Gum problems are a lot more than uncomfortable. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and point to a chronic disease. Don’t leave it untreated: see the professionals at the Center for Contemporary Periodontics and Dental Implants.

When caught early, gum disease is somewhat easier to handle. Pain, bleeding, and even bad breath are the most common symptoms. And although dentists screen for gum issues, that only helps those who go to the dentist on a regular basis.

“People experience some discomfort, sometimes don’t want to go to the dentist, and then just get used to it,” explained M. Ilhan Uzel, DMD. “It’s akin to gaining a few pounds over time; it becomes the new normal. But gum disease needs treatment. If you haven’t had a check-up for years, come see us.”

The team of periodontists at the Center for Contemporary Periodontics and Dental Implants treats gum disease in phases. In the early stages, some good deep cleaning may do the trick, or minor gum surgical procedures may be required.

“Long-term success depends on the patient’s compliance,” he noted. “Like any other chronic illness, you’ll need to come back for regular check-ups, as you would for high blood pressure or diabetes.”

Patients experiencing more severe symptoms such as infections or a swollen face usually require tooth extraction and implants.

“If the disease has progressed, that is our best option,” Dr. Uzel said. “Once the infection is gone, we’ll need to replace those teeth so the patient can eat — and smile. Surgery isn’t scary: it’s very effective. However, these are more costly procedures, which is why I urge you to have any concerns examined early.”

Dr. Uzel also recommends everyone see a primary dentist regularly and to make sure the dentist is screening for gum disease.

“We all should be advocates for our dental health just as we are for our general health,” he added. “It’s a safety mechanism, like when you see a mole on your hand; it’s worth asking about and checking.”

In some cases, being an advocate for dental health is putting a watchful eye on other chronic illnesses. There is a strong association between diabetes and gum disease. Dr. Uzel says a diabetic may develop gum disease faster, or sometimes the periodontist suspects diabetes because the gum disease is so extreme. Again, regular check-ups are key.

The Center for Contemporary Periodontics and Dental Implants, 34 Franklin Corner Road, Lawrenceville. 609-883-6900. Fax: 609-883-2785.

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