Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fashionable Gaps in Teeth

Gap-Tooth Grins

The use of braces and orthodontics is a growing fashion with parents spending an average of $4,000 per child; however, despite the need for perfectly straight teeth, a new dental trend is overpowering the fashion world.  Now that impeccably even, white teeth have become the norm and achieved by so many, innovative fashionistas are turning imperfect smiles into perfect models.
This is not the first time wide gap teeth have been deemed beautiful.  In Africa, women with wide spaces in their smiles are thought to be more fertile and attractive.  Despite this philosophy, American talent agencies are searching for these gap-tooth grins more so because they are unlike most people.  “I think we’re getting away from that cookie-cutter image.  I think this is kind of breaking the mold,” says Kim Hoffman, owner of Hoffman International modeling agency in Overland Park.   

As this trend rises, models are not necessarily taking action to actively part their teeth, but some inspiring models are instead hesitating on correcting the flaw through orthodontic care.  The reason these dental defects exist is an act of natural occurrence.  

Most spaces occur from either having a larger jaw bone with smaller teeth or possibly one may have another incisor growing between the teeth but under the gums.  These spaces are called diastemas, and the cause could also be genetic.  Sometimes, the gums may begin to grow and stretch between the two front teeth.  
As much as models want to keep their natural imperfections, orthodontists try to pursue them otherwise as it can affect their bite.  This can slowly wear down enamel and cause problems chewing.   

Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman would have to agree that fixing these defects would be beneficial, especially to prevent damage to teeth.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but oral health is in the eye of our doctors at Periodontal Associates 

Do you have any questions about either the function or aesthetics of your smile?  Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman are specialists in periodontics, and they have to ability to give you a life changing smile.
Here are some of the treatments commonly performed by our doctors here in Aurora, CO:
·         Implant placement – When a tooth or several teeth are missing, Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman are able to create a natural-looking replacement by anchoring a prosthetic tooth to the jawbone.
·         Osteoplasty (hard tissue recontouring) – Once periodontitis has been treated, Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman can recontour the hard tissue to make the smile both natural-looking and aesthetically pleasing.
·         Gingivoplasty (soft tissue recontouring) – As gums recede due to periodontitis, the teeth may appear longer; causing a “toothy" smile. Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman can remove tissues or straighten the gum line to make the teeth look more even.
·         Bone grafting – Dental implants can only be positioned if there is sufficient bone to attach the prosthetic tooth to. If bone loss has occurred, bone grafting is an excellent way to add or “grow” bone so that an implant may be properly secured.
·         Deep pocket cleanings – As gingivitis and periodontitis progress, it becomes more difficult to cleanse the pockets between the soft tissues and the teeth. Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman can scale and root plane the teeth (sometimes under local anesthetic) to remove debris and infection-causing bacteria.
·         Crown lengthening – In order to expose more of the natural tooth, Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman  can remove some of the surrounding gingival tissue. 

Because the practice of periodontics requires specialized training and excellent teamwork in dental implants and gum disease, we have brought together one of the most experienced, skilled, caring and dedicated professional staffs in all of Colorado, to assist with your individual comfort and care. Periodontal Associates work closely with your dentist--a key member of our team--to combine our expertise and experience with them to formulate the best treatment plan for you. So contact us today for a free dental implant consultation or for your next cleaning with our hygienists.  You can click here for an appointment or give us a call at (303) 755-4500. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

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 B12 depletion.
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,, 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!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Floss Preferences

Floss: Wax On or Wax Off? 
The first step to establishing proper dental care techniques is finding products that fit every personal need and preference. For example, do you prefer hand held toothbrushes versus electric, or do you prefer floss that is coated with wax versus no coating?  To help patients make these decisions, it is best to have an understanding of which is most effective.  I know our Drs.Versman, Heller, and Beckman here at Periodontal Associates hopes you brush and floss no matter what types or brands of equipment you are using, but a new study did reveal if waxed or un-waxed dental floss is preferred. 
The study was developed in order to challenge a prior study that was published in the Journal of Periodontology back in 1990.  To best understand which form of floss is superior, we must not only discover which is most effective in the view of dentists but we must also find what consumers prefer.
So, what do Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman suggest?  Based on their experience as well as other clinical studies, Periodontal Associates agree that there is no statistical difference or clinical significance. Simply, the best floss is the one that is being used.  Even with free floss or floss sticks, Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman have no preference.  If you do have any concern, feel free to ask at your next hygiene appointment, and we can guide you based on your individual needs.
What is the most popular choice made by patients? Dr. Robert H. Beaumont asked 100 patients which one they preferred.  He gave every patients unmarked floss with instructions for use between two front teeth as well as two back teeth.  He then gave another sample of floss, again unmarked, with repeated instructions.  To make sure there was no bias, half the patients started with wax while the other half started with no wax floss.   
After both flosses were used, Beaumont simple asked each patient which sample they liked most.  “All had an immediate and clear floss preference after performing the test.”  The conclusion: 79 percent preferred waxed floss, leaving 21% preferring non-waxed floss.  This may be true for our Denver, CO patients, too.
Why is this so?  "The most frequent objection to waxed floss was related to a feeling of 'thickness', not a specific objection of difficulty in use. Unwaxed was described as 'thinner' and when preferred was most often selected for that reason," stated Beaumont after questioning each patient on why they made their decisions as they did.
Where do you stand? How do you floss, where do you floss, and when do you floss? Drs.Versman, Heller, and Beckman would say it is best to floss daily as gum disease is caused by bacteria that grow on the teeth at the edges of and underneath the gums, and flossing, along with periodontal care appointments, will help remove the bacteria around the teeth, preventing periodontal disease. 
How to floss:
1.       Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
2.       Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
3.       Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gum line. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss. 
For further information, please call and schedule a consultation with Drs. Versman, Heller, or Beckman today, or please stop in for a periodontal care hygiene appointment where our hygienists are specially trained to treat patients with gum disease as well as prevent the onset of gum disease. We can be reached by phone at (303) 755-4500 or please click here for an appointment. We serve patients of all ages throughout the Denver metro area, and we will look forward to meeting you.

Friday, September 21, 2012

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 grafts, bone 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  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’.



Thursday, September 20, 2012

Artificial Enamel

Artificial Tooth Enamel Prevents Cavities and Tooth Decay

Success! It is official; artificial tooth enamel has been manufactured by researchers in Japan.  Say farewell to cavities, decaying teeth, and yellowing smiles.  Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman do not have access to this technology here in Denver, CO yet as it is still going through approval, but the technology presents an exciting and positive future.  

Shigeki Hontsu, a professor at Kinki University’s Faculty of Biology-Oriented Science and Technology in Japan, says this can be applied over existing teeth, and can prevent decay, making teeth appear whiter or even lessen the sensation of sensitive teeth.  

The artificial enamel is made out of hydroxyapatite, which allows for flexibility and durability. “This is the world’s first flexible apatite sheet, which we hope to use to protect teeth and repair damaged enamel,” states Hontsu. “Dentists used to think an all-apatite sheet was just a dream, but we are aiming to create artificial enamel.” 

The technology has not yet been implemented in regular dental practices like here at Periodontal Associates, and it may be another 5 years before this is approved and perfected.  It is a highly anticipated product as it will cover the exposed dentin, which causes sensitive teeth, but it can also be used for cosmetic purposes.  Currently, the film is transparent, but the researchers hope to make it white in color to help safely whiten teeth. 

“The moment you put it on a tooth surface, it becomes invisible.  You can barely see it if you examine it under a light,” confirmed Hontsu.  

When created, the researchers were able to make it as then as 0.00016 inches with lasers in order to make it a comfortable and unnoticeable fit for the patient.   The one problem with making and applying this product is the time it takes to adhere to a tooth.  It takes almost a full day for the film to stick firmly.  

Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman pride themselves on staying updated on the latest research and technology so whenever this artificial enamel is available, Periodontal Associates will know about it.  For now, be sure to schedule your bi-annual cleanings for deep periodontal scaling.  These cleanings and check-ups can also help decrease tooth decay, decrease teeth sensitivity, and prevent staining.  For more information, please visit our website at or click here for an appointment.  We are located in Aurora, CO and serve patients all around the Denver metro area.  Call Periodontal Associates at (303) 755-4500 for any questions or to schedule a free dental implant consultation.

Friday, September 14, 2012

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 need 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 Associates, The 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!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sugar Substitutes and Cavities

 Sugar Substitutes vs. Sugar

Brush your teeth, floss, and avoid sugars.  This is what most people are used to hearing from their dentist, including Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman.  These are important lessons in maintaining proper dental health, but what about all those sugar substitutes placed in our food and drinks?  Are the substitutes as harmful to tooth enamel as sugar?

In a quick summary, no, sugar substitutes do not offer the same threats to teeth.  In fact, according to the American Dental Association, sugar is not even harmful.  What IS harmful is the bacteria in dental plaque as it metabolizes sugar.  After it metabolizes, acid is released, and that is what breaks down the enamel on teeth. 

Artificial sweeteners do not offer the fate of acid production as the bacteria from plaque cannot metabolize them and some even have antibacterial properties called polyols.

What is a polyol? It is a sugar derived from alcohol and it neutralizes acids.  They are often added to sweeteners or gums in order to help add taste without compromising dental health.  This is one of the reasons that Periodontal Associates offers artificial sweeteners at our refreshment bar here in Denver, CO.

The British Dental Journal even suggested that chewing sugarless gum, which includes polyols, helps the prevention of tooth decay as it promotes the flow of saliva and does not break down into acids. “In addition, xylitol’s antibacterial properties seem likely to lead to caries reductions superior to the more modest reductions with sorbitol gum,” stated the article.

The Journal of the American Dental Association also agrees regular use of gum made with xylitol can help prevent decay, stating “Chewing xylitol-sweetened gum, especially for patients who like chewing gum, can be fitted readily into a regimen that includes frequent fluoride exposure, good oral hygiene and regular dental appointments.”
Periodontal Associates does suggest everything in moderation, though.  As sugar substitutes may be less harmful for tooth enamel, it is often used in products that already contain high levels of acid which will then breakdown teeth. 
For more tips on proper home care, nutrition, or procedures like dental implants, please call Periodontal Associates to schedule a consultation at (303) 755-4500 or click here.  Feel free to also browse our website at if you are unable to make it to our office in Denver, CO.  We are specifically located in Aurora, CO, but we service patients from the entire Denver metro area. Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman look forward to meeting with you!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Whiter Teeth Wins Election

Outshine for Presidency

It is election year and such always brings about new debates and theories on how or why which candidate will win.  This year, a new study presented by Luster Premium brings an interested tale to the table.  It suggests there is a correlation between teeth whiteness and electability! (Periodontal Associates hopes that is not how our Denver, CO officials are elected).
Drs.Versman, Heller, and Beckman just hope the two candidates are keeping up proper home care maintenance; however, the information provided is a fun speculation.
The study was conducted by analyzing multiple photos taken of presidential candidates during campaigning in order to compare the competitor’s witness in their smiles. The photos were adjusted in order to rule out variables such as lighting and other environmental conditions.

This idea has been proven to be effective with evidence trickling back from 1992.  Some presidential winners with whiter choppers include Bill Clinton when he defeated George H.W. Bush.  He also then won over a duller-smiled Bob Dole.

And again, George W. Bush has an ever so slightly brighter smile than Al Gore in 2000.  He, too, repeated his victory in 2004 over John Kerry whose smile just was not up to par.

Is this information accurate, believable, or insightful? What will happen in the 2012 election?  In comparison, Barrack Obama’s teeth do in fact barely beat Mitt Romney’s in terms of whose is whitest. 
Both Romney and Obama continue their trips to Denver, CO, so if you get the chance to see them speak, be sure to pay attention to their teeth.
Periodontal Associates cannot guarantee to help you in a future election; however, Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman CAN change your life with a beautiful smile. Please stop by to learn more about your oral health.  We provide cleanings, dental implants, gum grafts, bone regeneration, and may more services to enhance your smile and your health.  Call us at (303) 755-4500 to schedule your appointment or click here.  Feel free to also visit our website at We look forward to helping our Denver, CO community.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Patients with Disabilities are at Higher Risks for Dental Problems

Special Needs Patients Need Special Attention

Keeping up with good oral hygiene can sometimes seem difficult as Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman suggest eating balanced meals, reducing the number of snacks eaten, and correctly using the various dental aids that help control the plaque and bacteria for their patients here in Denver, CO.  However, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association, individuals with developmental disabilities encounter increased problems due to physical, cognitive, and financial challenges.

The study was led by the associate professor in the Department of public Health and Community Service at Tufts University, Dr. John Morgan.  He, along with other researchers, gathered their information from an electronic database containing 4,732 adults with developmental disabilities who were seen at Tufts Dental Facilities Serving Persons with Special Needs.  This are dental clinics supported by the state as there is a small about of dentists who are specifically trained to better help care for those with special needs.

The Tufts University states that dental issues can cause pain, difficulty eating, and infections that can cause more serious and long-term problems, Periodontal Associates agrees!  This is alarming as 32.2 percent of the patients from the database had untreated cavities compared to 22.7 percent of the general population.  80.3 percent of those with disabilities had gum disease compared to 47.36 percent of the population, and 10.9 percent actually lost some of their teeth, compared to 7.6 percent.

By evaluating the two groups, it can be concluded that those with disabilities seem to have more troubles managing their oral health than the general population.  Dr. Morgan says this could be due to the inability to hold onto a toothbrush with a normal sized handle, they may not understand how to brush their teeth or how often, may need continuous reinforcement to flossing, or they simply cannot afford dental care.

Finances seem to be the most common factor in poor dental health as special needs patients often need a dentist who can be sensitive to their needs, as well as, be specially trained to give better care.

“You just have to be able to tailor the dental care to meet their needs and what the patient can withstand,” said Dr. Jason Grinter, director of special patient care at Illinois Masonic Dental Center.  “It really takes formal training in combination with your own energy and how much you want to take into.”

Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman understand how important it is to get to know their patient.  We make it a priority to get to know the patient’s medical history, communicate about the treatment, and educate them in order to make them feel as comfortable as possible while still giving the best care as possible.  Dr. Grinter is in agreement as he added, the extra time and effort pays off by not only improving the patient’s oral health but also reducing the pain and some of the behavior problems that necessitate medication.  

Dental care visits can be intimidating to most people, but do not let the fear prevent you from keeping up with your health or a friend or family member who has special needs.  Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman, along with our entire dental team, are dedicated to the gentle, personalized care that you deserve.  When you visit our Denver - Aurora, CO office, your dental implant and/or periodontal health and comfort is our top priority.  Please call us at (303) 755-4500 to schedule an appointment, click here for an appointment, or give our website some exploring to see how we are the best fit for your dental needs.  We are located in the Denver, CO area, and our patients come from near and far to see our Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman.  We cannot wait to meet you and help promote a happier, healthier you!