665a3531b326d78e7272cf9e Crp Judy Carroll

RDH Clinical Recognition Program: Judy Carroll, RDH: Regenerative periodontal endoscopy pioneer

June 6, 2024
The RDH Clinical Recognition Program features a clinician who goes the extra mile in their job. This month Judy Carroll is honored for her pioneering work with regenerative periodontal endoscopy.

In 2005, Judy Carroll, RDH, left the comfort and financial security of working in two busy periodontal specialty practices to start her own periodontal therapy clinic near Seattle, Washington. At PerioPeak Innovations, Judy specializes in regenerative periodontal endoscopy and comprehensive periodontal medicine. By opening her own clinic, Judy has been able to push the envelope and pioneer several highly effective methodologies in oral-systemic medicine and regenerative periodontal therapy. 

 “This never could have happened had I stayed in the safety of routine employment with periodontists,” she said. “The resistance was too strong. In my heart, I wanted patients to have an alternative option to surgery and extractions. I wanted to be able to provide comprehensive care on a level no one else was offering. I also intuitively knew that hopeless teeth could be saved and that there was a better way.” 

Regenerative periodontal endoscopy

Judy pioneered a technique called regenerative periodontal endoscopy (RPE). She has treated thousands of patients who were facing extractions and surgery, many of whom were told they needed full-mouth extractions. Her patients travel from all over the world for this treatment. Judy orders comprehensive blood and salivary labs prior to performing treatment. She corrects all modifiable risk factors before initiating treatment in order to enhance clinical results. In addition to saving teeth, Judy has saved lives by correcting serious undiagnosed risk factors such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, thyroid disease, obstructive sleep apnea, deficiencies, and oxidative stress.

Fighting for her profession 

In 2013, Judy won a grueling lawsuit defending her right as a hygienist to provide this care. In doing so, she set the precedent for scope of practice in Washington State. The prosecutor wanted to change the law in Washington State to prevent hygienists and general practitioners from treating advanced perio. They chose to use Judy’s practice to argue for this change.  

Although it cost Judy $50,000 to defend her profession and the right of general practitioners to provide treatment options for severe perio, she says this was her “defining moment.” She knew in her heart that she could not let them win. “I took the lead role in my defense after my attorney told me to give up. I had many patients testify directly about their results with RPE and how life-changing it was for them. Many were quite emotional. Since then, I have treated thousands of patients who otherwise would not have had this option.” Judy’s courage and perseverance has helped raise the bar in the dental hygiene profession. 

Judy is also engrossed in the development of an affordable, more advanced endoscope with medical equipment engineers. She hopes that her investment of time and money in this project will ultimately result in all hygienists owning an endoscope and providing this valuable service to their patients.  

When asked what she enjoys most about clinical hygiene, Judy responded, “I love all things advanced periodontal therapy and medicine! I love performing endoscopic regenerative procedures on hopeless cases and using my critical-thinking skills to find the answers to puzzling cases. These have become my specialty. I also really love documenting case studies and teaching with them. I love connecting with my patients and caring very compassionately for them every step of the way.”  

Judy’s professional guidance for new dental hygiene graduates

“I would advise new grads to gain as much periodontal specialty clinical experience as they can. I would also advise them to consider shadowing someone performing regenerative endoscopy and periodontal medicine, and focus on courses and research that educate about the science of host response (the main cause of perio pathogenesis). My endoscope has taught me so much more than any other tool in my career. There is no better teacher. I would advise new grads to try to work with endoscopes as much as possible.” 

Connect with Judy at periopeak.com and facebook.com/periopeak/.

Editor's note: This article appeared in the June 2024 print edition of RDH magazine. Dental hygienists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.