A Q & A With Drs. Cerisa & Max Moncayo

Dr. Cerisa Moncayo of The Palisades Dentists, and her husband, Dr. Max Moncayo of Palisades Surgical Arts, are dedicated to providing compassionate and specialized care with state-of-the-art technology to all their dental and oral surgery patients. This dynamic couple—who are proud Navy veterans—are also happy to be living and working in the vibrant Palisades community.

Dr. Cerisa Moncayo is a general and family dentist who treats patients of all ages. She graduated from Stanford University and the USC School of Dentistry.

Dr. Max Moncayo is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a board-certified dental anesthesiologist who specializes in all aspects of oral surgery, including, but not limited to, dental implants, extractions, bone grafting, and gum surgery. He graduated from the UCLA School of Dentistry, where he teaches residents, and he completed his medical and surgical training at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Q: How would you describe the set-up of your practices?

MM: Our practices are two separate entities—The Palisades Dentists is a general/cosmetic dentistry practice, and Palisades Surgical Arts is an oral surgery practice. We are in adjoining suites, and our general dentistry patients appreciate not having to go elsewhere for their specialty needs. However, for the patients who are referred to Palisades Surgical Arts from other dentists, we make sure to take care of their surgical needs and have them return to their general dentists. 

Q: What is biomimetic dentistry?

CM: It is basically an approach that strives to restore teeth to their natural function, strength and esthetics, while being as conservative and preservative as possible. We are dedicated to addressing a defect by only targeting the defect (such as a cavity/fracture) and using bonded dentistry/adhesives to restore the tooth. Traditional dentistry tends to put full crowns over teeth, but this may be unnecessary at times. 

Q: What is the PerioLase MVP-7 laser? How can this help patients?

MM: The PerioLase is a laser that has the first—and only—FDA clearance for True Regeneration—this means that it can regenerate, or grow back, the supporting tissues of a tooth (periodontal attachment) on a previously diseased tooth or implant. Gum disease and peri-implantitis (infection and inflammation around a dental implant) are prevalent, and we’re seeing this in both of our practices. The PerioLase can perform a variety of procedures, but the Laser Assisted New Attachment Protocol and the Laser Assisted Regeneration are most valuable, because they will allow us to save our patients’ teeth and implants. 

Q: What should a patient seek in an oral health care provider? 

CM: When searching for any health care provider, patients should seek out professionals who adhere to high standards. If patients desire high-quality, thorough and attentive dental care, they should understand that their treatment may be a process—thorough planning, diagnosis and proper treatment take time, especially when surgery is involved. The most important things for patients to seek in any dentist or surgeon are comfort and empowerment. Patients need providers who explain things, and who are open to answering questions, so that they understand their treatment. Patients also must be presented with options, so that they are able to make informed decisions about their dental health. They also should evaluate if their providers are striving for long-term solutions or putting temporary “band-aids” on issues. All patients need to feel safe, happy and cared for by their health care providers.

Q: What do you enjoy most about practicing dentistry and oral surgery?

MM: The technical aspects are always enjoyable, especially since dentistry and surgery are truly hybrids of art and science. What is most enjoyable and rewarding, however, is that we get to positively impact—and often transform—our patients’ lives. The stories that we hear from our patients have driven us to tears at times—just knowing that our time and dedication go toward improving some aspect of the health and life of each patient is truly rewarding. 

Q: When you are not working, what other activities do you enjoy?

CM: Since we spend a lot of time working, we enjoy spending time relaxing at home or taking our chocolate lab, Moose, for a nice walk or a hike around the Palisades.

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Cerisa Moncayo at 310.459.2303 or Dr. Max Moncayo at 310.459.0014.

Visit The Palisades Dentists and Palisades Surgical Arts at 881 Alma Real Drive, Suites T2 + T4, in Pacific Palisades. For additional information, visit ThePaliDentists.com and PaliSurgicalArts.com.