June 2016 Newsletter

Summer is here!

Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD

Dr. Ronald Auvenshine
Dr. Ronald Auvenshine

The month of May was supposed to be a “kickback and relax” month for the Auvenshine’s. However, we received some very sad news at the beginning of the month that my wife’s step-mother had passed away. She left behind my father-in-law, who is 91 years old and suffering from dementia. They live in the San Joaquin Valley, California, in a small town halfway between Fresno and Bakersfield. My wife was called to come babysit her father until after the funeral. She was then charged with the responsibility of finding a memory care facility for her father. Due to the difficulty of California officials to respond in a timely manner, what should have taken a week to 10 days, wound up taking three weeks to accomplish. Out of frustration, my wife called and asked me to come and assist her. Needless to say, three of the four weeks of May were the most stressful days we have had in many years. Thankfully, we were able to find a wonderful care facility for her father and we are now assured that his needs are being met to their fullest extent.

I want to thank my partner, Dr. Pettit, and my wonderful staff for their kindness in carrying on the practice in my absence. Their attention to details was outstanding and I am assured that whenever I am away, your needs will be met.

May, however, ended on a wonderful note. Linda and I invited Dr. Romero and his wife to attend the Indianapolis 500. This event was held on Memorial Day and was the 100 year anniversary. There is a marvelous history to the Indianapolis 500. I encourage each of you go through the Indy 500 Museum at the racetrack whenever you happen to be in Indianapolis. It is definitely a wonderful museum and whether you’re a car enthusiast or not, you will enjoy seeing history unfold before your very eyes.

As we look forward to the month of June, there will be some changes which we are initiating starting in Mid-June and first of July. There will be a slight change in our schedule. We will be starting our day at 8:30am rather than beginning at 8:00am and ending our day at 3:30pm. We also will have more Friday’s open for seeing patients on recall. This is an idea that Dr. Pettit suggested, which I think is very good and one that deserves experimentation. As of mid-June, I will be coming in at 9:00am and working till 3:30pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. I only plan to work on Thursday, on a very limited basis, and I will be here one Friday a month to help with recalls and Team Building.

I am currently finished with my chapter on Embryology of the Temporomandibular Joint for Dr. Gremillion’s textbook. This is a project that has been a lot of fun for me because it has given me an opportunity to showcase my dissertation research which was completed forty-years ago. The thing that really excites me is that this research is just as viable today as it was 40 years ago. In fact, I feel that its impact is even more significant now than it was then. The study which I did on immobilization of the temporomandibular joint during fetal growth stands as a hallmark in evoked and spontaneous movement research. I do plan to publish my dissertation within the next year. The work that I have done on the embryology chapter has motivated me to dig back in the annals of my personal history and publish work that I did. I should have published this long ago.

Dr. Pettit and I have meetings scheduled in July. Dr. Pettit will begin the year-long Continuum at LSU School of Dentistry in New Orleans. This is a program created by Dr. Gremillion which consists of about 120 hours of continuing education in orofacial pain. I am proud of the fact that Dr. Pettit is willing to pursue this mini-residency to gain more knowledge in the treatment of complex cases. I will team-teach in three different sessions of the five session program of the Continuum for 2016-2017.

As you can see we continue to be actively involved in learning and pursuing knowledge that is applicable directly to your care. It is our goal here at MedCenter TMJ to provide you with the most up-to-date and state-of-the-art treatment that you can find anywhere in the world. You are our greatest asset and we will continue to work diligently to provide excellent care.

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

The summer is here and many of us have a change in schedule. This will affect where and what we choose to eat. A critical part of our general health is our dental health. The foods we choose and how we eat them can have a lasting effect on our teeth and gums. This month I will suggest a few important nutrition tips to promote your dental health.

The first suggestion may seem obvious. Limit your intake of sugar! Oral bacteria thrive on carbohydrates. In processing the sugar, they create an acid which erodes tooth enamel and leads to dental decay. The length of time the acid is in the mouth is important to the disease process. The longer the acidity is present, the more damage is done. This leads us to our next suggestion.

Avoid sticky foods! Sticky foods will naturally remain on our tooth surfaces longer. This increases the time with which the bacteria can access the sugar, and the amount of time the acids have to work on your tooth. For this reason, it is wise to eat sticky foods as part of a meal, as opposed to a stand-alone snack. Eating sticky food in a meal helps promote natural cleansing of tooth surfaces from the other foods consumed.

Citrus fruits have excellent health benefits, as we’ve discussed before. However, these too should be eaten with a meal so the acidity does not have a chance to erode our teeth. Eating foods rich in calcium & phosphorus can limit acidity of the saliva, which is another important element of oral health. Remember to drink plenty of water to encourage a wet and healthy mouth. Vitamin C & vitamin D will also encourage healthy teeth and gums.

One food of particular concern is popcorn. Avoid biting heavily on popcorn. I give this suggestion not only to protect your jaw, but also to protect your gums. Pieces of the shell have an amazing ability to slip between your gums and your teeth, sometimes undetected for days until the gum becomes inflamed. Practice effective flossing techniques if you can’t give this snack up.

Hopefully these tips will help you make healthy snacking choices this summer. Protecting the health of your teeth and jaws is our highest priority! We thank you for trusting us with the care of your TMJ. Have a fantastic June!

Nathan J. Pettit, DMD, MSD


Men and TMD


Women are much more likely to be affected by a TMJ disorder than men, but both sexes suffer just the same. However, men often don’t seek out assistance because they think they should be able to “tough it out”. When you have TMD there’s no toughing it out.

Here are a few statistics worth noting on men and TMD:

  • Research from the TMJ Association has found only 10% of TMJ patients seeking help for severe symptoms are men.
  • The TMJ Association also found that only 25% of people seeking help for moderate TMD symptoms are men.
  • However, studies suggest women are only twice as likely to have TMD.
  • Numerous studies have shown men are less likely than women to consult with a physician in general.
  • A study in the Journal of Health Services Research & Policy found men were statistically less likely to consult a physician about headaches compared to women. (Headaches are one of the common symptoms of TMD.)

We live in a culture where for many years men have felt pressure to live through pain and not complain. Many men also don’t think their symptoms are related to TMD because women are primarily affected. Others assume it’s a condition that results from stress and fail to realize a past injury could have led to a TMJ disorder.

At MedCenter TMJ many patients come to us after battling with pain and discomfort for months or even years on their own. In that time, damage and suffering that could have been avoided only gets worse. It can negatively impact work and life at home.

Regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, pain and symptoms should never be ignored. It’s your body’s way of telling you something isn’t right. Luckily, we’ve made a lot of headway in recent years and can offer patients a variety of solutions for managing and reducing TMD symptoms.

Ways to Say Thanks This Father’s Day


This Father’s Day is a time to thank our dads for all they do to care for their kids by taking care of them. We’ve put together a list of our favorite TMJ-friendly ways to treat hardworking dads.

  • Treat dad to a hammock. Don’t be surprised if he spends the rest of the day relaxing in the shade.
  • Treat dad to a spa day. The wonderful relaxation of a massage shouldn’t be reserved for moms – dads deserve a little pampering too.
  • Treat dad to ice cream. Dad bought you a lot of ice cream cones as a kid and now you can return the favor.
  • Treat dad to a pair of pain relieving slippers. Specialty slippers can provide arch support, compression and cushy soles for sore feet.
  • Treat dad to a good night’s sleep. A memory foam pillow with a cooling gel insert can help dad achieve pain-free sleep.
  • Treat dad to a leisurely walk. Walking is great for your health and gives you a chance to reminisce about the good ole days. Spending time together is often the greatest gift you can give your dad.

How are you showing your dad some love this Father’s Day?



Shake It Up This Month!

Strawberry Smoothie

What’s delicious, nutritious and perfectly celebrates Dairy Month and National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month? This strawberry shake!

Shakes are a great way for TMD patients to get nutrients when chewing is difficult. As Dr. Pettit mentioned, sugar can damage your teeth, and refined sugar is particularly difficult for the body to process. Instead of using refined sugar, the healthy shake recipe below uses honey and strawberries for sweetness. Using low-fat milk also helps reduce the sugar count.


  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries (or your favorite berries)
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Combine the milk, fruit, honey and vanilla extract in a blender.
  • Blend on med to med-high until smooth.
  • Pour into two tall glasses.

In just 10 minutes you’ll have a cold treat to enjoy on a hot summer day!

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