Eating Disorders and your Teeth

Eating Disorders and your Teeth

It is currently estimated that 10 million Americans are affected today by an eating disorder such as bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating.  The consequences from such destructive eating habits range wildly and are dangerous to one’s health.  One of the first symptoms of pain and discomfort are felt from the damage done to teeth and gums.  A dentist, such as Dr. Ken Versman, Dr. Doug Heller, and Dr. Eric Beckman, can be the first to detect these harmful changes and help someone dealing with an eating disorder make the first steps towards improving their health. Periodontal Associates wants to help you identify some leading eating disorders and how such habits can lead to gum disease and/or the need for dental implants.
Bulimia involves alternating periods of overeating (or binge eating) followed by purging.  The fluctuation of high calories followed by expulsion is traumatic to the digestive system which includes the mouth.  Purging the high fat and sugar contents of a binge can be done by self-induced vomiting, diuretics, and/or the abuse of laxatives.  The most common solution for most is vomiting, and by doing so, the contents of food along with the acidic stomach juices are then exposed to the sensitive tissues in the gums and teeth.  Studies have found that up to 89% of bulimic patients show signs of tooth erosion, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.  Although Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman can do many things to transform a smile, replacing enamel on teeth is not a possibility.
Anorexia involves restricting food and caloric intake in order to maintain a thin body image.  This can also include the same habits as bulimia with binge eating and purging; however, persons with anorexia often starve themselves.  In fact, anorexia is the highest psychiatric disorder resulting in death.
The negative side effects caused by both of these eating habits are destructive and obvious on teeth.  With deprivation or purging, the body is robbed of adequate amounts of minerals, vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients necessary for good health.  The weaker the body, the weaker the immune system and organ function.  Periodontal disease (gum disease) is then harder for the body to fight off.  The acid from the stomach breaks down any healthy gum tissues leading to gum loss, bone loss, and eventually the loss of teeth.  Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman unfortunately have many patients that needed dental implants as a result of the acidic oral environment and lack of nourishment.  Research studies have  also shown that there is also a strong association between periodontal disease and other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy complications and respiratory disease.  With an already suppressed immune system, such conditions can be detrimental.
Salivary glands can become swollen and xerostomia (or dry mouth) can occur.  Lesions on soft tissues may begin to appear and gums will often begin to bleed.  The teeth may become more translucent as poor diet and a high acidic environment erodes the enamel.  Enamel is irreplaceable and results in sensitivity to hot or cold.  As enamel fades away, the teeth can then become more brittle which can result in future cracks and breaks.  When a tooth becomes so fragile and painful, a visit to Periodontal Associates in Aurora is needed as the tooth may need to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant.
Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman, or your dentist, can be the first to spot these dangerous symptoms.  In order to help persons dealing with such eating disorders smile again and keep their teeth strong and beautiful, Periodontal Associates wants to share some thoughts on how to treat the oral health problems resulting in these dietary habits.
– Patients who purge or vomit should never brush their teeth immediately after vomiting.  Instead, rinse with baking soda to contrast again the high acidity from stomach juices
– Patients should be counseled on their daily oral and overall hygiene routine.
– Patients should have an oral exam to assess current damages done and future treatment needs to help fight gum disease, sensitivity, or replace severely diminished teeth with dental implants.
– Patients should be set up on a frequent recall or hygiene schedule at offices such as Periodontal Associates.
If you are concerned about a friend or family member or you are seeking more information regarding eating disorders and health concerns, Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman urge you to contact the National Eating Disorder Association.  If you have suffered from a disorder in the past, please visit Periodontal Associates in Aurora, CO to maintain bi-annual exams and hygiene appointments. To schedule your next cleaning, please call us at (303) 755-4500.

What Are Dental Implants

What Are Dental Implants?


Yes, that’s right, Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman are Denver’s specialists in dental implants, and if you are reading this, then you are in the right place.  But what are dental implants, who needs them, and how are they placed?

What are implants?

Dental implants are prosthetic replacements for missing teeth.  A natural tooth is comprised of a crown and a root.  The crown is the large and white section of the tooth that is visible when a mouth is open.  The root is underneath the gums as it extends to the jawbone and provides support.  Dental implants mimic this same structure.  The implant replaces the root in which a crown is placed.

Dental implants are made of three parts.  The first is the implant itself which is inserted to the bone.  The second is the abutment.  The abutment is the piece that connects the implant to the crown.  Which bring me to the third part, the crown itself.  Most of the implants are made of titanium as it is durable and compatible to fuse with bone.

Do you need dental implants?

First thing first, if you are questioning the need for dental implants, be sure to make an appointment to consult with Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman, and they will be sure comprise a personalized treatment plan.  Dental implants are great for those who have a single missing tooth, several missing teeth, or need a full replacement set.  Dental implants are great replacements for dentures or bridges.  Implants are strong and durable to help you eat normally.  They also have the look and feel of natural teeth.  So, yes it’s true, you can get your beautiful smile back.  If you do not believe, look at these testimonials from our Denver patients. 

 How are they placed?

The word ‘implant’ can make the procedure sound complicated and intimidating, but most implant surgeries are performed safely within a dentist’s office, like here at Periodontal Associates.  Dental implants are placed during a simple outpatient procedure.  For some procedures, forms of patient sedation may be used, such as nitrous oxide.  Every treatment is different depending on the situation, preferences, or patient, but all are safe and with a high percent of success rate. (Especially if your doctor is Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, or Dr. Beckman).

Now that you have learned about dental implants, you may have realized that there is a way to improve your quality of life, and it is not difficult. Even if you have lost just one tooth – whether it is a new situation or something you have lived with for years – chances are you have never become fully accustomed to losing such a vital part of yourself.

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 AssociatesThe Dental Implant Team, we are the market leader and we are driving the development of new dental implant standards and protocols. We wish to share this exciting information with you and answer all of your questions.

For an improved quality of life please call us at 303-755-4500 or schedule a free consultation today!

Getting Wise About Wisdom Teeth

There are approximately 10,000,000 wisdom teeth removed each year.  Why is that?
During times of hunting and gathering, jaw bones were long and narrow. In the present day, our jaws have transformed to be both shorter and wider.  It is believed that the jaws found in our ancestors were better suited to grind and decompose hard food items.  In today’s world, we heavily rely on agriculture and farming which creates a softer diet.  Over time, the jaw has conformed to the physical needs of a new diet.
This theory was researched when Von Cramon-Taubadel studied skull specimens from 11 populations around the world.  Five of the groups lived off hunting and gathering while the remaining six groups relied on a farming lifestyle.  It is through this quest of understanding evolution that supported the interactions between culture, farming, and the effects on our evolving anatomy.
Our modern day noggins are now crowded, leading to the misalignment of our teeth, and often the need to remove wisdom teeth. Since jaws of modern societies are now shorter, they “are not big enough to accommodate the size of our teeth,” Von Cramon-Taubadel said.  Periodontal Associates is not surprised that there are an estimated 5 million Americans with braces trying to straighten, align teeth, and fight against the natural progression of crowding.
Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman have to, at times, extract teeth due to this crowding, but a more prominent problem treated at Periodontal Associates caused by orthodontics is gum recession.  When teeth are moved too quickly, the gums can retract and gum grafts are needed to prevent sensitivity and tooth loss.
If you are fighting gum disease or an un-even, painful smile, Dr. Ken Versman, Dr. Doug Heller, and Dr. Eric Beckman can help you.  You can’t fight evolution, so click here to schedule an exam or call (303) 755-4500 to answer all your questions. Remember, gum disease is a sneaky disease as often people do not realize they have it until it reaches a severe state.  At that point, it can result in tooth loss, bone loss, and the need for dental implants.  Don’t let gum disease sneak up on you.  Visit Periodontal Associates in Aurora today.