Q&A with M. Ilhan Uzel, DMD, DSc,

Mercer Center for Implants and Periodontics at Princeton

Interview by Laurie Pellichero

Where is your practice located, and what is your specialty?

Mercer Center for Implants and Periodontics at Princeton is in a unique, environmentally friendly building at 601 Ewing Street, Suite B-15. I am the only board-certified periodontist and implant surgeon practicing in Princeton in a specialty practice setting. I have more than 30 years of clinical experience and have served as a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and Implant Surgery since 2006, and recently I was successfully recertified by the American Board of Periodontology. We are proud to be part of the Princeton community. We serve patients from the greater Central New Jersey area, as well as Philadelphia and New York City. We also have patients flying in from Texas and the United Kingdom for treatment.

What is your professional background?

I come from a dentistry family; my father and brother are orthodontists. Along with a DMD, I earned a Doctor of Science in Oral Biology and taught at Boston University and the University of Pennsylvania. I have always been very committed to education, as a scientist on bone, connective tissue, and cancer cells; an author of scientific articles and book chapters; a teacher for 11 years to many successful dentists and periodontists for periodontal and implant surgical treatment; and as a clinician for 30 years who has performed more than 10,000 procedures and served more than 5,000 patients. My unique scientific background and extensive clinical experience direct my treatment approach for the best possible care and outcomes for our patients, using less invasive techniques with lifelong and comfortable results.

What services do you provide?

Our practice offers a variety of cutting-edge treatment services to help our patients achieve optimal oral health, including dental implant placement, bone grafting, sinus augmentation, and tooth extraction. Periodontal treatments include scaling and root planning (deep cleaning), pocket elimination surgery, microsurgery, gum grafts, esthetic gum surgery, and more. We use state-of-the-art equipment, premium products, and the latest technology to provide minimum patient discomfort and maximum results. We listen to our patients and hear what they have to say, and customize their treatment based on their individual needs and comfort level. We also collaborate with many area dentists to provide a seamless continuum of patient care.

We feature the most up-to-date machinery for scanning and imagery including 3-D dental cone beam computed tomography (CBCT). This advanced imaging machine allows us to virtually evaluate three-dimensional images of our patients’ teeth, soft tissues, nerve pathways, and bones — so our diagnostic ability is significantly enhanced. In addition, the radiation exposure is low with our CBCT machine. We also use a digital dental scanner that generates digital impressions, which allows the creation of a virtual, computer-generated replica of the hard and soft tissues in the mouth. The digital technology captures a clear and highly accurate impression in minutes, without the need for the traditional impression materials that some patients find inconvenient and messy. We also use a computer-assisted system for applying local anesthesia, which patients find is more pleasant and comfortable than traditional injections, with a slow release and no long needles.

What should someone do if they are concerned about the health of their gums?

Periodontal/gum disease is a chronic condition that is caused by certain kinds of bacteria/plaque that live in the mouth. Periodontitis is the more advanced form. Periodontal disease causes more tooth loss/extractions compared to cavities. In addition, the prevalence of periodontal disease, according to findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is 50 percent among Americans aged 30 or older. Since it is a chronic condition it occurs over a longer time, patients who have periodontitis may not always feel discomfort. Smokers have periodontitis frequently, and it is directly associated with diabetes and may be contributory to heart disease. Periodontitis may also be associated with bleeding gums and/or bad breath. People who are concerned about their gums should take action before final symptoms like pain or swelling occur. A good way of doing it is by getting routine dental checkups done with their general dentists. Typically, general dentists refer their patients for periodontal treatment to a periodontist, ideally to a board-certified one. Meanwhile, patients can take the initiative themselves and simply contact us at Mercer Center for Implants and Periodontics at Princeton to get a periodontal/gum evaluation if they have bleeding gums, bad breath, missing teeth, and gum recessions.

What is your office environment like?

We have an amazing team that aims to reduce stress levels for our patients prior to our clinical work and makes every effort to create a comfortable, relaxed environment in our office. Our high-tech practice coexists with lush greenery inside a converted warehouse, and each procedure room has a large window and is bathed in light. Our hygienists Tara and Toni, along with assistants Anne, Heather, and Deana, and Joy at the front desk, all provide a professional, welcoming setting for providing the very best care. In addition, the combination of my precise and prudent clinical work and the advanced technology and materials I use reduces trauma significantly, so there is minimal discomfort during the healing period. Personally, I put myself in my patients’ shoes and treat everybody the best way possible before, during, and after a procedure — all with a caring, gentle touch.

For more information, or to make an appointment, call 609.212.2140 or visit mercerimplantperio.com.