Attending to teeth and gums is not just for kids: it’s especially important for older adults because good dental care may have an impact on overall health and wellness.

According to Laurence G. Chacker, DMD, eating properly, exercising, and taking medications as prescribed are important factors. However, unresolved oral issues may worsen some chronic illnesses.

“Periodontal disease can impact heart issues, diabetes, and asthma,” he said. “Bacteria from dental concerns can set up an inflammatory process and become a ‘modifier’ like smoking, poor diet, or lack of exercise. For example, plaque can break off and move into the heart, which could result in an artery blockage, stroke, or heart attack.”

Even something seemingly simple, like gingivitis, can go from superficial gum inflammation to periodontal disease, which means it has moved into the bone. This happens when bacteria sneaks its way past the teeth and gums and into the bone for a myriad of reasons, including less than stellar oral hygiene, poor diet, lack of sleep, vitamin deficiencies, even hormonal issues.

“All that sets up inflammation, so the body mounts a wound-healing response. This low-level immune response is not good at any age, but particularly in seniors and the elderly,” Dr. Chacker explained.

He also has another important message for those over 65: dental care has changed and is no longer “when it doubt, pull it out” as it might have been in their youth. Dr. Chacker was trained to be a health provider, not just fix teeth. He seeks a functional treatment with good cosmetic results.

“When dentures or replacement teeth are the best solution, we work with CAT scan-guided surgical placement for a great fit,” Dr. Chacker added. “We mock-up the implants online and decide if the patient is a good candidate given bone density and medical history. When it’s a go, the manufacturer creates a surgical guide for the implants so I can place them at the right depth and angle. The results are amazing.”

The Center for Contemporary Periodontics and Dental Implants sees patients as young as teenagers and on into their 90s. Dr. Chacker credits his great support staff for handling customer service and the office management so he doesn’t have to “sweat the small stuff” and can handle his job: providing exceptional dentistry to patients of all ages.

“We give patients our best every day,” he noted. “And we respect that trust.”

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

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