August 2016 Newsletter

Keeping Busy!

Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD

Dr. Ronald Auvenshine
Dr. Ronald Auvenshine

July was a very special month for me. On July 14th, I travelled to New Orleans to help teach a course at LSU School of Dentistry to a group of dentists who have begun a one year-long mini-residency in Orofacial Pain. I will lecture in three of the five sessions that will be held throughout the year, beginning in July of 2016 and ending in June of 2017. The course material will include approximately 120 hours of continuing education credit. This is the equivalent of two years of Masters-level coursework. I am excited about being on the faculty of the Continuum at LSU. As you know, I am a graduate of LSU School of Medicine with a PhD in Human Anatomy. It’s hard to believe that I obtained my PhD 40 years ago. However, time passes quickly and as I look back I am still humbled by the fact that I was allowed the opportunity to undergo graduate study at LSU’s School of Medicine.

I will also give lectures in Session 2 and Session 5. The first session deals with Head and Neck Dissection as well as Embryology Growth and Development. In Session 2, I will lecture on 3-D Radiography, Radiographic Anatomy, and Diagnostic Procedures. In Session 5, I will lecture on Practice Management and how to apply the knowledge that they will have gained through the year to their private practice.

August is always a busy and important month for the Auvenshine’s. Linda and I will celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary on August 4th. Again, it’s hard to believe that we have been married 49 years, but the truth is we tied the knot on August 4, 1967. I consider myself to be the luckiest man in the world to have married my best friend and the finest woman I know. On August 10th, Linda celebrates her birthday and on August 11th, my son Christopher, celebrates his birthday. So needless to say, the first two weeks of August are busy and important days for me. Linda and I are looking forward to the celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary next year. We have already begun to plan for that celebration.

Linda and I will leave for a very brief vacation on August 17th to visit her father in California. I have written in previous newsletters about the fact that Linda’s stepmother, Betty, passed away at the end of May leaving her father, who suffers from dementia, without a caregiver. Linda has been working very closely with one of Betty’s daughters to get her father into a memory care facility in the small town close to where Harvey has lived for the last 85 years. He currently is doing quite well but it does require that we go check on him from time to time just to make sure that everything is ok.

As I look forward to the month of September, I will be presenting a three-hour lecture at LSU School of Dentistry on the 23rd to the LSU of School of Dentistry alumnus at their yearly conference. I have chosen as my topic: “Fads, Facts, and Fallacies: What I have learned about TMD in the last 40 years.” This is a lecture which I have wanted to do for several years now. There are a lot of techniques that when first presented, became fads. Many of them were developed without proper research, were based on misinformation, and therefore became fallacies. But there are some facts that remain true. This is what I want to clarify and delineate as I develop the theme of cautioning practitioners to always be aware of these techniques. Just because it appears on the market doesn’t necessarily mean that it is been properly tested through randomly-controlled trials that are required for evidence-based research.

Dr. Pettit and I are constantly searching the literature and continuing to do our research to add to the literature about the benefits of including TMD and Orofacial Pain in private practice. We are also working diligently toward seeking specialty status in the field of Orofacial Pain so that we can be in a better position to lobby insurance companies to cover this very important treatment. Currently insurance companies don’t feel a need to include TMD coverage simply because there is no specialty in this field. Hopefully, one of these days, we will be successful to gain the specialty status that we deserve.

We will continue to work to provide you, our patient, the best of care found anywhere in the world. Our goal is to be able to help you with this very complex disorder and the help you maintain the integrity of your jaw joints and muscles for the remainder of your life. You are our greatest asset and we will continue to work diligently to provide this quality care for you.

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

As a feature of the MedcenterTMJ newsletter, we want to include a short and practical tip of the month for optimizing nutrition. An important element of healthy living is healthy eating. We have said before, we are what we eat. In the heat of this summer, it is important to remember, we are also what we drink!

Our bodies are made of more than 60% water. Our muscles are 75% water. The liquid we drink can hydrate and nourish, or it can dehydrate and malnourish. Our bodies can go a month or so without food, but only a week without water. Sufficient hydration is important to each aspect of our health. How much water is enough?

We often hear the general rule to drink about 8 glasses of water a day. The truth is that the need for water will vary greatly, depending on your age, weight, physical activity, and climate. The Institute of Medicine recommends a higher level of fluid intake, up to about 15 glasses a day for some men. In Houston, the weather can be hot and humid, leading to perspiration and the need for more water.

It is important to listen to our bodies. If we were to drink whenever we were thirsty, most of us would do just fine. The problem arises when we get so busy that we don’t stop and our body is not heard. When deadlines are approaching and tasks are stacked high, we get to the end of the day without even knowing our fluid balance is compromised. What’s worse, is we frequently replace water with coffee or soda. These are typically high in caffeine, a diuretic that can further dehydrate our system. The result may be fatigue, mood swings, jaw pain, dry skin or mouth, and headaches. How do we know if we are drinking enough? One of the most effective ways to gauge your fluid intake is to note the color of your urine. Aim to drink enough water to cause your urine to be light yellow in color. This, along with listening to your thirst, will help prevent dehydration. Keep in mind that advanced age, physical exertion, illness, temperature, pregnancy, and breastfeeding also increase the need for more water.

Take water with you on the go. Make water accessible at work. Drink water before and after you exercise. Have water at home. Don’t forget to pause and listen to your body’s requests. This will go a long way in optimizing your health.

Nathan J. Pettit, DMD, MSD


Why You Should Start Thinking About Immunizations in August

Flu allergy. Sick girl sneezing in tissue. Health

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). When people think of vaccines and immunization typically the winter season comes to mind first, but waiting that long might put you at risk of catching a bug.

NIAM was created to highlight the importance of vaccines and encourage people to start preparing for the cold and flu season in advance. Every year approximately 36,000 people die of the flu in the U.S. and 200,000 are hospitalized. Despite those very high numbers only 47% of people get the flu vaccine.

Did you know each year the influenza vaccine is different? There are numerous strains of the influenza virus. Doctors decide which strains are most likely to be a problem in the coming months and use that information to create a customized vaccine that protects against 3-4 types of flu viruses. That’s why it’s so important to get the flu vaccine each year.

Immunization is particularly important for:

  • Older individuals
  • Pregnant women
  • Children
  • People with chronic health conditions

It’s extremely important for these groups to get vaccinated early. People in these groups are more susceptible to illness and often have more serious side effects. The flu season begins in October so plan ahead and schedule an appointment in September to get vaccinated!


Tips for Choosing a Reusable Water Bottle

Side view of young redheaded woman wearing hat and drinking from water bottle.

During the summer you may not have to worry about the flu, however dehydration is a serious concern. An easy way to keep from becoming dehydrated is to get a reusable water bottle.

If you have TMD you already know that some options are going to be better than others. Use the tips below to find a bottle that will keep you hydrated without aggravated your TMJs.

  • Opt for steel or BPA-free plastic. Bisphenol A, better known as BPA, is sometimes used in hard plastics and coatings. Experts now warn against containers with BPA because it has been linked to high blood pressure, brain development and behavior issues in fetuses, babies and children, inhibiting the development of eggs and sperm, altered immune function and a number of other conditions.
  • Look for a bottle with drinking options. Bottles with straws are particularly good for people with TMD.
  • Consider all the sizes. Reusable water bottles come in all shapes and sizes. Generally speaking, how and when you plan to use the water bottle will help you decide what size the bottle should be.
  • Choose wide mouth over narrow mouth options. Narrow mouth bottles reduce the potential for spills while drinking, but wide mouth options have a few benefits of their own. They are easier to clean and are compatible with most filters, which makes them easier to refill without removing the cap.

No matter what reusable water bottle you choose, remember the most important thing is to drink up when it’s hot out!


Out of This World Water – We’ll Drink to That!

As Dr. Pettit pointed out, water is essential for healthy living. Unfortunately, many people bypass water because it’s a little boring to taste buds. Well, this fruity recipe will make anyone want to guzzle down a gallon of water. It tastes delicious, is full of antioxidants and will keep you hydrated.

Detox water near the swimming poolINGREDIENTS:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 10-12 mint leaves
  • 1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 peach


The best thing about this recipe is how incredibly simple it is. Even someone with absolutely no experience in the kitchen can easily create this craft water.

  • Chop the mint leaves.
  • Cut the lemons going across the fruit to create circular slices.
  • Cut the peach into wedges
  • Add the mint, lemon slices, peach slices and blueberries to a pitcher of water.
  • Let the mixture steep overnight so the water becomes fully infused.

The mint will add a refreshing twist to the naturally sweetened water. The best part is you can substitute one fruit for another based on what you like and which produce is in season.

Scroll to Top