State Board of Dentistry Report – November 20, 2021

Chairperson Dr. Lugo welcomed attendees. Special welcome was made for Mr. Wyant, the new designee from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Mr. Wyant is the public health program director for DOH. The minutes were approved with minor amendments to correct misspellings.

Prosecutorial Report

The board waived the prosecutorial report. One case was openly discussed involving a dentist found guilty of Medicaid fraud in Ohio that had allowed his Pennsylvania license to lapse before reactivating it in 2019. He has a long history of Medicaid fraud in other states, and his license is already under suspension as a result.

Financial Report

Michelle Witmer from the Bureau of Finance and Operations presented the board’s financial position. Ninety-eight percent of the board’s operating income is derived from renewal and application fees. With the proposed increase in fees upcoming, Ms. Witmer projects that the SBOD should be operating with a net profit again in the 2024–25 biennial budget.

Hygienist Use of Lasers

Dr. Keith Brewster, who is a Fellow in the Academy of Laser Dentistry, presented on the subject of lasers use for hygienists. The presenter reiterated that use of lasers does not expand the scope of hygienist practice, but instead allows for already existing hygiene care using lasers under dentist supervision. The presenter recommended any regulations or policy statements to reference American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards for laser use in a dental office, as the standards can easily be changed as technology changes without requiring regulatory change.

Depending on the wavelength used and based on careful case selection, the presenter characterized laser use as mostly noninvasive. The presenter recommended the following potential steps for laser hygiene treatment:

  1. Preoperative photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy
  2. Anesthesia as needed
  3. Probe to reconfirm pocket depth and architecture
  4. Ultrasonic scaling with antimicrobial agent
  5. Light hand instrumentation as needed
  6. Irrigation and flushing of periodontal pocket with ultrasonic and water
  7. Periodontal pocket decontamination laser therapy
  8. Placing debrided and treated tissue in close proximity to the root structures
  9. Post-op instructions and documentation
  10. Post-operative PBM therapy

In addition, the presenter recommended PBM for helping the healing process via antimicrobial therapy. Dr. Matta recommended that the Scope of Practice Committee review and recommend a response to this presentation.

Status of Regulations

The approved licensing fee increases are set for final publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin in March 2022. They are not slated to take effect until 2023.


With the expiration of Dr. Lugo’s term as Chair and Ms. Hart-Hughes term as Secretary, the board conducted elections. Dr. Casey was nominated for Chair by Dr. Matta, and Dr. Unis-Sullivan was nominated for Chair by Dr. Mountain. Dr. Casey received the most votes for Chair. Dr. Unis Sullivan was subsequently approved as Secretary.