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’.

How To Prevent Bad Breath

How to Prevent Bad Breath

Bad breath can be unpleasant and sometimes embarrassing.  The morning, onions, garlic, smoke, and gum disease are all variables that can cause bad breath either momentarily or habitually.  Drs. Versman, Heller & Beckman specialize in treating gum disease which is a huge contributing factor to bad breath, also known as halitosis; however, Periodontal Associates wants to share with you some more common and daily rituals that can help defend against sour oral odors.

An easy edible routine to defend against halitosis can be as simple as eating yogurt daily.  Why yogurt you may ask?  Yogurt contains live active cultures and they defend against foul odor causing compounds like hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs, is a product released by gum disease causing bacteria.  Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman suggest eating six ounces of yogurt a day to help fight this problem.

 

Green tea is also proven to fight against bad breath.  Periodontal Associates offers a beverage bar in our Aurora office containing green tea as one of the options, and there is no mistake in that. This popular Chinese tea contains antioxidants that also help reduce the amount of bacteria. Not only does this super food help with olfactory offenses, but it can also help reduce the risk of tooth decay and some oral cancers.

To continue with the theme of eating away bad breath, vegetables contain physical properties that help exfoliate teeth.  Dr. Ken Versman, Dr. Doug Heller, and Dr. Eric Beckman want to remind you that a toothbrush is more effective than scrubbing with veggies, but vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, and celery naturally remove debris and plaque that can lead to bacteria growth and smelly breath.

Hydration is a big key in maintaining overall health, but swishing water can dilute the sugar, starch, and acid in the mouth.  This dilution helps reduce plaque, and again, Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman love to greet you with cold bottles of water from our beverage station.

The next important step is flossing.  Periodontal Associates has trained hygienists who specialize in treating gum disease, and one of the most important questions they ask patients is if they are flossing regularly.  Flossing is a frequently forgotten routine, but it is critical to remember as flossing removes bacteria that cause decay.  When bacteria are left to linger in the mouth’s crevices, the gums are more likely to experience periodontal disease and thus, bad breath.  There is no excuse to skip flossing, and if you are in need, stop by our Aurora, CO office to pick some up.

In between teeth is not the only place that needs a little TLC as the tongue is a central part of maintaining pleasant breath and a clean mouth.  The tongue contains bacteria that can contaminate teeth after brushing and flossing.  Tongues have over 500 different types of bacteria, and bad breath occurs when all of those bad bacteria, food particles, and other things sit on the back of the tongue.

All of the prior suggestions are great ways to help prevent and maintain a healthy mouth. However, more than 75% of Americans suffer from gum disease, and there is only one way to care for periodontal disease and its consequence of bad breath. Periodontists like Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman specialize in treating this silent disease.Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and bone surrounding your teeth.  Some common signs are persistent bad breath caused by bacteria in the mouth, pus around the teeth and gums (sign that there is an infection present), red and puffy gums, and tenderness or discomfort caused by plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritating the gums and teeth.

Do any of these signs of gum disease sound familiar? Please do not hesitate to contactPeriodontal Associates in Aurora, CO today! We welcome patients from all surrounding Denver metro areas and even some from outside of Colorado.  Our doctors, Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman, are specially trained and skilled to fight periodontal disease as well as provide dental implants. Please call us at (303) 755-4500 or click here for an appointment.  For more information about Periodontal Associates, please visit our website at www.periodontalhealth.com.  We look forward to helping you with your questions, treating your gum disease, providing your dental implants, or simply curing your bad breath!

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.

How Much Bacteria is in Your Mouth?

Bacteria can be found everywhere: on your hands, when you touch a doorknob, at a restaurant, in the bathroom, etc.  We sometimes get so caught up worrying about not touching things that carry bacteria that we forget that more than a large cup of bacteria can be found inside you!

More specifically, at any one time there can be up to 6 million bacteria found in your mouth; your mouth is a huge carries for bacteria.  GROSS!  The presence of bacteria in your mouth can cause bad breath and, more importantly, can eat away at your teeth causing cavities, dental infections, and gingivitis.  Even worse, some mouth bacteria can cause heart disease and kidney disease.

Here at Periodontal Associates, we stress the importance of controlling how much bacteria is in you mouth and not letting it get out of hand.  While we understand that bacteria can always be found in your mouth, and some bacteria is even good for you, it is important to maintain a strict hygiene regimen so that you don’t have painful and potentially costly dental issues.   Dr. Ken Versman, Dr. Douglas Heller, and Dr. Eric Beckman  can teach you the proper techniques so that you are knowledgeable.  In addition, it is important to schedule routine dental check-ups with your dentist so that any serious damage can be noticed and prevented.

Dr. Ken Versman, Dr. Douglas Heller, and Dr. Eric Beckman can help you keep your mouth healthy before bacteria does any serious harm.  To schedule your appointment, do not hesitate to call us at (303) 755-4500, clickhere for an appointment, or visit our website at www.periodontalhealth.com.

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.