All About Alumni: Writing the Book on Dental Tech

Dr. John Graeber

As a six-year-old visiting the dentist, RSDM alumnus Dr. John Graeber was fascinated by the chairside gear and machinery.

“I was amazed by the hardware of the office,’’ remembers Dr. Graeber, Class of ‘72. “I’ve probably always been a techie.”

His love of technology inspired him to write a textbook on the subject. “Microinvasive Dentistry: Clinical Strategies and Tools” focuses on newer ways of diagnosing and treating so-called “virgin caries,’’ small lesions in tooth fissures and cracks that can be hard to detect.

For many years, Dr. Graeber has been a proponent of using lasers, air abrasion devices and other technology as an alternative to lower-tech methods that can cause pain and discomfort. “If you can change the patient experience by using technology we can change the notion of fear of the dentist,’’ says Dr. Graeber.

To that end, his East Hanover practice touts “soft touch laser dentistry,’’ which, he promises, is “as gentle as dentistry gets.’’

“The two things that people want to avoid most are the shot and the drill. I’m able to achieve that, much to their amazement,’’ Dr. Graeber explains. “They say, ‘I didn’t feel a thing.’’’

He believes that the profession of dentistry has been slow to catch up to technological advances within the field. But he has good memories of attending dental school in 1972, when RSDM was known as the New Jersey Dental School.

“It was the only school in my lifetime that I loved,’’ he says. “It was the first time I felt respected as a student. My previous experiences in grammar school, high school and college were negative, as far as do what I say and don’t question. But this was different.’’

These days, Dr. Graeber is winding down professionally but still remains active. He’ll be selling his practice but staying on as an employee. And he still plans on travelling internationally to train others on the use of diode lasers, which can work for any oral soft tissue procedure. He’s been doing this for 26 years and describes it as a calling. “I’m spreading the gospel among my own kind,’’ he says with a laugh.