Ancient Beeswax Filling

The World’s Oldest Dental Filling… From Beeswax?

The discovery of a 6,500-year-old piece of beeswax shines new light on ancient dentistry.

When you think about fillings, more times than not, the last thing to come to mind is beeswax (unless Dr. Heller is telling you one of his clever jokes).  However, there was a recent discovery revealing the oldest filling was composed of beeswax about 6,500 years ago. This is a prime example of just how necessary proper dental care maintenance is with proof that dentistry has been practiced long before we were born.

PLoS One, a peer review journal, published this discovery, detailing how a group of theoretical physics researchers in Italy analyzed this human jaw bone from over a century ago.  Unfortunately, Denver, CO cannot use this as a claim to fame as it was unearthed in Slovenia. This cracked Neolithic tooth is the earliest case of fillings in history!

Researchers believe this jawbone belonged to a man around his late twenties.  As seen in some of these photos, the man experienced a crack on his left canine that exposed dentin.  Dentin is the inner enamel and tissues inside the tooth.  As you can imagine, a damaged tooth of this degree had to be quite painful and a job Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, or Dr. Beckman could handle with caress.   Due to the physical discomfort, researchers believe the beeswax was coated around and inside the damaged tooth to relieve the tenderness.  However, it is ultimately unknown if the procedure was done before or after the man died.

Examples of ancient dentistry are rare finds, and it is startling to realize that this jawbone was first discovered 100 years ago without detection of this filling.  It was not until recently researchers found the dental work.  Once noticed, carbon dating was used to discover exactly how old this specimen of beeswax was.  Then, voilà!

As exciting as it is to discover great ancient history, Periodontal Associates does not want you to take care of your teeth like a caveman.  It is important to come in for bi-annual check-ups at a minimum to keep your teeth and gums in the healthiest shape possible.

Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman specialize in helping those with gum disease and dental implants.  The best way to reduce the need for gum graftsbone grafts, or dental implants is by allowing true professionals to care for your oral health.  Our hygienists are specially trained to give cleanings to reduce gum irritation.  Don’t need implants or don’t have gum disease? Well preventative care can help keep it that way!

Stop by our office in Aurora, CO, and Periodontal Associates will help you be proactive about your health.  For more information, browse our website at www.periodontalhealth.com.  Also feel free to call us at (303) 755-4500 or click here for an appointment.  We look forward to seeing you and making good oral hygiene your ‘beesiness’.

Political Teeth

Mouth Full of Wood?

Happy President’s Day!  President’s Day is often a day for people to sleep in late, hang with friends, and enjoy one less day of work.  However, the origin and history of President’s day is often forgotten, and Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman want to share with you the true meaning on this holiday as well as some fun dental facts about our beloved presidents.

The beginning of President’s Day started with George Washington’s birthday becoming a federal holiday in 1879.  His birthday was celebrated on the actual day of February 22nd; however, on January 1, 1971, the federal holiday changed to the third Monday in February.  This date places it between February 15 and 21 so it never falls on Washington’s actual birthday.  The change worked out well though as it was then renamed as “Presidents’ Day” to honor the birthdays of both Washington and Lincoln. Lincoln’s birthday is on February 12th so President’s Day is a good middle ground to celebrate the birth of two of the most influential presidents in history.

Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman love to look back on history but specifically on dental history.  Not only is George Washington the reason for this extra day off work, but Washington has some interesting dental facts and misconceptions.

Washington’s teeth has seemed to be a well discussed and misleading topic.  Many people are aware that Washington wore dentures.  In fact, during Washington’s inauguration he only had 1 single real tooth.  George Washington could really have used Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman’s help by providing some dental implants, but back then he did not have many options nor knowledge on proper oral hygiene.

It was also believed that Washington’s dentures were made out of wood until researchers in Baltimore performed laser scans on a set of the dentures at the National Museum of Dentistry.  What were they made out of then?  The scan revealed gold, ivory, lead, human, and animal teeth as ingredients for these famous chomps.  The dentures also had springs and bolts to assist Washington with opening and closing.  During the times of Washington’s life, these dentures were very high tech; however, dental implants have evolved greatly over time and Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman provide the highest quality and lifelong lasting dental implants to their Aurora patients (without wood, lead, or animal teeth).

Washington resorted to the use of dentures for multiple reasons.  At Periodontal Associates, our patients come to Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman for dental implants as the result of physical harm, gum disease, grinding, bone loss, or other factors.  In George Washington’s case, he was an avid horseman which involved some physical accidents, and oral hygiene practices were not what they are today causing him to severe gum disease.

Many people, including other presidents, suffered the consequences from improper oral care.  For example, Ulysses S. Grant smoked 20 cigars a day!  Little did he know that this habit would ultimately cause his death due to oral and throat cancer.  Smoking is a habit that Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman strongly suggest their Aurora patients to stray from as  it results in not only cancers but severe gum disease. At Periodontal Associates we know that research has indicated that smoking and tobacco use is one of the most significant factors in the development and progression of gum disease. In addition to smokers experiencing a slower recovery and healing rate, smokers are far more likely to suffer from calculus (tartar) build up on teeth, deep pockets in the gingival tissue and significant bone loss.  If only Ulysses S. Grant was able to come to our office in Aurora, CO think of the way we could help him!

But on a lighter note, did you know that Ulysses S. Grant loved to play ding-dong ditch?  He would ring the doorbell at the White House and then run and hide.  I guess no matter our position or age, we are all still kids at heart.

Periodontal Associates honors George Washington and former presidents for their good influences on our country, and it is nostalgic for Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman to look back on not only America’s history but the also the history of dental health and technology.  Luckily, Periodontal Associates contains specialists in providers of dental implants and treating gum disease without the uses of wood or ivory.  To learn more about the latest in dental implants and how to prevent periodontitis, please contact us at (303) 755-4500 or visit our website at www.periodontalhealth.com. We highly encourage you to call or click here to make an appointment to see Drs. Versman, Heller, or Beckman at our office in Aurora, CO, serving the Denver metro area.   We look forward to helping you have a smile worthy to be placed on the dollar bill!

Dads, Be Brave!

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Want your kids to be friendly and fear free at the dentist? It is up to you, Dads!  A new study reveals that parent’s attitude towards oral health and dental visits predict how their children will react in the same situations.  It is a good thing Dr. Doug Heller is a periodontist, his two kids will have some bright oral health futures.

The University of Madrid conducted a study comparing the views of children versus their parents when it comes to visiting dental offices like Periodontal Associates. Participants included 183 children between the ages of 7 and 12.  Forty-three experimental studies from across six continents were also included in this review.

The majority of studies confirmed a relationship between parental and child dental fear. This relationship is most evident in children aged 8 and under.  The study then concluded that, yes, there is an association between parental and child dental fear.  This is good to know as many people have anxiety and negative thoughts about dental work, and if we know where it begins, then Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman and others can put a stop to the fear.

América Lara Sacido, one of the authors of the study, said that “along with the presence of emotional transmission of dentist fear amongst family members, we have identified the relevant role that fathers play in transmission of this phobia in comparison to the mother.”

More so than mothers, fathers sway their children in how to react to the dentist.  In fact, the reaction from their dad will often over shadow the mother’s regardless if it is negative or positive.

 “Although the results should be interpreted with due caution, children seem to mainly pay attention to the emotional reactions of the fathers when deciding if situations at the dentist are potentially stressful,” said Lara Sacido.

1c170-dadTo help this cycle, Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman strongly suggest finding a steady, primary dental provider that the entire family can bond with and trust like Periodontal Associates.  Then, both parents should be active in the children’s dental appointments to assure they will be in good hands. Anxiety is a strong consequence of trips to the dentist office; however, as the industry advances routine dental procedures are becoming more and more comfortable.

 “Through the positive emotional contagion route in the family, the right attitude can be achieved in the child so that attending the dentist is not a problem.”

Need a dentist to trust? Call Periodontal Associates today as Dr. Versman, Dr.Heller, and Dr. Beckman are the best doctors in Denver! We provide dental implantsgum grafts, bone grafts, treat gum disease, and even provide regular hygiene cleaning appointments. Our patients travel from all over Denver, CO to see our specialists here in Aurora,CO, and some of our patients have even been with us for over 35 years!  We can be reached by call (303) 755-4500 or by clicking this link.  Visit our website for more information about common dental practices and more about Periodontal Associates.

Vegan Toothpaste

Vegans Brushing for B12

 

Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman know that proper nutrition plays an important role in maintaining good oral health for both gums and teeth, but with new dietary trends rising, like paleolithic, vegetarian, or veganism, some could be lacking essential vitamins.  Periodontal Associates wants to announce that there is good news as products like Vegan toothpaste are being created to compensate for missing nutrition.

An article was recently written in Gizmag outlining how a German cosmetics company called Sante joined forces with the German Vegetarian Society to enhance toothpaste with organic vitamin B12.   This is crucial for vegans in particular as B12 is normally found in meats, fish, cheese, yogurt, and eggs, and veganism is defined as a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products, and all other animal-derived ingredients.

In order to find a replacement source, a study was conducted to test the effectiveness of B12 delivery through toothpaste.  This study was conducted over a five week period.  The subjects were 127 healthy vegans as well as vegetarians between the ages of 18 and 64.  These participants went without consuming B6, B12, or folic acid enriched foods or supplements.  85 participants used the B12 toothpaste while the other half used placebo toothpaste.  At the end of the five week study, blood tests were taken and compared to the blood samples obtained before the study.

The conclusion?  The participants who were using the toothpaste had a 50% increase in B12 levels while the control group using a placebo experienced a 22% decrease. To make matters worse, the control group also had a 65% increase in holotranscobalamin II, which is a marker for B12depletion.

This vegan friendly toothpaste delivers 100 µg of vitamin B12 per gram which means users are receiving  more than the 2.4 µg recommendation per day as long as consumers brush at least twice daily (Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman hope you are doing this and flossing, too).  Exceeding the recommended does is not harmful at all, and women who are breastfeeding actually need more than 2.4 µg daily.

It is important to take nutrition seriously as B12 deficiency can lead to anemia, heart and nervous problems, and increased risk of developing dementia.  If you have been following along with Periodontal Associates’ blogs or check our website,www.periodontalhealth.com, you would know those people with heart and other health problems can then lead to increased risk for periodontal disease.  This is a vicious cycle, so the new toothpaste comes as a relief as it not only helps to keep a happy, healthy mouth but a properly balanced diet.

If you do have any other questions about nutritional needs, especially to help prevent gum disease, give Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman a call at (303) 755-4500.  We would love for you to come in to Periodontal Associates to meet our hygienists, Carolyn and Michelle, allowing them and our doctors to assess you dental needs.  You could call for an appointment or click here to schedule.  We are located in Aurora, CO but our patients come from near and far to see our periodontal disease specialists, Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman.

I promise, Periodontal Associates will give you something to smile about!

Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic Cancer and Poor Hygiene
When visiting the dentist, it is easy to ignore the warnings from doctors and hygienists about the importance of brushing, flossing, and bi-annual visits.  Often patients disregard these concerns, but Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman want you to know that home oral care is more than just keeping a clean mouth. Oral health is closely connected with the entire body as it is a gateway to the blood stream and to new diseases.  Periodontal Associates is constantly educating patients about the secondary effects on health and the progression of dangerous bacteria in the mouth.  In fact, gum disease resulting from poor oral hygiene and gum disease has been linked to the development of pancreatic cancer in men.
A study conducted out of Boston correlated the unnoticeable disease of periodontitis and pancreatic cancer after reviewing health related data from 51,000 men starting from 1986.  The study found men with history of gum disease have a 64% increased risk for developing pancreatic cancer versus men with great oral health.  (Maybe this is why there are so many male doctors like Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman in the Periodontal field.)  Furthermore, the more severe the gum disease is the higher the risk.  For example, gum disease can progress to the extent of recession, pocketing, and tooth loss.  These patients not only need to visit our Aurora, CO office for dental implants, but they now have higher chances of forming cancer in the pancreas.
This study has not been the only link between these two seemingly different diseases.  Former studies have also found links between tooth loss and risk of cancers like pancreatic.  Those suffering from gum disease have a higher level of C reactive protein (CPR) in their blood.  These are inflammatory markers responsible for the first response to inflammation in the gums caused by infection and have been specifically noticed in persons with pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer, versus other cancers, has the highest fatality rate among American men and women where less than 5% of patients survive longer than 5 years after diagnosis.  These numbers can be scary, and although it is not confirmed that gum disease is a cause or a direct link to pancreatic cancer, it is important to preserve your health as best as possible to fight off any chance of this and other diseases.

At Periodontal Associates, Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman are experts and professionally trained to diagnose and treat gum disease. Many of our Denver metro patients are sent by their general dentist as only Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman are specialists in curing the infections of the mouth.  Don’t hesitate to visit our Aurora office for your next exam.  This visit could save your life and your smile.  Call us at (303) 755-4500 to schedule your comprehensive oral exam today.

What is Tooth Sensitivity?

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Have you ever taken a bite of something very cold or a sip of something very hot and recoiled in pain? Do you ever wince with discomfort when brushing or flossing? If you answered yes to any of those questions you may have what’s commonly known as “sensitive teeth”. Around 40 million adults in the United States experience tooth sensitivity, according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).

Why do my teeth feel sensitive?

The inside of your tooth is made up of a material called dentin. This dentin contains microscopic tubules filed with nerve endings. A hard outer layer of enamel protects the crown portion of the tooth, while a layer of cementum protects the root. When this dentin becomes hypersensitive it usually means that it’s lost its protective covering of enamel or cementum, and the nerve endings are left exposed to hot, cold, and acidic foods.

What dental issues cause this?

A bevy of things can cause the enamel and cementum to be worn down, including:

  • Brushing too hard or aggressively, or using a hard bristle toothbrush.
  • Tooth erosion from acidic foods or beverages.
  • Gum Recession
  • And Grinding your teeth

Periodontal disease- an infection of the gums and bones supporting the teeth-may also be to blame. If left untreated, gum tissues can separate from the teeth and form pockets that can house a plethora of bacteria. This can continue until the bone and other supporting structures are destroyed, exposing the root surfaces of the teeth.

How do I treat my sensitive teeth?

Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman of Periodontal Associates in the Denver and Aurora, CO area recommend that at the point of Periodontal Disease, you should immediately schedule an appointment with your periodontist to take measures to combat it. If not, you could suffer from many other complications that could arise. However, if your teeth are just experiencing sensitivity, other measures may be:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste
  • A fluoride gel or special desensitizing agents
  • A filling, crown, inlay, or bonding, depending on the cause of sensitivity.

If gum tissue has been lost, Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman say they might recommend a surgical gum graft to cover the root and reduce sensitivity. In severe cases of sensitivity that can’t be treated by other means, your periodontist might recommend a root canal to eliminate the issue.

Have you seen Dr. Doug Heller on TV?

Here’s Dr. Heller on The Wellness Hour talking about replacing missing teeth with dental implants. In this clip he speaks on how Periodontal Associates – The Dental Implant Team is on the the cutting edge of dental implants and overall periodontal health treatment. He also shares how drastically his patients’ lives have changed after getting dental implants.

Dr. Heller has been practicing periodontics in Aurora, Colorado for over 20 years at Periodontal Associates – The Dental Implant Team. If you have questions about dental implants call 303-755-4500 or request an appointment


Did you know this about dental implants?

  • Dental implants have the same look, feel, and function of natural teeth.
  • Dental implants can provide you with comfort, convenience and confidence. Dr. Heller says, “dental implants are the 8th wonder of the world” because dental implants are matched exactly to your own teeth, and restore your smile to its optimal state. Dental implants can renewed self-confidence and peace of mind.
  • Drs. Ken Versman, Doug Heller, and Eric Beckman are uniquely qualified to provide a full range of implant dentistry procedures.They have been performing a full range of implant dentistry for more than 20 years in the Denver/Aurora, Colorado area.
  • Drs. Versman and Heller were one of the first U.S. dentists to study directly with the inventors of today’s implants. They have educated dentists, periodontists, and dental students about dental implants and implant procedures for many years, and have lectured on the subject in the Denver/Aurora, Colorado area, nationally and internationally!

    At Periodontal Associates – The Dental Implant Team,  we are the market leader and we are driving the development of new dental implant standards and protocols. Give us a call at 303-755-4500 or request an appointment today!

Dr. Beckman is in Arizona at the Spear Education “Implant Restorative Dentistry” 3-Day Lecture and Hands On-Course

Dr. Beckman in Arizona learning about dental implants
Implant Restorative Dentistry” 3-Day Lecture and Hands On-Course

Our very own Dr. Eric Beckman is in Arizona at the Spear Education Implant Restorative Dentistry 3-day lecture and hands on-course along with 300 other dentists from around the US. Periodontal Associates – The Dental Implant Team locally hosts a monthly Spear Education study club which “combines hands-on learning in small groups of peers is a proven way to master new clinical skills and build confidence” (speareducation.com). The doctors at Periodontal Associates believe in providing the best care for their patients. One of the ways the doctors do this is through the Spear Education study clubs to stay on the forefront of periodontics.

Meet Dr. Kenneth Versman, Periodontist at Periodontal Associates – The Dental Implant Team

What made you want to become a dentist?
I have wanted to be a dentist since 5th grade. As time progressed during my high school and college years I felt it would be a great profession where I would have the chance to interact with people and help them with their oral health.

What made you want to specialize in periodontics?
I had a periodontal professor who gave me great encouragement to become a periodontist. It was my favorite course in dental school.

What’s your favorite part of being a Periodontist?
Helping people achieve oral health through complete evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment planning.

Are you originally from Colorado and what’s your favorite part about living here?
I grew up in Illinois. I love just about everything in Colorado… the people, weather, recreation, sports and culture offered in our community.

What do you think makes Periodontal Associates stand out from other Periodontal offices?
We have always been dedicated to taking care of people just as we would want to be healed. Our open communications allow us to not only help our patients, but to get to know them on a special level.