Falling for February
Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD
February 2015 is here, already. I love February because it is the month for Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day has always been a special day for me because it gives me an opportunity to pamper my wife and to tell her how much she means to me. Linda and I married one month before I entered dental school in 1967. Our wedding was in a small town just south of Fresno, California, where she grew up. Our honeymoon was the trip from Tulare, California, to Atlanta, Georgia, where I began my dental training at Emory University School of Dentistry. Linda and I have had many wonderful experiences together in our 47 years of marriage. As every married person will tell you, “marriage is hard work,” but it also has tremendous advantages. To be able to share life with someone you truly love and admire is a blessing from God, Himself. Linda and I have had a blessed relationship. I look forward to Valentine’s Day.
This month is a special month for those of us at MedCenter TMJ. We have just launched our new 3-D Cone Beam scanner. This is my third scanner. I purchased my first Cone Beam scanner in 2006. It was brand new technology at that time, and not many units had been produced. I was at a meeting in Puerto Rico when Imaging Sciences, producer of the unit, introduced the new Cone Beam 3-D scanner. Even though it was in its rudimentary and archaic development, I knew that this was the future of dental radiology. So, I went out on a limb and purchased the unit for our office. I think I bought one of the first five units built.
Since that time, Imaging Sciences has continued to improve the quality of their scanner. In 2010, I had an opportunity to upgrade to the latest model, which was called the “Next Generation i-CAT Scanner.” The NxtGen reduced the exposure time and decreased the radiation dosage per scan dramatically. I was extremely pleased with that unit; however, I was at a meeting last summer and found out that there is a computer glitch in the NxtGen scanner which will not allow it to be upgraded to new software. There was nothing wrong with the unit per se. The only issue was the fact that the fast mechanical movements of the unit could not be supported with changes which were coming in new software. To resolve that problem, ISI developed a newer unit, called the FLX unit.
The FLX unit has many advantages over the NxtGen scanner. One advantage is that we can now do a scan with an even lower dosage of exposure. The amount of radiation is equivalent to half of a routine Panorex x-ray you receive in a dental exam. That means that two Cone Beam scans from the FLX unit are equivalent to one Panorex scan. This, to me, is a major selling point. The other advantage is that they have moved the internal computer for the scanner to a freestanding computer outside of the unit. Therefore, we will now be able to upgrade new software for the mechanical movement of the computer without having to replace the entire scanner. This, over a period of time, will save additional expense.
As you can see, I am totally dedicated to the safety and security of my patients. It is well worth whatever expense to ensure the quality of our equipment and safety of our patients. We are now able to acquire a more accurate scan faster than ever before. This unit is approximately 10 times faster than the original unit which I purchased in 2006.
On January 9th, I testified in Austin, Texas, for a landmark case currently before the State of Texas Attorney General. This lawsuit has to do with specialty status of individuals in dentistry who have acquired Diplomate status through Board Certification and have fulfilled the requirements of the Board regarding training, education, and expertise beyond dental school. If judged favorably, those of us who are Diplomates of a Board will be able to refer to ourselves as specialists and can publicize that distinction. Currently, there are limitations within the Texas Dental Practice Act which do not allow Diplomates to advertise their specialty status unless the specialty is certified through the American Dental Association. The American Academy of Orofacial Pain has for the past 20 years attempted to acquire specialty status through applications to the American Dental Association. I have been a part of the application process on two separate occasions. Each attempt has resulted in failure of the ADA to approve Orofacial Pain as a specialty.The suit which has been brought before the State of Texas is one that includes four groups: the American Academy of Implantology, the American Academy of Dental Anesthesiology, the American Academy of Oral Medicine, and the American Academy of Orofacial Pain.
I was pleased with the testimony I gave before the State Attorney General’s legal team. I don’t know where it will go from here, but I think that we have a strong case before the court. I believe there are many advantages to recognizing Orofacial Pain as a specialty. One of those advantages will be better access to insurance coverage for our patients.
As you can see, we are diligently doing everything we can here at MedCenter TMJ to improve the quality of care and the experience that you have in our office. Our team of highly-trained individuals will continue to work to make your experience with us pleasant and productive.
Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD
Dr. Pettit’s Tips for Healthy Living
Nathan J. Pettit, DMD, MSD
Here is a dilemma some of our patients face: We ask them to eat healthy, yet we suggest the avoidance of hard or crunchy foods. Vegetables are an important part of a nutritious diet, supplying important vitamins and phytochemicals. Unfortunately for those with TMJ problems, eating vegetables can be difficult, especially when the vegetables are raw. Boiling or microwaving your vegetables may soften the texture, but this unfortunately destroys many of the important nutrients we want you to get from your healthy choice. How can we soften vegetables while maintaining their nutritional value? The answer is steam.
The vitamins most susceptible to damage from heat are the water soluble vitamins (vitamin B-complex group and vitamin C). These are the vitamins we need to replenish most frequently, as these are the ones our body depletes most quickly. Replacing boiled or microwaved veggies with steamed veggies will preserve your important dose of these vitamins. In addition, the softened texture will discourage over-straining your jaw and chewing muscles.
If you don’t own a steamer, here are a few ways to steam those veggies. One method utilizes a metal colander. Place it in a large pot, fill the pot with just enough water to stay below your veggies, bring the water to a gentle simmer and then cover while it steams. If you don’t have a colander, you can place a heat-proof plate on three balls of aluminum foil, also at the bottom of a large pot. Fill with just enough water to remain below the plate, heat to a simmer and cover.
Vegetables are an excellent source of phytochemicals to help protect the healthy functions of your physiology. Steaming your vegetables will allow you to maximize the nutritional benefit of these foods, while taking care of your temporomandibular joint.
Nathan J. Pettit, DMD, MSD
National Children’s Dental Health Month
Your kids may be busy chomping on chocolates, suckers and other Valentine’s candy, but February is also National Children’s Dental Health Month. The American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors the event each year in an effort to bring attention to the importance of oral health and building good dental care habits at a young age.
In the last 65 years the event has grown from a single day to an entire month that is dedicated to helping parents, teachers and dental professionals get kids onboard with their dental health. This year’s campaign slogan is “Defeat Monster Mouth.” It’s a fun take on teaching kids and teens the importance of taking care of their teeth and gums to fight off monsters like plaque, cavities, bad breath and more.
Visit the ADA website for tons of free resources, including a program planning guide, posters and activity sheets. Resources are available in both English and Spanish.
There’s a Lot for TMD Patients to Love About Valentine’s Day
For some people with TMD, holidays are a reminder that they can’t partake in all the festivities and food. But we see it as an opportunity to push your creative boundaries and celebrate in your own unique way. Instead of stressing about chewy chocolates, use Valentine’s Day to show your heart some love.
February is American Heart Month, so why not make your ticker your sweetheart this year? Many of the best ways to improve heart health also help alleviate TMD problems, and they can be great ways to treat yourself to something special. This Valentine’s Day try:
A Relaxing Stroll – Pick a scenic spot where you can get lost in your thoughts while getting in at least 30 minutes of low-impact cardio. While walking focus on keeping your posture straight to prevent TMD issues later on.
A Massage – Few things in life are as relaxing and reenergizing as a massage. If you’ve been suffering from TMD-related pain, have the masseuse focus on your shoulders, neck and head.
A Sauna Session – The heat from a sauna is an effective way to relax muscles and ease tension, both of which can improve heart health and TMD.
Indulge at the End of the Day – End Valentine’s Day with a decadent dark chocolate dessert. Dark chocolate has been shown to have antioxidants that are good for the heart by boosting blood circulation, lowering blood pressure and reducing bad cholesterol counts.
Recipe of the Month
Mexican Chocolate Pots de Crème
Creamy and custard-like, Mexican Chocolate Pots de Crème is the perfect Valentine’s dessert for people with TMD. It will taste like it took hours to make, but at just 20 minutes this rich recipe is stress-free and delicious.
• 1 1/2 cups of whole milk
• 1/2 cup of heavy cream
• 6 large egg yolks
• 6 oz. Mexican chocolate, finely chopped
• 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• Optional: whipped cream, chocolate shavings or ground cinnamon for serving
1. Bring the whole milk and cream to a simmer in a medium-sized saucepan.
2. Whisk the egg yolks together in a small bowl.
3. Add a half cup of the hot milk/cream combination to the egg yolks, whisking as it’s added.
4. Pour the entire mixture into the saucepan.
5. Whisk constantly while cooking over medium heat until the mixture thickens slightly (approximately 2 minutes).
6. Add the chopped chocolate and remove from heat.
7. Stir the mixture until the chocolate is melted.
8. Use a sieve to strain the mixture before pouring into 6 small bowls.
9. Chill in the refrigerator for 6+ hours.
Recipe Source: Food & Wine