April Newsletter 2015

Have a Blessed Easter!

Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD

Dr. Ronald Auvenshine
Dr. Ronald Auvenshine
Dr. Pettit
Dr. Nathan Pettit

April is a very special month for me.The major event in April is the celebration of the Passion of Christ. As a Christian, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ marks the credential of our faith. It is a very special time because it reminds us of the price that Christ paid for the redemption of the sins of the world and for us as individuals. Dr. Pettit and I both share the pride of this Christian Holiday, and we both choose to spend this special weekend with our families.

The month of April will finally give me a little breather.The last three months have been the busiest months of my career. I have chronicled the events during this time period in previous newsletters to keep you updated on the exciting things we are doing here at MedCenter TMJ. The opportunities that have been afforded to me and Dr. Pettit have been extremely bountiful. We have traveled from Pennsylvania to Chicago to LA to New Orleans in a period of three months. We have had the opportunity to share our knowledge with our colleagues across the country, and to receive some of the finest teaching that I have been privileged to receive to date.

We have a trip planned to Sacramento, California, on the 16th, 17th and 18th of April. We will be attending a course given by a very close friend, Dr. David Hatcher. Dr. Hatcher is a DDS, PhD and dental radiologist. He is one of the finest dental radiologists in the world. Dr. Hatcher contacted me last fall and asked me to participate as an author in his upcoming textbook. He invited me to write 14 chapters in that book. The topic that I have been asked to cover is the anatomy of the TMJ. Dr. Hatcher will add the radiology photos of the particular anatomical region in each chapter. We are on a very strict time schedule and since I would need help to complete this project, I invited Dr. Pettit to co-author the chapters. Since November, Dr. Pettit and I have been working diligently to provide Dr. Hatcher and his editors with the content for his textbook. This is a very exciting project for both Dr. Pettit and me. I have never participated in anything like this before, and I have looked for an opportunity such as this to leave a lasting memoir of my anatomical background.

Dr. Pettit and I will also be finishing up our latest articles on the Hyoid bone. I gave a lecture to the American Equilibration Society in February in which I featured our Hyoid research. We are both excited about the response we received from that lecture in Chicago, and it served only to motivate us to get these articles published so that more dentists will be exposed to this valuable information. We will soon embark upon new research dealing with volumetric studies of the airway before and after treatment with an intraoral appliance, designed similarly to the one that you are wearing.

As we look forward to May, both Dr. Pettit and I will be traveling to Denver to attend the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain. I have another presentation before the Academy of Orofacial Pain, again dealing with the anatomy of the airway and the importance of swallowing in the maintenance of the airway. These are subjects of extreme importance to dentists who treat and manage sleep disorder breathing problems in their patients. It is always thrilling to attend the AAOP meetings. This is an organization of which I was President in 1996 and 1997. I have a close kindredship to the people in the Academy, and it’s always a pleasure to be able to spend a weekend with my dear friends.

As you can see, there are several new faces here at MedCenter TMJ. Following the resignation of a few highly valued members of our staff who decided to make career changes, we have been given the opportunity to begin to rebuild our team. Our new additions are in the process of being trained, and as you meet them and come in contact with them, we ask that you encourage them as they pursue their training in this field. At MedCenter TMJ we are always striving to provide you with the highest level of care. It is our goal to serve you as our patient. Both our doctors and our entire staff continue to take courses so that we will be on the leading edge of technology and knowledge to provide you with not only the best treatment, but the best option choices for your care.

In the forthcoming editions of our newsletter, I will be providing you new information on “essential oils.” This is a method of pain management and muscle relaxation therapy that I find very fascinating. Recently I have had several patients who have reported tremendous improvement in their TMD symptoms by using essential oils in combination with the therapy that we recommend here at MedCenter TMJ. As I read more about the mechanism of action and the therapeutic benefits, I am impressed with the healing qualities of these oils and their ability to circumvent the necessity for taking pain medication. We invite you to ask more questions regarding essential oils and their possible use in your treatment.

You are our most important asset. It is our goal and passion to make your experience here at MedCenter TMJ the very best it can be. It is an honor to be given the opportunity to treat you.

Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD

Dr. Pettit’s Tips for Healthy Living

Nathan J. Pettit, DMD, MSD

foods-to-avoidAs a feature of the MedCenter TMJ newsletter, we include a tip of the month for optimizing nutrition. An important element of healthy living is healthy eating. Many of you have inquired about our “foods to avoid” list in our treatment booklets. You may be wondering why certain foods are on the list, or if avoiding these foods is a permanent lifestyle change to be made. I will briefly address each of these concerns.

Why is there a “foods to avoid” list?

We believe that the symptoms of temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) are multifactorial. Jaw alignment, occlusion, structural problems, muscle tension, sleep habits, parafunction, airway, social stressors, chemical disturbances, diet, and many other factors all play a part in the symptoms of chronic pain. For many of us, certain ingredients in foods act as triggers for headaches or inflammatory reactions. These ingredients may include high levels of amines, caffeine, or chemicals used in the processing or preservation of food. These can cause vascular reactions or change body chemistry in a way which activates other pain mechanisms. For example, cheese is on our list of foods to avoid. Cheese contains high levels of amines. Amine-sensitive individuals can get headaches, rashes, and blood pressure elevation with consumption of cheese. There is also potential for dairy allergy or lactose intolerance.

Will you have to avoid these foods indefinitely?

During the first 6 months of treatment, we aim to limit all disturbances which may be contributing to your symptoms. Each of us may not have the same susceptibilities depending on our biology and physiology. Because we do not know every contributing factor in each individual case, we begin by widely limiting the most common disturbances. This allows us to reach the maximum possible benefit during our initial phase of therapy (usually a period of about 6 months). Once this benefit has been reached, we can begin to titrate those things we have avoided. Many of us will be able to slowly introduce the avoided foods again to see how we do. By learning our limitations, we become effective managers of our disorder. Remember, management is the key to successful, symptom-free living!

Nathan J. Pettit, DMD, MSD

The Good and Bad of Stress Awareness Month

April is Stress Awareness Month, so we are dedicating all four of this month’s blog posts to taking a closer look at the connections between stress and TMJ pain. Stress has been called ‘the silent killer’ because many of the worst side effects aren’t evident until years down the road.

But stress is a part of everyday life and can’t always be avoided. Experts also note that some stress can actually be good for us. This stress is referred to as eustress. It’s important that we understand how to identify good stress versus bad stress. Characteristics include:

stressGood Stress

  • Short-term
  • Motivates you to reach a goal
  • Propels you forward
  • Connected to something that excites you
  • You have control over the outcome

Bad Stress

  • Prolonged, chronic
  • Trying to meet unrealistic expectations
  • Makes you feel helpless or out of control
  • Feeling overwhelmed

How we react and recover from stress is a determining factor in how positively or negatively it impacts our health. Instead of trying to avoid all stress, use the good stressors as practice for handling bouts with bad stress.

Taking Part in the Easter Feast

easter-dinner-settingAre you stressed out about getting everything ready for the Easter holiday? Are you worried about your TMD getting in the way of the celebration? Relax and remember that this is a time to celebrate life, loved ones and the resurrection. By putting things in this positive perspective, we can turn the challenge of creating an Easter feast everyone will enjoy into a good stress situation.

The term feast refers to a religious observance, but in relation to Easter it has literal meanings as well. Shortly before his arrest and crucifixion, Jesus Christ and his disciples came to Jerusalem to observe Passover. They had Passover supper together, and the event became the inspiration for Leonardo da Vinci’s painting ‘The Last Supper’.

Taking part in the Easter feast with family and friends is an important part of the holiday. Even if eating ham and lamb is out of the question, taking part in the preparation and conversation at the table will still be an uplifting experience. Easter can also be an opportunity to share your favorite TMJ-friendly foods with your loved ones. By participating in the feast instead of avoiding it you can take control of a potentially stressful occasion and turn it into a positive experience.

Traveling for the Easter Holiday?
HotHands Hand Warmers provide a source of portable heat for your therapy while you are traveling. These small pouches are easy to pack away in a purse or bag, and are completely safe to carry around with you. Just shake the air-activated pouch for a few seconds and you’ll have up to 10 hours of heat.


Easter Custard Recipe

Eggs are the culinary superstar of Easter. We devil them, we boil them, we hide them. If you’re looking for a new way to incorporate eggs into the Easter feast, why not try a custard?

Custard pie is a delectable,TMJ-friendly dessert, and eggs are the key ingredient. The rich taste belies how easy and quick the cooking process is for this pie. In less than an hour you can have everything prepped, cooked and ready to enjoy.

Egg Custard Tart With NutmegCustard Ingredients
• 9” piecrust (unbaked)
• 3 eggs beaten
• 1 egg white
• 2 ½ cups scalded milk
• ¾ cup of sugar (white)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ¼ teaspoon of salt
• ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Custard Cooking Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. Mix the beaten eggs, vanilla extract, sugar and salt together.
3. Blend in the scalded milk.
4. Brush the surface of the piecrust with the egg white to keep it crisp.
5. Pour the mixture into the piecrust.
6. Sprinkle nutmeg on top.
7. Bake for 30-35 minutes.


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