December 2016 Newsletter

It’s Christmas time again!

Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD

Dr. Ronald Auvenshine

Wow! It seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating Christmas 2015. As they say, time really flies when you’re having fun. I am so blessed that my career has been centered on a field with which I am passionately in love. Every day is an exciting day for me. I can truthfully say that I have never arisen in the morning regretting having to go to work. I look forward to my days and the privilege of treating you, our patient. It has been a difficult transition for me to cut back on my workload and I want to thank you for your patience in allowing Dr. Pettit the opportunity of stepping in and assuming a greater role in office procedures.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year, so many childhood memories. I remember the thrill of waking up on Christmas morning, seeing the special gifts that Santa left under the tree and the joy of finding just the right present and opening it, knowing that Santa always knew best.

This year, Linda and I will have Christmas with my son and his family in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We will close the office from December 23 to January 3. This gives time for my staff to enjoy their families and the Holidays, as well. My hat is off again to such a wonderful staff. They make the delivery of care so much easier here at MedCenter TMJ. They are extremely well-trained and dedicated to making sure that your experience here is of the greatest quality and greatest success. I hope that you will tell them how much you appreciate them during this Holiday season. It would mean so much to me and to them.

Beginning in January 2017, Dr. Pettit will assume the majority management position of the practice. I will remain with my current schedule working three days a week, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I will now have the opportunity to take more time off so that Linda and I can do some traveling that we have postponed for many years. Due to the fact that she will be turning the financial management of the practice over to Dr. and Mrs. Pettit, Linda will be able to retire. For our remaining years, Linda and I will assume more of an advisory role for practice management. Linda is very excited about this. She is a loyal wife, mother, and employee of this practice for 38 years. Most of my success I can attribute to having married the most wonderful woman in the world.

As we look forward to 2017, I am excited about several events. I am the Program Chairman for the American Equilibration Society’s annual meeting in Chicago in February. My Co-Chairman, Dr. Andy Miles, and I have been working diligently for the past three years to put this program together. We have planned three days of wonderful education for dentists around the world who want to learn more about the biomechanics of jaw function as well as Orofacial pain. I will also teach an all-day dissection course of the head and neck as a pre-conference event. This is a new course for the AES and I’m excited to be a part of it. In March, Dr. Pettit and I will attend the annual Parker E. Mahan Study Club meeting in New Orleans. Dr. Mahan was my professor at Emory University School of Dentistry and the person that I credit as my mentor in the field of Orofacial Pain. Other things will be happening throughout the year. We will be reporting these events in the upcoming newsletters. Stay tuned!

Just a word of personal appreciation: I thank each one for your loyalty and commitment to your TMJ care. Together we form a magnificent healthcare team. Without your compliance, the success we enjoy would never come about. I am not going to be leaving the practice anytime soon. I will continue my current schedule for 2017; but more than likely in 2018 and 2019, I will cut back to just two days a week. After that, it all depends upon my health. As long as I am healthy, I will continue to practice. This practice is my passion and I am totally dedicated to making your healthcare the very best possible.

I wish each one of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. God bless you and God bless America.


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

Dr. Pettit’s Tip for Healthy Living

Dr. Nathan Pettit
Dr. Nathan Pettit

Our best wishes and hopes go to you and your families this Holiday season. Christmas is a wonderful time of year to reflect on life and the relationships that matter most in our lives. Since it is a religious time for many, I hope to share a few thoughts on the importance of physical health as it relates to spiritual health.

Life is a gift. From holy books we learn that each of us was created in the image of God. Each of us has a body, which was bought with a price, and is a temple of God, in which the Spirit of God dwelleth (See 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20). How we treat our physical frame will affect our spiritual ability. Both elements are intimately connected and dependent on one another. Doing your part to take care of your health will free your spirit and magnify the light within you.

Here are a few suggestions to encourage a healthy life-style.

  • Participate in regular physical activity. This can be as simple as taking a walk daily, choosing to use the stairs, or participating in water aerobics.  Activity strengthens the tissues of your body and primes your mental and spiritual well-being.
  • Use moderation in your diet. Eat a variety of fresh foods and avoid overly processed products with little nutritional value. Do not be extreme in your dieting. Find a balanced approach and allow yourself some time as you transition to healthier food choices.
  • Limit the use of stimulants or other potentially addictive substances. You will likely pay the price later for a seeming convenience now.
  • Get high quality rest. Prepare yourself for sleep. As much as possible, regulate your hours to give yourself the time needed for rejuvenation and healing that can only come during your sleep.

Living with a temporomandibular disorder can be aggravating. We may even think it is keeping us from maintaining the healthy life-style we want. MedCenter TMJ is here to provide you the support and tools you need to manage your jaw pain, so you can begin with the rest of your life. Each new day is a new beginning. We wish you a very happy Holiday season!

Nativity scene, Munich

Smart Strategies for Sneaking in More Sleep

Attractive Middle Aged Woman Asleep In Bed

Most nights the majority of American adults don’t get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep. During the busy Holiday season, right when we need extra energy, we’re even less likely to get enough shuteye.

Fight the Holiday fatigue with a few easy tips that can help you get a little extra sleep:

  • Create a sleep schedule. It should include when you plan to get ready for bed, when you’ll get in bed and when you’ll wake up.
  • Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier than normal.
  • Go to bed 10 minutes earlier than normal.
  • Shut down all screens 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Don’t skip your exercise routine – moderate physical activity can help you sleep better.
  • Make your bedroom as cool, quiet and dark as possible.
  • Keep nighttime snacks small so eating doesn’t disrupt your sleep.
  • Create a nighttime routine to help the brain get into sleep mode.

Because stress may be creeping up, protecting your teeth during sleep is more important now than ever. If you have a mouth guard make it part of your nightly routine so it isn’t forgotten.

How to Get Through Holiday Dinner Parties Without Overeating


During the Holiday season many people throw their diet right out the door. Between the traditional rich treats and Holiday parties it can be hard not to overindulge. For people who manage TMD, overeating can have painful consequences that go beyond an expanding waistline.

But there’s no reason you can’t enjoy the food festivities in moderation. Keep the three tips below in mind and you can indulge without overdoing it.

Eat before going to Holiday parties. When we’re hungry we’re more likely to overeat. Before heading to a Holiday event have a snack. Make it a protein-rich, fiber filled snack to stave off hunger.

Put vegetables and fruits on your plate first. If you fill your plate with healthy options there will be less space for the meats and sweets. Aim to cover at least half your plate with fruits and veggies, a quarter with complex carbs and a quarter with protein.

Start the evening with a low-cal beverage. Instead of reaching for a glass of wine or appetizers when you first get to the party, pour yourself a glass of water or unsweetened tea. You’ll fill up your stomach without consuming a ton of calories.


Holiday Meats Everyone Can Eat – Swedish Meatballs

Meatballs and sauce

Food plays a large role in the celebrations and memories that we make with loved ones during the Holidays. Unfortunately, some of the traditional Christmas dishes aren’t always easy to eat.

The succulent, flavorful meats can be tough to eat (literally) for people who have TMD. Some people have to sit out the main course if they don’t want to suffer later. Luckily, a number of crafty kitchen gurus have created Holiday recipes with meat so tender you may take a few extra bites.

You already have gravy for the turkey and dressing, so why not make Swedish meatballs as well? It’s a popular Holiday dish in Sweden, and the savory meatballs won’t overwork your joints. They’re also a great option for potlucks and buffets since the meatballs can be kept warm in the crockpot.


  • 2 slices day-old white bread, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2/3 pound ground beef
  • 1/3 pound finely ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, or as needed
  • 2 cups beef broth, or as needed
  • 1/2 (8 ounce) container sour cream


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • Put the breadcrumbs into a small bowl and mix in the cream. Allow the mixture to stand until the breadcrumbs absorb the cream, about 10 minutes.
  • While the bread is soaking, melt 1 teaspoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it turns light brown, stirring continuously (about 10 minutes). Place onion into a mixing bowl. Mix it with the ground beef, ground pork, egg, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, nutmeg, allspice and ginger. Lightly mix in the breadcrumbs and cream.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Pinch off about 1 1/2 tablespoon of the meat mixture per meatball, and form into balls. Place the meatballs into the skillet and cook just until the outsides are brown (about 5 minutes). Insides of the meatballs will still be pink.
  • Place the browned meatballs into a baking dish, pour in chicken broth and cover with foil.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until the meatballs are tender (about 40 minutes). Remove from the oven and move the meatballs to a serving dish.
  • To make brown gravy, pour pan drippings into a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the flour into the pan drippings until smooth and gradually whisk in enough beef broth to total about 2 1/2 cups of liquid. Bring the gravy to a simmer, whisking constantly until thick (about 5 minutes).
  • Just before serving, whisk in the sour cream. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Now you’re ready to serve the gravy with the meatballs.

Happy Holidays from the entire team at MedCenter TMJ!


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