July Newsletter

Welcome Dr. Pettit!

By Dr. Ronald Auvenshine

Dr. Ronald Auvenshine
Dr. Ronald Auvenshine

For the past several years, many of you have inquired as to my plans for the future. Questions were frequently asked: “Are you ever going to retire?” or “When will you retire?” My answer to those questions has been consistent. I always say that I feel that retirement is to pursue something that you’ve always wanted to do but, because of your work, were not allowed to do. I have been totally blessed in my life to practice my passion. I love being a dentist and treating patients with Craniomandibular Disorders and chronic pain. Since I have always enjoyed my profession, I really have no other interest that I would enjoy more. Therefore, I don’t plan to fully retire. However, I do think it is wise that I provide for my patients the continued excellent care of MedCenter TMJ as a legacy.

For the past five years, I have been putting together a plan for a partial retirement. Linda and I have been married 46 years and we would like to spend more time traveling. In order to be able to do that, I am going to need an associate who will help and eventually take over full responsibility of the practice. I have searched for the past several years to find just the right person with all the qualities necessary for continuing our work here at MedCenter TMJ. I am excited to tell you that I have found that person. His name is Dr. Nathan Pettit. He will join me on July 1, 2014.

Dr. Pettit and I met three years ago when he joined the Prosthodontic Department at the VA Medical Center as a resident in pursuit of board certification. Seventeen years ago, I created an Orofacial Pain Clinic at the VA hospital. This clinic is within the Prosthodontics Department (full mouth reconstruction/ facial reconstruction/ complex cases). This is a three-year program and the VA chooses one resident per year. Therefore, I have three residents rotating through the Facial Pain Clinic at all times. The residents that I have taught over the past seventeen years are excellent students, but Dr. Pettit is the most outstanding. From the very first day we met, there seemed to be a special relationship birthed between the two of us. As his program progressed, he became even more interested in my work. In his second year, I became the director of his Master’s research which led to the production of a thesis and the successful defense of his thesis before the faculty this past April. The research was done in my office and under my direction. We petitioned the Director of the Prosthodontics Program to allow Dr. Pettit to have several three-month rotations in my office. This gave me additional time to train him personally. This past year, I suggested that Dr. Pettit attend and complete the miniresidency of the Institute of the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain. He successfully completed over 110 hours of continuing education in the field of Orofacial Pain. He passed each exam of the four sessions of the Institute and scored higher than any of the other 27 members in his class.

I am proud of Dr. Pettit’s accomplishments. I feel that he is extremely well-qualified to step into my practice and provide the care that you deserve and have grown accustomed to. Dr. Pettit is a man of great faith. He is married to his wife Aubrey. They have two children, Aria, who is 7 years old, and Jeff, who is 4 years old. Dr. Pettit’s curriculum vitae is extremely impressive and I am certain that, as you get to know him, you will love and respect him as I do.

This is a decision that has taken years for me to develop. It has been difficult, but I must be realistic and offer you someone who can continue the care you deserve. Dr. Pettit is that individual. I trust him. I have personally trained him. I have watched him mature as a clinician. I feel totally blessed that God has allowed me to “handpick” and train the individual who will succeed me in my practice. This is the basis and heartbeat of MedCenter TMJ.

The partnership will be a long transition. It will be at least five years in the making. I’m hopeful that my health will continue to be strong so that I will be able to practice for many more years to come.

I appreciate your kindness and your support. I urge you to support Dr. Pettit as I continue training him in the coming years. I know that you will grow to love him.

Dr. Pettit
Dr. Pettit

Ronald C. Auvenshine DDS, PhD, PC


Summer months mean summer vacation! Are you prepared this year? We’ve compiled some absolutely essential advice to ensure your summer vacation goes off without a hitch.

Carry a list of important phone numbers with you. Include in this list the names of family and friends you may need to contact in the event of an emergency. Also include the name of your doctor and dentist. That way if medical emergencies arise, you will be prepared. If possible, program these numbers into your cell phone.

Plan in advance. Make sure you have booked your airfare, hotel, and restaurant reservations well in advance. You will likely get better travel deals this way, and you can avoid the stress of last minute planning. But that being said, be flexible. Never regard your vacation itinerary as one that is carved in stone. Plans can change. Unforeseen events can occur. Be spontaneous enough to go with the flow for a more relaxing vacation.


Give yourself plenty of time to pack. Don’t create a whirlwind situation. Pack your bags with three specific categories in mind: clothing, hygiene and TMJ care. Your TMJ care kit could include a heating pad or cold packs, a bamboo pillow, medication, and anything else that helps you relax and unwind.

Don’t forget to read our July 22nd blog post for even more helpful travel tips!


Don’t get lazy in the kitchen during the lazy days of summer. Did you know that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that food-borne illnesses dramatically increase during the summer months compared to the rest of the year? That’s because bacteria spreads faster when foods are prepared in warmer temperatures. The FDA offers several suggestions to ensure you don’t fall prey to food poisoning this summer.

First, you should be using a meat thermometer to make sure your meat is thoroughly cooked. Hot foods need to be maintained at a minimum of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid eating foods that require extremely cool temperatures. It’s harder to maintain cold conditions in the summer, unless plenty of ice is packed for the picnic. Properly cooled foods should only reach a maximum temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Always use clean utensils. If in doubt, wash it. If it’s disposable plastic picnic fare, throw it away.

For TMD patients, classic summer foods may be fraught with dangers. Look out for the following hazards when it comes to fruits, side dishes and cook-out meats:

If watermelon is being served at a summer picnic, make sure you don’t grab a huge slice that includes the rind. Instead, dice your watermelon into small, TMJ-friendly, bite-sized morsels. Keep an eye out for seeds and gently remove them from your serving. Watch out for white seeds, too. These tend to be smaller and trickier to spot, but they can be equally as painful if accidentally bitten into.

Potato salad is a must for summer dinner tables. If someone else is bringing the potato salad this year, examine it carefully before indulging. Make sure to pick out crunchy hard pieces like celery or sesame seeds.

Is barbecue on the menu? Watch out for bones, which are commonly present in chicken and ribs.

Recipe of the Month

The Fourth of July is about fireworks and grilling, and the ultimate summer picnic food is potato salad. This month, we have a fun, zesty recipe that will blow away the potato salad competition. Its defining characteristic is a dollop of both mustard and horseradish, which gives it a lively kick. This recipe requires soft boiled potatoes that are easy on the jaw. However, make sure to finely dice your potatoes into small bits!

4 cups cooked potatoes
2 hard cooked eggs, chopped
¼ cup green onions, finely sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup Miracle Whip
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
¼ teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon horseradish
Dash of green Tabasco
or red pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

OPTIONAL: For TMD patients, add ½ cup chopped celery, but only if tolerated. Otherwise omit celery.

1. Simmer potatoes until fork tender. Remove skins and cut into cubes.
2. In a bowl, combine celery, potatoes, onions, vinegar and seasonings. Toss lightly to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, mix mustard and Miracle Whip. Stir in potatoes.
4. Refrigerate before serving

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