Happy New Year!
By Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD
2015! The beginning of a new year. Happy New Year to everyone! Are you a resolutions type of person? I like to set goals for the New Year. If you like, you can call them New Year’s resolutions. I prefer the term goals. One of my goals this coming year is to continue to mature the practice and enhance Dr. Pettit’s skills and techniques. I am so excited to have him as my associate and after six months of his presence in the practice, I can truthfully say that he is a person of great skill, intelligence, and compassion. I encourage you to get to know Dr. Pettit. I’m sure when you do, you will come to love and appreciate him as a skilled practitioner in TMD and orofacial pain.
This year is going to be a very important year for all of us here at MedCenter TMJ. We will be adding a new Cone Beam imaging unit. I know that the current unit I have is more than adequate. It is a marked improvement over my original CT scanner, but with each generation of technology, improvements have been made that make it almost imperative to upgrade. One of the improvements to the new i-CAT imaging scanner is the fact that the amount of radiation for each scan has been further cut in half. Now, instead of an 8-second scan, we have a 4-second scan. The amount of radiation exposure is approximately half that of a Panorex x-ray you might get at your general dentist’s office. The quality of the scan is greatly improved because now we are able to capture more pixels into the dicom file. What this means is that the image will be clearer and the amount of exposure will be decreased. With this as an improvement, I could hardly resist upgrading my current model for the new unit. My first CT scanner had a 22-second exposure, and now we’re down to 4-second exposure. There has literally been an explosion in development of equipment and materials in dentistry over the past 10 years. It is such an exciting time to be a part of this field. Of course, one of our commitments to you here at MedCenter TMJ is that we will provide you the very best care for your disorder. This includes your safety, as well as convenience.
In October 2014, we added a new software technology to our practice. It is called “Tekscan.” Through Tekscan, we now have the ability to record individual pressures on each tooth as a person clenches. Some of you have already experienced Tekscan and know what I am talking about. If you have not had that opportunity, please feel free to ask for a demonstration. You may be interested in having a bite analysis using Tekscan.
Dr. Pettit and I continue to do research on the Hyoid bone. We are in the final stages of writing three scientific papers on the subject. As many of you know, this was the focus of Dr. Pettit’s Master’s research. Our study on what was once a very obscure anatomical structure is now being brought to the forefront of interest in both TMD and Sleep Medicine. Dr. Pettit and I are excited to be the first researchers in the dental field to address the importance of the Hyoid bone in mastication, swallowing, and breathing. Look for more on this subject throughout 2015.
Dr. Pettit and I will be traveling to attend meetings this year. To kick off 2015, I will be speaking to a large study group in Pennsylvania. This presentation will be on the 16th of January. My subject will be Diagnosis, Treatment, and Management of TMD. In February, I will be speaking at the American Equilibration Society meeting in Chicago. My topic will be the anatomy of the airway and will showcase some of our work on the Hyoid bone. This is a meeting that has been going on for over 75 years. It is an austere group of dental practitioners, and it is a real honor to be asked to speak at their meeting. This will be my third time to speak before the American Equilibration Society.
As you can see, we continue to be busy here at MedCenter TMJ. The reason is because we love what we do, and we want to provide you, our patient, with the most up-to-date and technologically accurate treatment for TMD and orofacial pain. You are our greatest asset and we will continue to strive to earn your confidence as we continue our pursuit of excellence.
Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD
Dr. Pettit’s Tips for Healthy Living
Happy New Year! Recently, one of our patients thanked us for helping him find relief from jaw pain and headaches. He was grateful for the 80 percent improvement of his symptoms since beginning his therapy with us. The remaining 20 percent hadn’t cleared up until just recently. The patient shared with us his decision to remove gluten entirely from his diet. Since abstaining from gluten, the patient has been headache-free and resolved of the remaining twenty percent of his symptoms. How could removing gluten from his diet help this patient gain the extra relief he needed? What is it about gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, buckwheat, rye, and barley. It contributes to the tough and elastic character of dough. It is one of the most consumed proteins on earth, and humans have been eating it for thousands of years. One percent of the population has gluten-induced enteropathy (also known as celiac disease), which is an allergic response to this protein, leading to changes in the surface of the small intestine and malabsorption. Even the smallest amount of gluten can trigger a powerful reaction. For those of our patients with celiac disease, we have investigated and been reassured our polymer used to fabricate your oral appliance is manufactured 100 percent gluten-free.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a new diagnosis coined for those who report a decrease in distress with a gluten-free diet. This is reported to affect over half of the adult population. Scientists are actively searching for the reason gluten sensitivity has become so prevalent in today’s world. Theories are numerous with no universally accepted answer. Some believe the genetic engineering of wheat is to blame. Others attribute it to increased gluten added during commercial processing for better shelf life. Some say the microbiota of our gut have changed over time due to changes in our environment. Another theory blames the distress from eating gluten on the osmotic carbohydrates frequently associated with it. These carbohydrates pull water into the digestive tract, causing bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
Do we recommend our patients go gluten-free? We think it is wise to consider every aspect of our lifestyle when confronting chronic pain. Certainly, diet plays a role in well-being, metabolism, and blood chemistry. Decreasing your intake of gluten may be the last thread you need to complete your safety net, protecting you from chronic pain. Whether the issue is with gluten or not, cutting back on foods high in gluten will reduce your consumption of other high caloric foods, such as breads, beer, and related refined carbohydrates. Substituting starches with foods like lentils and quinoa will also provide health benefits.
Each of us can benefit from maintaining healthy choices in food and drink. We encourage you to put health in the forefront of your priorities this New Year. Strive for consistency and moderation. Good health will not only bless your life, but also the lives of those around you.
Nathan J. Pettit, DMD, MSD
Tips for Making New Year’s Resolutions a Reality
Last month we shared a post on our blog with New Year’s resolution ideas for people with TMJ disorders. To help everyone make those resolutions a reality this year, we’re sharing our top tips for following through and meeting goals. We’ll also take a closer look at two of the most popular resolutions for TMJ patients.
Foolproof Tips for Achieving New Year’s Goals
- Only set one or two goals at a time – The more you set at once the less likely you are to reach any of them.
- Plan out the steps you will take to reach your goal – Having a plan in place will increase your odds of getting to the desired end result.
- Create milestone mini-goals – Once you have a plan in place, it’s easy to identify the smaller accomplishments along the way. Those are your milestones. Focusing on the next milestone will make your goals more manageable.
- Have an accountability partner – Studies have shown that people with accountability partners are more likely to reach their goals. Find your accountability partner, then line up regular accountability meetings and check-ins that work for both of your schedules.
- Track your progress – Keeping track of your progress will help you make necessary adjustments, and seeing how much you’ve accomplished will motivate you to keep going.
Eating Right With TMD
Eating right is one of the top resolutions for people in general, not just those with TMJ disorders. When you’re fired up at the beginning of the year you may be highly motivated, but the biggest hurdle is making it a long-term habit to prepare healthy, TMJ-friendly foods. Hopefully these tips will help you stick with it.
- Get kitchen tools that make blending soups, smoothies and shakes easier. In particular, look for tools that are easy to clean and blend foods quickly.
- Use seasonal fruits and veggies. This will help you get the freshest ingredients and add variety to keep things interesting.
- Plan out your weekly meals ahead of time. When you plan ahead and make grocery-shopping lists, you’re more likely to follow through on healthy eating.
Getting Fit With TMD
Statistic Brain reported that staying fit is one of the top five New Year’s resolutions of all time. While you’re working on staying fit, you can get your jaw in shape as well.
- Stretching – It’s always advisable to stretch before working out to warm up the muscles. Incorporate a few jaw stretches pre- and post-workout as well to keep the mandible flexible and to ease tension.
- Posture – Poor posture can have many adverse effects on your health, including your TMJ. Shape magazine reports that stretching is actually one way of improving your posture because it eases muscle strain. Strengthening back muscles can also help.
- Recovery – All of your muscles, including your jaw muscles, need recovery after working out. For your jaw, try massage and heat therapy to relax and improve the condition of the mandible muscles.
- Rest – Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do for your entire body. Aim to get around seven hours of shut-eye and sleep on your back. This is the best sleeping position for people with TMJ.
A Gluten-Free Recipe
Even if you don’t have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, going gluten-free every so often can be a healthy and delicious way to add variety to your eating routine. The gluten-free movement has lead to a lot of inventive and delicious recipes in recent years. Fortunately, getting rid of gluten makes many dishes TMJ-friendly as well!
One of our favorite gluten-free, TMJ-friendly recipes that we recently came across was this Crustless Spinach Quiche on Food.com. It’s a great main dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner and takes less than an hour to cook. The recipe is also easy to modify if you want to add in a few additional ingredients.
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed
• 5 eggs
• 3/4 lb muenster cheese, grated
• Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Spray 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.
3. Heat oil in skillet over medium/high heat. Add onion and saute until browned (5 minutes).
4. Add spinach; cook until excess moisture evaporates. Let cool.
5. Beat eggs in bowl. Add cheese.
6. Stir egg-cheese mixture into onion-spinach mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired.
7. Turn into pie pan, spreading top evenly.
8. Bake until top is browned and tester (such as a toothpick) comes out clean, 40-45 minutes.
Recipe Source: Food.com