating the nasal airway of the airway-compromised patient is the first step in improving sleep and quality of life. Dr. Christensen will present data on 347 patients that were treated with Expansion orthodontics. The Data presented will show the minimal cross-sectional area and volumetric changes of the nasal airway as recorded with the Eccovisions Acoustic Rhinometer.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Christensen has been treating Sleep Disorder Breathing since becoming an orthodontist in 1999. For children, being trained in bio-progressive orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, he has been able to treat breathing disorders through growth and development. It is a matter of knowing what is causing the airway obstruction. It could be due to a small nasal airway, enlarged tonsils and adenoids or a tongue that drops into the back of the throat. This can be caused by a deficiency of growth of the lower jaw or very narrow upper and lower jaws that can’t accommodate the tongue. Treatment could consist of expansion of the upper and/or lower jaws. It can also include helping the lower jaw to grow forward, which in turn helps to pull the tongue out of the back of the throat.

Having the right tools is crucial in diagnosing and treatment planning for the patient. Dr. Christensen has invested in the most advanced CT scan (CBCT) machine in the industry and the Eccovision Pharyngometer and Rhinometer use sonar (sound waves) to map the area of the nasal airway and throat (oropharynx) to pinpoint the area of constriction or obstruction of the airway. These tools help determine with more accuracy the effects of maxillary expansion on the nasal airway and oral volume.

Advancing technologies in growth of infants to adult patients, by use of epigenetics, has made it possible to treat patients in a way never considered in the past. Many patients can now be treated non-surgically and without extractions. Treating the cause of the malocclusion (bad airway, tongue tie) rather than just looking at the teeth.

In the last 10 years, Dr. Christensen’s orthodontic practice has incorporated Sleep Medicine as a driving force in treating patients with a comprehensive health focused treatment rather than with traditional orthodontics.

In May 2019, Dr. Christensen received Diplomat Status with the ASBA (American Sleep and Breathing Academy) and became one of five orthodontists to become Board Certified in Sleep Medicine.

Paula Fabbie, RDH, BS, COM

Paula Fabbie, RDH, BS, COM®

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

Complex Cases: MYO to the Rescue


Proper case selection and management are critical in successful orofacial myofunctional therapy treatment outcomes. The goals of this course provide the participant with practical guidelines on proper case selection, treatment planning, and advice on co-treating complex cases with other healthcare professionals. A successful complicated case outcome requires the efforts of a cohesive team with combined skills. Together the team can address the barriers that interfere with treatment goals. Hidden etiologies and co-morbidities must be identified and treated by each of the experts in their respective fields.

Communication and education regarding the principles of OMT to patients, parents, and referral sources help to ensure the proper identification of etiologies and comorbidities. Taking a thorough medical and dental history and comprehensive records are vital to successful complex case results. Educating the parents and patients is crucial for compliance. therapist. Ideal timing and sequencing of treatment will assist with parent/patient cooperation and the efficacy of treatment.

Biographical Highlights

Certified Orofacial Myologist and Consultant in private Practice in the New York area. Paula Fabbie is a member of the Sleep Disordered Breathing Task Force for the IAOM. Co-authored Task Force Report on Airway and Sleep Disordered Breathing -to be accepted by the IJOM for publication. Co-authored the book, “Tongue Tied”, and several peer-reviewed journal articles.  Taught medical/Dental courses in MYO therapy and Sleep-disordered breathing with Dr. Rochelle Zozula. OMT lectures in the United States and abroad.

Manuel Castillo, DDS, Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry

Manuel Castillo, DDS, Dipl ABPD

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

Lasers in Pediatric Dentistry – From Infancy and Beyond


Lasers procedures in pediatric dentistry can bring your practice to a new level. Pediatric dentists no longer have to wait and watch developing problems. From infants having difficulties thriving, toddlers and children with texture aversions, and problems with speech and breathing. More than ever pediatric dentistry has become more comprehensive and multidisciplinary. We rely and support physicians, therapists, and consultants.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Manuel Castillo is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist. He is a 1991 graduate of Marquette University School of Dentistry. In addition to his extensive hands-on experience as a general doctor of dentistry, Dr. Castillo also thrived in academics. He worked as a full-time assistant professor at Marquette University School of Dentistry and held faculty appointments at Northwestern University Dental School in Chicago and the University of Colorado, School of Dental Medicine.

After 12 years in private practice and academics, Dr. Castillo was commissioned as a dental officer in the U.S. Army in 2000. Major Castillo’s first assignment was in beautiful Monterrey, California. At that time he was selected for pediatric specialty training and earned his Pediatric Dentistry Certificate from Baylor University School of Dentistry in Dallas in 2005. In September 2006 Dr. Castillo became a Diplomate with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, and in May 2007 he became a Fellow with the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.

Lieutenant Colonel Castillo finished his military career with a three-year assignment in Germany as Chief of Pediatric Dentistry in 2008. After proudly serving in the U.S. Army for eight years, Dr. Manuel Castillo decided to establish his roots in Texas where he has served his patients in two private Children’s Dental practices. After almost 24 years of both general and pediatric dental experience, in 2015, Dr. Castillo decided it was time to venture into a solo practice where he could create a close and caring relationship with his young patients and their parents.

Dr. Castillo’s extensive experience and skills continue to earn his patients’ trust. Children and parents love his fun personality and gentle touch.

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

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

The Who, What, When, Where and Why of Myofunctional Therapy


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 be contributing to why they present with such orofacial myofunctional deficits.

The Who, What, When, Where, and Why of Myofunctional therapy will allow participants to understand what myofunctional therapy is and the benefits of myofunctional therapy for individuals pre and post the release of tethered oral tissues. 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 11 years. Together, Janine and Toni-Ann, evaluate and treat orofacial myofunctional disorders across 8 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.

Hal Stewart, DDS

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

Laser Frenuloplasty: An Adjunct To Craniofacial/Airway Remodeling


Craniofacial/Airway development is multifactorial. There is not one magic bullet to help our patients breathe and sleep better. Laser frenuloplasty is a very important component in helping to create proper tongue mobility in our efforts to create optimal airways and craniofacial function for our patients. But there are other factors involved as well such as tongue space and tongue function. This presentation will, through several case studies, illustrate the importance of identifying and treating all the components that are involved in healthy breathing and sleeping.

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.



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

Updates on Feeding, Bodywork, Ties and Reattachment: Importance of Timing, Stretching and Release Techniques


As you know better you do better. Much discussion has evolved on the importance of the order of care before and after the release of tethered oral tissues. C-sections, womb placement, and the birth process are all known factors that exacerbate tethers. More discussion is needed to address the age or the patient and timing of release to ensure feeding success. We have found success with early intervention with successful breastfeeding outcomes. As an infant grows, their body can grow around the tether, creating new and worsening feeding behaviors in both infants and older children. Early intervention in the form of release and bodywork has the potential to deter some of these behaviors. This presentation focuses on infant and child releases, order of care in bodywork and exercises, and the evolution of patient success. Discussion of specific exercises pre and post-release for multiple age groups, the timing for infants and older children, and provider experience with success and failures are presented in this talk.

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 earned her certification as a Certified Specialist in Orofacial Myology (CSOM).

Dr. Cara describes her career as a diversifying adventure: research, teaching, nursing, and now breastfeeding medicine specialist. She strives to provide meaningful, evidence-based care to mother-baby dyads. Her mission is to support mothers where they are and help them journey into the breastfeeding relationship they desire. She strives to make sure that each patient can reach their desired goal and have an amazing breastfeeding relationship.

Jennifer A. White, DDS

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

Maximizing the Use of Laser in a General Dentist Office


Originally 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.


Justin Roche, MB ChB, MRCPCH, IBCLC

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

Six Months to Six Years – Functional Frenuloplasty in the Most Challenging Age Group – a Review of Over Three Hundred Patient


Optimizing outcomes of tongue tie surgery in the preschool child can be challenging for both clinicians and the child’s family. At the National Tongue Tie Centre, we have developed a pathway based on available evidence and professional experience which offers a child-friendly service integrating pre and post-op therapy with surgical management. We present how we have refined this pathway and the benefits seen.

Biographical Highlights

Justin has had an interest in tongue-tie since 1999 following the birth of his first daughter. Since then he has completed thousands of hours of continuing education related to tongue-tie to ensure he is at the forefront of care for infants, children, and adults. He is a Consultant Pediatrician and has run a dedicated multi-disciplinary clinic since 2010 and now works full-time at the National Tongue Tie Centre with co-director and Chartered Physiotherapist Kate Roche where they would assess and treat over a thousand infants, children, and adults each year.


Shannon Thorsteinson, DMD

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

Creating a TOTs-focused Practice: Treatment Planning, Scheduling, Inter-disciplinary Collaboration, and Lasers


This course will review treatment planning, interdisciplinary collaboration, scheduling, and laser selection.

When assessing if a patient is a good candidate for a release, there are many models to choose from. Navigating the decisions of what information you would like before deciding to proceed is foundational to practice philosophy.

When initially integrating the treatment of tethered oral tissues into a general dentistry practice, there are considerations for how to best implement this new procedure. Managing things like external referrals can be new for a general practice. In addition, we need to understand the logistics of scheduling while still leaving time for our usual day-to-day operations.

Similar to implant and complex restorative treatment planning, ideally whoever goes last in the sequence of treatment should be involved in the planning from the beginning. Getting that message out to your community will help get more predictable outcomes and better referrals.

Selecting your tool- considering what procedures you would like to do in your practice and the ROI on your investment when making a decision.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Shannon Thorsteinson completed her dental education at the Medical College of Georgia after studying Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech. After dental school, Dr. Shannon completed a General Practice Residency in conscious IV sedation and dental implant placement at Georgia Regents University. She considers herself a lifelong learner with a strong commitment to continuing education through advanced courses and study clubs. Dr. Shannon is a fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry, a master in the International Congress of Oral Implantology, an affiliate of The Breathe Institute, and is accredited with the International Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology.

Dr. Shannon is passionate about airway health and the connection between oral and systemic health. She loves helping people of all ages improve their breathing and sleeping because it can improve so many aspects of their health.

In her spare time, she enjoys singing, hiking, and seeing the wonders of the world with her husband, daughter, and son.

Shelly F. Klein, MD, COM

Shelly F. Klein, MD, COM

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

Tongue-Tie and Beyond…the next Generation


Professionals involved with tongue tie and its negative effects on breastfeeding, speech, eating, sleep and many other aspects of well-being are aware of the benefits of appropriate release and adjunct therapies. There remains a large number of professionals that are uneducated about tongue ties or have not been presented with the multitude of benefits. The object of this presentation will be to provide participants with ideas on how to educate the “next generation” of professionals through collaboration, presentations, education, and integration with academic training programs.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Shelly Klein is a seasoned pediatrician working in a small community in Arizona for the past 20+ years. She has been actively involved with tongue tie release using the CO2 laser for 5 years and continues to work with new mothers to help them succeed with breastfeeding. Dr. Shelly Klein is a seasoned pediatrician working in a small community in Arizona for the past 20+ years. She has been actively involved with tongue tie release using the CO2 laser for 5 years and continues to work with new mothers to help them succeed with breastfeeding.

Najmeh Hannanvash, DDS, MSD

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

Frenectomies in the Pediatric Dental Office – Dos and Don’ts


The objective of this presentation is to discuss the incorporation of frenectomy and early functional growth modification and intervention into a typical pediatric dental office. 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 long and a lot of the signs and symptoms associated with oral restrictions and sleep-disordered breathing are missed or incorrectly diagnosed. My journey to having my eyes opened to what our patients are experiencing and living has been a bumpy one. I’d like to share some of my important lessons along the way. Essentially, I would like to share about the various stages of transformation my practice has taken over the years to become the frenectomy and airway-focused center that it currently is.

Biographical Highlights

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

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 before moving to Seattle, WA for a pediatric dental residency at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital. There she also received her Masters 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.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Richard Baxter, DMD, MS

Richard Baxter, DMD, MS

Keynote Saturday, 8:05 am – 9:20 am

Help Your Tongue-Tie Practice Thrive: Business Insights and Pitfalls to Avoid


Tongue- and lip-tie procedures can seem like the hardest part to master, but often it’s all the other issues that arise that make integrating tongue-tie procedures into practice difficult. This presentation will walk you through the steps needed to start your first procedure, network with professionals, set up a separate corporation, and have long-term success with a thriving tongue-tie practice. Building upon his experience of providing procedures in a dental office setting to starting a separate tongue-tie center, Dr. Baxter will share his business insights and what pitfalls to avoid in this practical lecture for the whole team.

Biographical Highlights

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 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 and owner 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 doing outdoor activities. He serves as a small group leader at his church and is on the board of Reach the Rest, a global missions organization.

Piya Gandhi, DDS

Piya Gandhi, DDS

Keynote Saturday, 9:25 am – 10:40 am

The Function First Model: The Key to Building a Successful TOTS Practice


Participants in the course will learn the key steps necessary to implement a TOTS program into their existing dental practice. From deciding which laser to purchase, to the financial and scheduling components. This will allow participants to understand how to have clinical and financial success in their practice.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Piya Gandhi is the founder of West U Pediatric Dentistry. Originally from New York, she moved to Houston in 2010. She never imagined being a Texan but is now very proud to call West U home. She completed a two-year specialty training in pediatric dentistry at the University of Texas and is currently affiliated with Texas Children’s Hospital. Dr. Gandhi is so excited to provide passionate care to her patients daily, in a practice she has customized with excellence at the forefront. As a healthcare provider, She believes it is her job to partner with parents and empower them to make the best decision possible for their children.

In her free time, she enjoys exploring the neighborhood parks in West U with her two daughters, Cyrah and Ayana, and her husband, Neil. You can also catch Dr. Gandhi at the occasional spin or pilates class!

Professional Affiliations:

  • Texas Children’s Hospital
  • American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
  • International Association of Tongue Tie Professionals
  • Ambassador of the Breathe Institute
  • TOTS Trained
Rajeev Agarwal, MD

Rajeev Agarwal, MD, FAAP

Keynote Saturday, 10:45 am – 12:00 pm

Pediatricians and Dentists: And how the twain shall meet on Tongue Ties and Frenectomies


There is a growing interest and exposure to pediatricians about tongue ties and frenectomies. However, this has not kept pace with the explosion in the information that the families have started getting from the internet and social media. This has become a strain on the pediatrician–family relationship in many instances. In addition to this, traditionally the oral cavity has been dealt with mostly by dentists and oral surgeons, and hence dentists have been at the forefront of the information about tongue ties and frenectomies. There is a significant lag and level of understanding between the two disciplines. This has created a chiasm between many pediatricians and dentists which seems to be widening with more and more pediatricians feeling marginalized as frenectomies are becoming a rather common dental procedure. With time, both sides are hardening their stands, and the research that is needed to thaw the opposite side has been slow and only partially convincing. In this situation, till there is more definitive research to sway the opinion decisively onto one side, it is very important both sides do the maximum to benefit the families and also minimize rhetoric to avoid further polarization, at the same time keep the discussion alive.

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.

Melissa Mugno, OMT

Sarah Hornsby, RDH; and
Melissa Mugno, OMT

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

Keep It Simple: The ABCs of Pre-Op Preparedness for Tongue-Tie Release


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 - 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 around the world 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.

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 Angles with Soroush Zaghi, MD, ENT.

German Ramirez-Yañez, DDS, Pedo. Cert., MDSC, PhD, FRCD

German Ramirez-Yañez, DDS, Pedo. Cert., MDSC, PhD, FRCDC

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

Tethered Oral Tissues, Malocclusions and Airway: A Preventable Chronic Problem


As it is known today, Sleep and Breathing Disorders may be associated with deviations in Craniofacial Growth and Development. In this lecture, Dr. Ramirez will present insights into Craniofacial Growth and Development to intercept developing malocclusions in children at a very early age. He will also put in context how developing a correct structure of the mouth gives the basis for producing a better airway. Therefore, Dr. Ramirez’s lecture will give you the basis to understand how a deviation in craniofacial growth may impact the airway in children, as well as to envision the importance of a myofunctional approach when intercepting a developing malocclusion at an early age, which may be associated with a sleep and breathing disorder.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Ramirez obtained his DDS degree from Javeriana University in Colombia. He completed a Pediatric Dentistry Diploma in Mexico and trained in Orthodontics in Brazil. He completed a Master of Dental Sciences and a Ph.D. in Oral Biology in Australia. He also holds a Master’s degree focusing on Craniofacial Pain and Sleep Apnea from Tufts University, USA. Dr. Ramirez has been an academic in USA and Canada. He is a fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada and has his practice in Aurora, Ontario. Dr. Ramirez is the author of the book “Early Treatment of Malocclusions: Prevention and Interception in Primary Dentition”. He investigates Craniofacial Growth and Development, the Pathophysiology of Functional Disorders in the Cranio-Cervico-Mandibular system, and how craniofacial structures are modified by functional appliances. Dr. Ramirez advocates for prevention before treatment. In 2021, Dr. Ramirez, as an invited professor, incepted the course “Sleep Dental Medicine” in the Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry specialties at the Dental School, Loma Linda University in California.

Sheila Busch, MSN, RN, OMT-C, FNP-C

Sheila Busch, MSN, RN, OMT-C, FNP-C

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

Another Piece of the Puzzle?


We know that sleep-disordered breathing, either with or without tethered oral tissues, can affect the body. We know that lack of sleep can affect our emotional and mental well-being. But, what happens when someone has made it to adulthood without ever getting a full and restful night’s sleep? What happens to the parts of the brain that seek comfort? I hypothesize that those who do not sleep well, do not fully oxygenate their brains during sleep, and do not give their bodies time to rejuvenate during nighttime hours will seek self-destructive behaviors to mask their psychic and physical pain. They will use any means they can to disrupt the signals their brains are sending them that something is wrong. Many times, this is turning to substance use disorder to help them perform in the world. What would happen if we could get them to sleep? Would their impulse control improve? Would they be able to make decisions more logically without relying on their base instincts to feel better, or at least different? That’s what I would like to find out. This is the first step in the process to find out if sleep is truly the missing puzzle piece in mental health treatment – particularly in those with substance use disorder.

Biographical Highlights

Sheila Busch is a Family Nurse Practitioner living and working in Yavapai County, Arizona. Sheila is the owner and supervising provider of Infinity Family Wellness, a bustling family practice, a contracted provider at Cornerstone Pediatrics, and the Medical Director of a large local behavioral health company, Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare. She focuses on holistic healthcare, educating her patients about the body/mind/spirit connection. Sheila is always interested in learning how best to assist her patients in living their healthiest and happiest lives. She has been addressing tethered oral tissues throughout her career, first as an RN working in pediatrics and then expanding her knowledge as she became a Nurse Practitioner.

Milton Geivelis, DDS, MS

Milton Geivelis, DDS, MS; and
Michelle Zeglin, MA, CCC-SLP, COM®

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

Collaborate for Optimal Success


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 - Milton Geivelis, DDS, MS

Dr. Geivelis is a periodontal specialist, whose practice is limited to Periodontics, Dental Implants, and Laser Surgery. He is on staff at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, IL (Northwestern Medicine). Born in Athens, Greece, Dr. Geivelis received his dental and graduate training from Northwestern University. He has a Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree, a Master of Science Degree, and a Specialty Degree in Periodontics and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology.

From 1993 to 2001, Dr. Geivelis was a professor and director of Graduate Periodontics at Northwestern University Dental School. He trained residents in Periodontal Surgery and Dental Implants. He has been involved in academic research and has authored and co-authored several scientific articles. One of his main clinical interests is Tethered Oral Tissues (TOTs) and their effects on overall health. Dr. Geivelis lectures on Periodontics, Implants, as well as TOTs nationally and internationally. He has been given several academic and clinical awards for his work as a scientist and a Periodontist.

In the last ten years, Dr. Geivelis has dedicated a significant part of his time to treating infants, children, and adults with tongue ties and lip ties. He collaborates with some of the most well-known and skilled clinicians in these procedures. In March 2019 he completed a mini-residency in Lingual Functional Frenuloplasty (LFF) with Dr. Soroush Zaghi, in Los Angeles. He was Dr. Zaghi’s first resident. Since then he has performed 1500+ LFF procedures. Extensive therapy before and after the releases is the secret potion for his success!

Biographical Highlights - Michelle Zeglin, MA, CCC-SLP, COM®

Michelle Zeglin is a licensed Speech Language Pathologist and Certified Orofacial Myologist (COM) who has been practicing since 2006. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa, and her Master’s degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Michelle has provided therapy in a variety of clinical settings, including public and private schools, outpatient therapy settings, in-home therapy, and since 2012 in her private practice “Simply Communication”. Michelle specializes in feeding, speech, and myofunctional therapy for infants, children, and adults. Michelle just received her 8th ACE (Award for Continuing Education) Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She is a certified Buteyko Breathing practitioner and trained in The TummyTime!™ Method. She has taken countless hours of continuing education on Airway Health and Tethered Oral Tissues (TOTs) to benefit her patients before and after releases. Michelle is currently the president of the American Academy of Private Practice in Speech Pathology and Audiology (AAPPSPA).

She is a dedicated and enthusiastic professional who enjoys working with children and their families. Michelle strives to provide needed therapy and necessary education at the highest level to each patient. She values collaboration across disciplines to achieve these goals.

Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP, COM®

Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP, COM®

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

Speech and TOTs: What You Need to Know


Frena are congenital remnants of tissue that can support or restrict movement. They are dynamic structures comprised of collagen fibers and fascia (Mills, Geddes, Amirapu, & Ali- Mirjalil 2020). Ankyloglossia presents when the lingual frenulum is tethered and restricts normal movement (Baxter, 2018), or is too short, too thick, taut, or in an atypical location (Merkel-Walsh & Overland, 2020). When ankyloglossia is present, the tethering of these fibers may restrict normal tongue movement resulting in functional implications. Ankyloglossia prevalence ranges from 3% (Amir, James, & Donath, 2006) to 32.54% (de Castro Martinelli, Marchesan & Berretin-Felix, 2018).

Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) working with Speech Sound Disorders (SSDs) have reported internal and external evidence that ankyloglossia is correlated with articulation challenges, but this is often debated in evidence-based discussions. This Presentation explores 1) controversies regarding SSDs and ankyloglossia; 2) an evidence-based review of ankyloglossia and SSDs and 3) clinical implications for assessment and treatment.

Biographical Highlights

Robyn Merkel-Walsh, M.A., CCC-SLP, COM ® is a Licensed Speech Pathologist and Certified Orofacial Myologist® with over two decades of experience in the state of NJ. She is employed full-time by the Ridgefield Board of Education and runs a private practice in Ridgefield, NJ. She is a lecturer and author for TalkTools®. She has been elected NJ Kids Top Doctors in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2018. Robyn received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Montclair State University, where she was later invited to be an adjunct/clinical supervisor. She also taught classes at Bergen Community College and is a former clinical site coordinator for Seton Hall University. She is the Board Chair of the Oral Motor Institute. She is the proud recipient of three ASHA ACE Awards and the Ridgefield Woman of the Year 2019 in Business.

Robyn is a well-respected subject matter expert. Her publications include: SMILE (Systematic Intervention for Lingual Elevation), Art Talk, Handy Handouts, OPT-S Kit, and she co-authored Sensory Stix, A Sensory Motor Approach to Feeding, Functional Assessment and Remediation of Tethered Oral Tissues and OPT Goals for Speech Clarity. She has also written multiple articles for the TalkTools® website, the ASHA Leader, and Advance Magazine for Speech Pathologists. She has been published for five consecutive years at the annual convention of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association. Recently Robyn has also been published in the journals of Clinical Pediatrics and the International Journal of Orofacial Myology and Myofunctional Therapy.
Robyn is a lecturer for professional enhancement courses as part of TalkTools® Speakers Bureau and on the faculty of The Breathe Institute where she teaches ethics courses. She teaches OPT, TOTs, Tongue Thrust, and Autism classes that have been offered for ASHA CEs and has been invited to speak on diversified topics by the New Milford Board of Education, The Apraxia Network, AAPPSPA, the International Association of Orofacial Myology, Gold Learning, The American Laser Study Club and the MOSAIC Foundation.

Robyn is actively involved in parental support groups for TOTs, OPT, Childhood Apraxia of Speech, and Autism, and monitors an interactive Oral Placement Discussion Board on Facebook. Robyn was a chief clinician in a research project for the Moebius Foundation and was a clinical site supervisor for Malloy College. She is a member of ASHA, AAPPSPA, NJEA, IAOM, OMI, ICAP, and The Bergen County Apraxia Association. She served a term on the NJSHA Board of Directors and as the private practice co-chair. She was Associate Editor of the IJOM in 2020 and serves as the volunteer CE Coordinator for Marshalla Speech and Language. 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.

Eric Armakan, DDS

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

Taking the Complaints out of Compliance: Functional Frenuloplasty in the 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 the release of 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 a graduate of the Tongue Tie Academy, an Ambassador of the Breathe Institute, 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. In his free time, you can find Dr. Eric exploring the world with his wife and three daughters. You can follow him on social media @Dr.EricDMV to see what he’s up to.

Martin Kaplan, DMD

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

Treatment of Complex Frenum Cases with Medical and Genetic Comorbidity


There has been a long history of overlooking the oral frenum for eating, breathing, and body posture in many syndromes. We must add a well-educated Frenum Team of Bodyworkers, SLP/Feeding specialists, and IBCLC’s to help these children reach their potential. It’s important to discuss why intake and clinic exams are so important beyond the usual list of symptoms. The frenum and the entire birth history impacts our decisions for every case. We can and must work better with our healthcare providers, in our continuing effort to explain how needed releases impact the patient’s skeletal muscular, and fascial anatomy. Every time members must understand how the oral frenum complex affects the position of the cervical spine, hyoid larynx, and cranial vault.

Our treatments do impact the airway for breathing, swallowing, and eating. the very often positive posture improvements for food transfer, crawling, walking, delayed speech, and cranial molding assistance are often overlooked in many medical cases and especially for these more complex ones.

Many of these patients suffer from sleep-disordered breathing, reflux, and colicky symptoms and are subjected to medications and other types of support systems when a frenectomy and even a single team member may help ease a piece of the patient’s medical puzzle. Sometimes you need to look beyond the IBCLC, OMT, and even Chiropractic care for these patients as there is no breastfeeding, and there is no compliance due to physical and mental capacity. These cases do not fit the usual cookie-cutter expected ways many providers were trained. We are not alone and there are other specialists who can be Team members that we often overlook.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Kaplan earned his dental degree at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 1975. While attending dental school he became involved with the pediatric dental department and was captivated by the comprehensive nature of the program and the ability to treat the youngest of patients and direct them to better oral and physical health. Upon graduating from Tufts, he was accepted into a pediatric dental residency program at Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center where he received his certification as a pediatric dentist. Following the residency, he opened his pediatric dental practice in Stoughton, Massachusetts. In 2003, Dr. Kaplan became interested in dental lasers and became an early adopter of this new treatment modality. He became laser certified through the Academy of Laser Dentistry in 2003 and achieved his Fellowship stasis in 2013. He has been a long-time contributing member and lecturer in the academy and has been a volunteer laser instructor at Tufts Dental School in the post-graduate pediatric dental department from 2006 through 2016. In 2015 he was instrumental in developing the first in the country “Infant Laser Frenectomy” training class through the continuing education department at the dental school. The class has been attended by dentists and physicians from around the globe. Dr. Kaplan is a 45-year member of the American Dental Association, Massachusetts Dental Society, the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Academy of Laser Dentistry, the American Board of Laser Surgery, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition, Breastfeeding USA plus multiple other professional organizations. In 2016 he also became a Diplomate of the American Board of Laser Surgery and is its first-ever director of Dental Laser Surgery. Dr. Kaplan joined the American Laser Study Club at its inception in 2017 and received the Kumar Patel Award for Pediatric dental Laser Education.

Maribel Santos-Cordero, DMD

Maribel Santos-Cordero, DMD

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

Acts like a Tie but It’s Not a Tie – the Importance of Proper Diagnosis of Tethered Oral Tissues


In the last few years, there has been an increased awareness of the relationship between tethered oral tissues and functional deficits in the areas of speech, feeding, and sleep. Release providers are often met with resistance from the medical community claiming these procedures provide no benefit to the patient, are overdiagnosed, and unnecessarily performed.

As this field keeps evolving based on new research, it is necessary to have a systematic approach to properly assess restrictions that may be affecting function and rule out other conditions that may mimic these symptoms to avoid misdiagnosis. Our ultimate goal should be to provide our patients with the most precise and conservative treatment to address their needs and thrive in life.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Maribel Santos-Cordero was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She earned a DMD degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine with high honors and has been practicing dentistry since 1994. Dr. Santos-Cordero completed her residency program in Pediatric Dentistry at The Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, NY. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a Fellow of the American Laser Study Club, and a member in good standing of the Academy of Laser Dentistry, the International Affiliation of Tongue-Tie Professionals, the International Consortium of Ankylofrenula Professionals, and the American Dental Association. A proud Affiliate of The Breathe Institute, Dr. Santos has also completed a certification in oral myology and a Pediatric Dental Sleep Medicine residency at Tufts School of Dental Medicine.

Her personal journey and relentless pursuit to find solutions to her son’s struggles pushed her down the path of specializing in the treatment of tethered-oral-tissues and dental sleep medicine. She now cannot unsee these issues in her own patients and considers it her mission to create awareness of the potential health problems in children with sleep-related breathing disorders and lip & tongue-ties. She engages in a team approach with other healthcare professionals to provide her patients with treatment options that will help them thrive. She has earned privileges to practice dental surgery at the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL, and has been on staff since 2002.

Justin Welke, DDS

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

Smile Design and More with a CO2 Surgical Laser


“Laser Smile Design” is a new concept that involves using the CO2 laser to “resurface” the gingiva. This resurfacing reduces the appearance of puffy, inflamed gums. Laser Smile Design has the potential to impact gingival contouring in a way that would provide the patient with an easy and quick improvement to the aesthetics of their smile.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Justin Welke is a board-certified pediatric dentist who owns and operates multiple pediatric and orthodontic offices in the Chicago land area, including The Chicago Tongue-Tie Center. He has been a part-time clinical faculty member for 5 years and is currently at Midwestern University.

Karen M. Wuertz, DDS, ABCDSM, DABLS, FOM

Karen M. Wuertz, DDS, ABCDSM, FOM

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

Making a Difference: Changing Lives, One Airway at a Time™


Dental Sleep Medicine (DSM) is a contemporary topic of considerable interest to dentists, for which the education has been mostly post-graduation continuing education courses and academy meetings. Dental Sleep Medicine education at the pre-doctoral level in the US in dentistry schools shows a slow trend upward; however, the average hours are not enough to qualify as more than an introduction.

To date, there are not yet any formal US pre-doctoral educational accreditation standards in Dental Sleep Medicine for DDS programs. Yet a steady yearly increase in the memberships of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, and The American Academy of Physiological Medicine & Dentistry demonstrate that Dental Sleep Medicine is an evolving and vital part of everyday dentistry. The American Dental Association (ADA) acknowledges dentists’ role as essential in the multidisciplinary care of patients with certain Sleep Related Breathing Disorders (SRBD) and that they are well-positioned to identify patients at higher risk of SRBDs and associated risk factors.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Karen has made it her mission to be on the cutting edge of dentistry and all the newest options available. With over 30 years of private practice clinical experience, she is passionate when sharing her knowledge in the fields of Dental Sleep Medicine, Oral Restrictions, Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, and Laser Therapy.

She is an Associate Professor & Group Practice Director at the UTH Houston, School of Dentistry, a Qualified Dentist with the AADSM and serves on the Academic Council Steering and Mastery Program Education Committees. She maintains Diplomate status in Dental Sleep Medicine with the American Board of Craniofacial Dental Sleep Medicine, American Board of Laser Surgery, and a Fellowship in Craniofacial Pain/TMD in the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain.

Her professional accomplishments include a Doctorate of Dental Surgery, from UT San Antonio Health Science Center Dental School, in 1992 and a General Practice Residency, at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri, in 1993.


Elizabeth R. Dy, DMD

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

Tying It Together Before Release: Implementation of a Collaborative Approach


This presentation will review the creation of your wellness team, case selection, interdisciplinary collaboration, phasing of treatment, and modalities of co-therapy.

Biographical Highlights

Dr. Elizabeth R. Dy is an experienced and compassionate dentist who offers comprehensive, high-quality gentle dental care in her state-of-the-art practice.

Dr. Dy completed her Doctor of Dental Medicine Degree at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 2011. She is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry, American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, and Academy of Laser Dentistry.

Dr. Dy and her team are proud of the warm patient-friendly environment they have created and of the lifelong relationships they have built with multi-generational families in the area. Dr. Dy welcomes patients of all ages and looks forward to meeting you and offering you the professional, caring, and pain-free oral health care that you deserve.

Dr. Dy resides in Odessa with her husband, Darryl, and their two boys, Mateo (5) and Cristiano (1). When not in the office, Dr. Dy enjoys cooking, grilling, spending time with her family, supporting her husband in his Ironman triathlons, and pursuing her own health and wellness goals.

Shervin Yazdi, DDS

Shervin Yazdi, DDS

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

55 Reasons Parents Choose to Release Their Infant’s Lip Ties


When a lip frenum is considered restricted or a tethered oral tissue, and becomes implicated for its contribution to functional problems, it becomes subject to surgical revision. The various possible functional issues that lip ties can produce number in the dozens. 55 of such problems attributed to lip ties are set forth. They are organized in 12 categories and discussed. These functional problem categories are: breastfeeding, colic, orthodontic, speech, eating solids, oral hygiene, growth and development, esthetics, social, trauma, ease of care, and access to care.

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, a Doctor of Dental Surgery at UCLA in 1994, and a Pediatric Dentistry residency at UCLA in 1996. He has been practicing pediatric dentistry for the past 24 years in Northern California.

Dr. Yazdi has kept his passion alive for soft tissue surgery due to the clear functional benefits it provides his patients. He attends national and international conferences learning from other providers the essentials of the functional effectiveness and safety your family deserves. 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 20 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 built from scratch 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 19, 2023


Soroush Zaghi, MD

Keynote Sunday, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Dr. Zaghi’s Annual ALSC Update: Where We Are…. And Where We Are Going!


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 2023 premier gathering of airway-focused practitioners, laser surgeons, and dentists at the American Laser Study Club (ALSC) 6th Annual Symposium, themed Breathe and Thrive. The 2023 Symposium will be held February 17-19, 2023 at the Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX.

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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