April Newsletter

Spring is in Bloom!

Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD

Dr. Ronald Auvenshine
Dr. Ronald Auvenshine

April is here and spring is definitely in bloom. I love this time of year in Houston because the city comes alive with flowering plants and foliage, and the weather is the best in April.

April will be another busy month for Dr. Pettit and me. On the 13th of April, we will travel to Orlando, Florida for the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain (AAOP). I will be teaching an all-day Anatomy course on Thursday the 14th as a pre-conference offering before the Scientific Meeting begins on Friday the 15th.There will be approximately 25 participants in this anatomy course which will involve dissection of the head. I’ve taught this course every other year for the past 10 years and enjoy teaching this subject very much. Anatomy is the subject of my PhD and next to treating patients with TMD and Orofacial Pain, teaching anatomy is my passion.

I always enjoy the AAOP annual meeting. As many of you know, I am a Past President of this organization and have spent many hours on the Board and Counsel deliberating issues that directly affect patient care. Currently, we are continuing to negotiate with the American Dental Association regarding the specialty status for those of us who treat Orofacial Pain. In the March newsletter, I discussed a lawsuit that is currently in appeal in the State of Texas. In essence, we won this lawsuit. It will allow those of us who are Board Certified in Orofacial Pain the privilege of informing the public of that specialty achievement beyond the standard curriculum of dental school. Hopefully, we will be successful as we embark upon new strategies for approaching the American Dental Association. I will be meeting with the leadership of the AAOP to help lay out new strategies for our case that will go before the Board of Regents of the American Dental Association.

April is also a significant month for me. On April 25th, I will be inducted into the Baylor University Heritage Club. The Heritage Club is made up of Baylor graduates who have been out of school for 50 years. I graduated from Baylor in June of 1966. Recently, I received notice that I was to be inducted into the Heritage Club and I truly couldn’t believe it. I told my wife that I remember when my mother was inducted into the Heritage Club, and I can’t believe that I have been out of Baylor for 50 years. Needless to say, she reminded me that it was, in fact, correct and that I was very fortunate to be in this elite group of people. The ceremony will take place Monday evening in Waco. Linda and I, along with my brother and his wife and my cousin and her husband, will be in attendance to help me celebrate this milestone. I’m excited to be able to be a part of this prestigious group. I cherish my years at Baylor and I am blessed that I was able to get my academic start at such a wonderful University.

Also in April, I will be giving my last two lectures for the year to graduate students at the University of Texas School of Dentistry here in Houston. I have already given two lectures of an eight hour course, which I teach each spring. The graduate students there are serious learners and it is fun to teach these specialty lectures to such a fine group of students.

January through April is my busiest time of the year with extracurricular activities. I am really looking forward to May because my schedule will dramatically slow down and I will be able to enjoy some time off. Dr. Pettit and I have several articles that we want to write, and I am simply looking forward to the time off to be able to do more writing. I also have a graduate student in my VA program that will continue our research, so I will become her advisor and director of her Masters Research Project for her thesis.

As you can see, we are always busy. Dr. Pettit and I are continuously seeking new ways and new information so that we can better serve you. You are our greatest asset, and we will continue to work diligently to make your experience with us the very best.

Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD
Diplomate, American Board of Orofacial Pain

Dr. Pettit’s Tip for Healthy Living

Nathan J. Pettit, DMD, MSD

Dr. Nathan Pettit
Dr. Nathan Pettit

I recently highlighted some updates to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. One of these updates is that eggs are now a recommended protein food, which is a change from the past. Let’s take a look at why eggs can be such a great source of nutrition.

Eggs have been avoided for years due to concerns of high cholesterol content. Those with high levels of blood cholesterol were told to avoid diets high in cholesterol. Interestingly enough, eggs today contain much less cholesterol than they did in the past due to changes in hen feeding in the 1990s. Scientists have also discovered that dietary saturated fat intake affects blood cholesterol levels much more than dietary cholesterol does.

Both yolk and egg whites are loaded with nutrients. The yolk caries more calories and fat than the egg white, but is rich in fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. The egg whites are great sources of selenium, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. They are also rich in the minerals zinc, iron, and copper. Eggs also provide choline and betaine, foods which promote heart health.

Eggs are one of the complete protein foods, meaning they provide all eight essential amino acids in their protein content. These are the amino acids our body cannot make on its own and must depend on our diet to get them. Eggs tend to be filling as well, which can help those seeking to lose weight feel satiated for longer.

In addition, eggs are relatively inexpensive, and they are typically kind to your jaw! For the reasons explained above, eggs come as a highly recommended part of a healthy and balanced diet. The recipes are endless. Here’s a particular favorite of mine are Guacamole Deviled Eggs from SkinnyTaste.com!

Brown Eggs in a Straw Basket

Nathan J. Pettit, DMD, MSD

Help Keep America Beautiful

San Francisco USA American Flag Bay Bridge and Clock tower

The month of April is Keep America Beautiful Month. The non-profit Keep America Beautiful was founded in 1953 with the goal of improving communities by reducing litter and increasing recycling efforts. Their efforts are focused on helping people take action to become active participants in their community.

Every year millions of volunteers pitch in to beautify communities across the country and instill pride in their neighborhoods. The annual benefit of the organization has been estimated at $179 million! But that doesn’t even factor in the social and psychological benefits experienced by everyone in the community.

Keep America Beautiful Month is a great opportunity to get out and get involved. Start by finding your local Keep America Beautiful affiliate. There are currently over 600 affiliates throughout the U.S. If there isn’t one in your community you can help get one started or become an individual supporter.

The Connection Between Volunteering and Lower Stress Levels

VolunteeringJoining Keep America Beautiful and other volunteer organizations isn’t just good for your community – it’s also good for your health. Researchers have discovered that there are many physical and mental benefits connected to volunteering.

One of the biggest benefits, especially for people with TMD, is less stress. A study by Carnegie Mellon University found that people who volunteer reported that they had lower levels of stress after participation. Another study by UnitedHealth found that 78% of people said volunteering lowered their stress levels.

There are a number of possible reasons why volunteering can help people reduce and manage stress. In some cases, volunteering increases physical activity, which can have a positive impact on stress. Volunteers also say that lending a helping hand gives them a sense of purpose, makes them feel healthier and puts them in a better mood.

If you’re feeling frazzled and stressed, pitching in around your community can be an effective way to get things back on track. Try a one-day project to start, and avoid leadership roles if your schedule is already packed. The last thing you want to do is stretch yourself too thin and add to your stress instead of lowering it.


Celebrate National Pecan Day With Pecan Cookie Balls

pecan nuts

April 14th is National Pecan Day! Here in Texas pecans are a big business. We’re the second largest producer in the country (after Georgia), and the pecan tree is also our official state tree. We’ll be celebrating with a variety of pecan-inspired goodies, including these Pecan Cookie Balls.


1 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2 cups finely chopped pecans


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Use an electric mixer at medium speed/power to beat the butter in a large bowl until it’s light and fluffy.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the sugar, the vanilla extract, ground nutmeg and salt to the butter. If you are using cinnamon, add it as well. Beat the mixture until it’s well blended.
  • Stir the flour and pecans into the mixture.
  • Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, and place them one inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. It should make around 48 balls.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the hot cookies from the baking sheets, and immediately roll them in the remaining two cups of sugar.
  • Place the sugared cookies on wire racks to cool. Once they are cool, roll them in the sugar again.

It’s a soft, sweet treat that everyone can eat!

Scroll to Top