Psychologist and Dentists Marry Ideas and End Fear

Are you Fearful About Dental Implants or Dental Visits?


I think it is safe to say there is a common and overwhelming fear of the dental office. It can be a common cause of anxiety as people visualize a drill-wielding man in a white coat just waiting to cause pain and remove teeth. Although this could not be further from the truth with Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman here at Periodontal Associates, it is pleasing to know there are some steps being taken to disprove this nightmare and increase the frequency of dental appointments to help with dental maintenance and prevent the need for dental implants.

Researchers at Sydney University claim that psychologists have helped to reverse decay in many patients.  Professor Wendell Evans, researcher on reversing tooth decay, created this relationship with psychologists to promote preventive dental care. The dean of Sydney University’s Faculty of Dentistry, Professor Chris Peck, said patients in the new caries management program would undergo behavioral interviewing. “We use psychologists to change an individual’s behavior to get them to modify diet and to use the best preventive approaches. It is not one appointment, but multiple appointments to reinforce those changes.”

Although this study is going on in Australia, Dr. Versman, Heller, and Beckman have great ways to eliminate fears for good in the Denver – Aurora, CO area. Here are a couple of ways:

  1. Talk to the dentist – The dentist is not a mind reader. Though it can be hard to talk about irrational fears with a stranger, Dr. Versman, Heller, and Beckman take extra precautions during visits if fears and anxiety are communicated – just ask our patients!
  2. Bring a portable music player – Music acts as a relaxant and also drowns out any fear-producing noises. Listening to calming music throughout the appointment will help to reduce anxiety. (Periodontal Associates usually has great jams playing in every room!)
  3. Agree on a signal – Many people are afraid that the dentist will not know they are in significant pain during the appointment, and will carry on the procedure regardless. The best way to solve this is to agree on a “stop” hand signal with the dentist. Both parties can easily understand signals like raising the hand or tapping on the chair.
  4. Spray the throat – Throat sprays (for example, Vicks® Chloraseptic® Throat Spray) can actually control the gag reflex. Two or three sprays will usually keep the reflex under control for about an hour.
  5. Take a mirror – Not being able to see what is happening can increase anxiety and make the imagination run wild. Although Dr. Versman, Heller, and Beckman are great at walking you through the procedure before it even begins.
  6. Sedation – If there is no other way to cope, sedation offers an excellent option for many people. There are several types of sedation, but the general premise behind them is the same: the patient regains their faculties after dental implant or treatment is complete.
  7. Ask about alternatives – Advances in technology mean that dental microsurgery is now an option. Lasers can be used to prepare teeth for fillings, whiten teeth and remove staining. Discuss all the options with the dentist and decide on one that is effective and produces minimal anxiety.

 See what you can learn already about making the dental visit more relaxing? Just imagine how at ease and excited you will feel about defeating your gum recession and gaining a beautiful smile with your dental implants after you meet with our doctors: Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman.  They will walk you through the process in ways you can understand and know what to expect.  Our entire dental implant team here at Periodontal Associates will make you feel at home and carefree, you won’t even need a psychologist!

Go ahead, give us a call at (303) 755-4500. We are located in the Denver metro area, specifically Aurora. We cannot wait to end your apprehensions about dentures, implants, gum grafting, oral reconstruction, or even teeth cleaning!


Go Green to Prevent Gum Disease

Green Tea for Pink Gums


Periodontal Associates is on a constant search to find the latest research on how to prevent and continue to treat gum disease, and the latest philosophy is leaving us thirsty for more.  Green Tea is a well-known beverage that has been used in the Asian cultures for thousands of years to promote health (and increasing in popularity here in Denver, CO), but did you know, Green Tea is linked to stimulating healthy gums and teeth?

The Journal of Periodontology just published a study that analyzed the periodontal health of 940 men, and researchers found that those who regularly drank green tea had superior periodontal health than subjects that consumed less green tea. None on hand?  If you are in Denver, CO then stop by to see Drs. Versman, Heller, or Beckman, and we will greet you with some!

“It has been long speculated that green tea possesses a host of health benefits,” said Dr. Yoshihiro Shimazaki, the author of the study, from Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan. “And since many people enjoy green tea on a regular basis, we were eager to investigate the impact of green tea consumption on periodontal health, especially considering the escalating emphasis on the connection between periodontal health and overall health.”

The study was conducted with male participants from the ages of 49-59 years. The extent of periodontal disease in each subject was compared by pocket depth, clinical attachment loss of gum tissue, and bleeding upon probing. Researchers noted that for every one cup of green tea consumed per day, there was a decrease in all three components which led to the conclusion that periodontal disease occurs less for those who drink green tea on a regular basis.

How does green tea help reduce periodontal disease?  Researchers believe the antioxidant, Catechin, in green tea is the cause of the reduction of gum disease symptoms.  Antioxidants are known for reducing inflammation everywhere in the body, gums too.  Since periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth, it makes sense how green tea can be beneficial.  Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman believes it is important to take every action possible to prevent gum disease as it continues to be connected to the development of other diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

We hope this information is helpful to you as Periodontal Associates is a big advocate for patient education. Please visit our website as it is a comprehensive information resource that includes self-assessment tools,visual guides, and shows how Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman treat gum disease. It is important to begin evaluating your symptoms and learn how to take action to treat it, other than just drinking plenty of green tea. If you have any signs of gum disease, please contact us right away so we can begin treatment immediately in the Denver metro area.

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” ( 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.

Meet our Team: Dr. Eric Beckman

beckie and wifeWhat made you want to become a dentist?
It is a perfect combination of my passions: art, science, engineering, and interaction with people every day.

What made you want to specialize in Periodontics?
The rehabilitation of peoples’ smiles. I liked that I could give patients a second chance to have their smile and confidence back.

What’s your favorite part of being a Periodontist?
Giving people their lives back again. This “life” includes their self confidence through a new smile (no more missing or crooked teeth), their health, and their ability to eat the foods they want.

Are you originally from Colorado and what’s your favorite part about living here?
I am from Minnesota, and really do miss parts of the Midwest, BUT there are so many things about Colorado that I love: four seasons can be had in one week, access to a great city as well as the mountain life where I love to ski and fly fish. I have appreciated the welcoming and inviting atmosphere of Coloradans.

What do you think makes Periodontal Associates stand out from other Periodontal offices?
I chose to work with Drs. Versman and Heller because of the great reputations in the dental community and their conscientious dental care. The way that they and all of the dental team at Periodontal Associates focus on patients having a great and comfortable experience is what inspired me to join the practice.