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Why I Chose to Teach: IALD Instructors Share Their Motivations for Training New LANAP Clinicians

By John Calderon on January 9, 2019 in LANAP Protocol, Laser Dentistry, Training

With over 50 Certified Instructors comprising the faculty of the Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry (IALD), the clinical LANAP Training Continuum is a world-class education experience that incorporates laser physics, periodontics and occlusion in a hands-on, live patient environment. LANAP clinicians called it one of the best continuing education experiences of their careers, and invaluable to becoming effective providers of the revolutionary LANAP and LAPIP protocols.

But what makes someone take the leap from being a benefactor of the best-in-dentistry training to someone who teaches it themselves? Below are the top five reasons why IALD Instructors decided teaching the LANAP protocol was a good decision, passing the gift of knowledge along to other curious, forward-thinking clinicians.

Spreading the word

Across the board, IALD Instructors were consisten­t in expressing their desire to spread the word about LANAP protocol as a progressive and patient friendly treatment to other clinicians. After seeing results themselves, their chief motivation became sharing it with other like-minded (and sometimes skeptical) doctors to provide the best standard of patient care.

“Four years after being trained in the LANAP protocol, I felt it was the greatest thing in perio since I don’t know what,” said Lloyd Tilt, DDS, MS, a 20-year veteran of the IALD Instructor faculty. “I felt much better about the care I was giving my patients — it was something I’d do for myself if I were to need treatment, so that’s why I decided to become an instructor.”

“After seeing the successes for the patients and myself with the LANAP protocol, I figured it was about time that I help others understand what I was doing and get them on the road to success, as well,” added Instructor Charles Braga, DMD, MMSc.

The thirst for more knowledge

Any LANAP clinician can tell you that the desire to learn more does not end after leaving training, even though it is an exhaustive five day process. Continuous insight from peers and experts  helps  to refine techniques and avoid bad habits. As an instructor, this insight is amplified!  Instructors attending trainings have the opportunity to hear other instructors share their tips and advice, as well as think about their own approach when asked questions by students.

“I had a curiosity to learn even more about the technique. I always learn something when I’m instructing — you get Continuing Education credits being an instructor, and there’s a reason for that,” said Instructor Yetta McCullom, DDS, MS. “Every time you come out here, you’re interacting with like-minded people and maybe those who are more skeptical, but you’re learning something new about periodontics.”

“People ask me questions, they prompt me to think about different things that I’m doing in my practice, and I’ve been very excited about that,” added Instructor Kirk Noraian, DDS, MS.  “When I have a chance to hear the other instructors, everybody’s experience is unique and what happens is that they may have a tip that might make my job easier or make me think about things differently.”

Learning the art of teaching

Knowing the concepts of a procedure, technology or science and teaching it in a comprehensible way are two different things, which is why a standardized curriculum is a cornerstone of the IALD’s approach to education. Another reason for teaching the LANAP protocol  was to learn how to teach in the first place.

“If you’re going to teach, it’s important that you have consistent quality. The calibration of the doctors at the IALD is significant and unique,” said Dr. Braga. “It’s incredibly important to be on the same page and convey how to use the technology in a uniform matter, and we certainly do so.”

“We went through a presentation training — how to relay the information, how to engage your audience. That’s not something you necessarily learn in dental school,” added Instructor Pinelopi Xenoudi, DDS, MS. “Becoming a more effective educator is crucial. I personally liked the challenge of taking something that is perceived as boring, like physics, and making it tangible, applicable and fun.”

Building a sense of community

It would be fair to say that LANAP clinicians consider themselves an elite class of dental practitioners — not out of a sense of arrogance, but because they view going through the intensive training as a badge of honor that demonstrates their commitment to patient care and the advancement of the field. This fosters a sense of community that helps LANAP clinicians — instructors included — share their wins and struggles with each other, as well as brainstorming on how to publicize the successes of the LANAP protocol on a broader scale.

“I get to meet 15-20 new doctors every month from all over the world, and these are doctors who are looking forward in their profession and to providing more compassionate care for their patients,” said Dr. Tilt.

“I enjoy the fellowship with my colleagues and seeing them learn a new technology that improves their ability to take care of their patients,” added Instructor Todd McCracken, DDS.
“It’s almost like a fraternity in a way.”

Giving back

Another common thread among instructors is the sense of gratitude they felt for being exposed to the intricacies of the LANAP protocol, and being able to harness that power to improve their practices and patients’ lives for the better. One such basis for teaching the LANAP protocol is because it seemed like a logical step to continue that cycle for generations of dental clinicians to come.

“After getting the opportunity to become an instructor, I thought, ‘how could I not share this information — and learn to share this information — with others?'” said Instructor Suresh Goel, DDS, MSD. “Out of all the things I’ve done, it’s probably one of the most rewarding. The information exchange is tremendous.”

“I’ve been so privileged with the opportunity to learn from some of the foremost leaders in laser education, I thought, how can I honor those people?” added Dr. Noraian. “They’ve taught me so much and taken my phone calls, I felt this was the best way to give back and promote laser education, specifically how to treat patients better.”

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 Want to learn even more about the world-class IALD training for the LANAP protocol? Check out our behind-the-scenes blog.

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