By Ann-Marie DePalma, RDH, MEd, FADIA, FAADH
For decades, dental professionals have been following the same philosophy and methodology for treating periodontal disease. They learn that bacteria are the cause of periodontal disease, and at a certain stage of bone loss, patients are referred to a periodontist or considered hopeless and in need of extractions. The overall education of periodontal pathogenesis and how dental professionals approach treatment have changed very little during the last 50 years. The main focus has been on topical, mechanical treatments for a serious medical disease that involves the entire host.
With today’s new minimally invasive regenerative procedures and a definitive exploration of risk factors, combined with more effective treatment strategies that involve modifying the host response, many hopeless periodontal patients are given an excellent prognosis without surgery or extractions. Are you ready to update your skills with new theories about periodontal disease? Judy Carroll, RDH, has developed a program titled “A New Era in Periodontal Therapy” that discusses the current and future state of nonsurgical periodontal therapy.
Judy’s program challenges participants to review the step-by-step process available to achieve nonsurgical bone regeneration and remission of advanced stage periodontal disease. The program focuses on all aspects of the disease etiology and treatment process in a fun, comprehensive, and rewarding way. Although the presentation incorporates the use of the dental endoscope, participants don’t need to use the endoscope to gain valuable information. Her program empowers professionals to connect the dots and educate patients in a new way that results in better patient treatment acceptance and long-term outcomes.
Participants in Judy’s course learn a new paradigm for treating all stages of periodontal disease that will help patients avoid surgery or extractions. They learn this by investigating:
- Host-modulated therapy
- Systemic piezo root instrumentation
- Innovative methods in periodontal endoscopy
- Regenerative proteins and salivary diagnostics
- Integrative care and functional medicine
Hygienists are the indispensable periodontal specialists in any practice. Participating in Judy’s program allows hygienists to become more efficient and knowledgeable about periodontal disease and thus increase production, improve career satisfaction, and ignite a passion for their profession. Judy encourages the entire team to participate since critical thinking skills, overall team understanding of the process, and verbal skills are taught.
Judy’s presentation style reflects her many experiences, knowledge, and energy as she presents a “no stone unturned” approach to comprehensive periodontal therapy. Having seen the possibilities firsthand, she encourages participants to ask questions during the program. Her handouts include a list of laboratory tests that can be discussed with a patient’s physician, important information about host-modulated therapy for better patient compliance, a list of piezo tips and units to consider for use, nutritional and supplement information, and questions to assist in patient risk assessment analysis.
Judy began her career in dental hygiene after graduating from Shoreline Community College in 1990. She began her comprehensive clinical experience by splitting her time between a full-mouth rehab dental practice and several periodontal specialty practices. After becoming certified in periodontal endoscopy in 2000, she opened her independent periodontal therapy practice, PerioPeak Innovations, in 2001, and her patients come from all over the world. Judy’s education is focused solely on periodontal medicine to enhance her understanding and treatment of the host response. During the last 17 years she has limited her clinical practice to regenerative periodontal endoscopy (RPE) methodology. She has documented thousands of full-mouth periodontal cases that have enhanced her understanding of the disease and host response through observational hands-on research. Her endoscopic protocols have been successful in treating all stages of periodontitis, many of which were considered hopeless.
Judy is excited to share her vision of managing disease with others while engaging in critical thinking skills and providing comprehensive integrative care. As a lifelong learner, Judy has attended many medical and dental programs and has educated herself on nutrition, microbiology, epigenetics, and integrative medicine. She is interested in all aspects of total health and gaining a better understanding of all inflammatory diseases, how they are connected to periodontal diseases, and how to treat and prevent them.
She enjoys spending time outdoors connecting with the natural world through hiking, camping, scuba diving, and snorkeling. She enjoys teaching her 18-year-old son what’s important in life - values, respect, joy, kindness, integrity, and the pursuit of excellence. Judy has been an ADHA member for over 15 years and is concerned about the “dumbing down” of hygienists. She’s troubled by dentists who view hygienists as simply “tooth scrapers/polishers,” and the grave injustice this mentality does to the millions of patients who need their hygienists to be more engaged in their practice as outlined by the ADHA Standards of Practice.
Judy would love to see hygienists as the “internists” of dentistry. She feels that dental hygienists are the most important players in comprehensive health care and would like general dentists and periodontists to support them in this vital role. She has fought hard to see this in Washington State. One of her greatest accomplishments was winning a grueling lawsuit brought by the Washington State Dental Department and initiated by periodontists in California and Washington. Judy was treated disrespectfully by the state for over two years, and after a two-day intensive trial with expert witnesses and direct patient testimonials, the judge handed down a decision within six weeks in favor of Judy, her regenerative periodontal therapy protocols, and the comprehensive level of care provided by PerioPeak Innovations.
As difficult as the case was, it set a precedent for future periodontal therapists in Washington by establishing and clarifying the laws in the scope of practice, hygiene diagnosis and treatment planning, advertising, DNA and medical testing, treating advanced periodontitis in the general practice, regenerative proteins and host-modulated therapy in dental hygiene care, and working as an independent contractor in dental hygiene using the dental endoscope. Being an entrepreneur and directing and owning PerioPeak Innovations has allowed Judy the freedom, income, fulfillment, and autonomy that she appreciates. She feels lucky to be able to help advanced periodontal cases from around the world with her regenerative periodontal therapies in a nonsurgical manner. Judy treats her patients holistically by helping them discover the cause and systemic effects of inflammatory diseases.
If she were not a hygienist, Judy would be either a medical doctor specializing in internal medicine or a park ranger. She describes herself as persistent, compassionate, and inquisitive about people, animals, and nature. She realizes the importance of sharing her knowledge with other dental professionals. After participating in her programs, Judy’s audiences have a new way of looking at periodontal therapy methodology and regenerative techniques that enable them to provide total comprehensive care for their patients while promoting career satisfaction.
For more information on Judy or her programs, contact [email protected].
Thought for the month: “You may not appreciate the presence of good health, but you will definitely regret the absence of good health, because health is happiness.” - Amit Kalantri RDH
ANN-MARIE C. DEPALMA, RDH, MEd, FADIA, FAADH, is the 2017 recipient of the Esther M. Wilkins Distinguished Alumni Award of the Forsyth School for Dental Hygiene/Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene and the Association of Dental Implant Auxiliaries, as well as a continuous member of ADHA. She presents continuing education programs for dental team members on a variety of topics. Ann-Marie has authored chapters in several texts for dental hygiene. She can be reached at [email protected].