May Newsletter

April Showers Bring May Flowers!

By Dr. Ronald Auvenshine

Dr. Ronald Auvenshine
Dr. Ronald Auvenshine

The month of May will begin with a trip to the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain. The meeting this year will be held in Las Vegas. My very close friend, Dr. Henry Gremillion, and I will give an all-day anatomy course which will include a dissection of the head and neck region of the human body on Thursday, May 1. I will then attend the Scientific Meeting on May 2nd and 3rd, returning home to Houston on the 4th of May.

As many of you know, I am a past president of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain. I was on the original committee that wrote the Board Exam for Diplomate status in the field of Orofacial Pain. Since 1987, I have actively been involved with the application to the American Dental Association for specialty status in the field of Orofacial Pain. We have been unsuccessful in our attempts to reach specialty status all these years. However, we continue to strive to reach that level of recognition. There are many reasons why it would benefit the profession to have a specialty in Orofacial Pain.

One, it would allow a certification process and those who reach Diplomate status, such as myself, would be allowed to advertise to the public. Thus, the public would easily be able to select a doctor who has special training and experience in the field of TMD and Orofacial Pain. This would eliminate many of the unsuccessful attempts at treatment that a lot of patients go through before they find help for their problem. Two, it would benefit the insurance companies’ recognition of therapies performed by certified TMD doctors. This would prevent duplication of services and, as a result, save the patient and insurance companies time and money. If the insurance companies were able to establish an actuary for TMD services, they would be more receptive to pay for claims.

The MedCenter TMJ team at the 43rd annual Star of the South Dental Meeting.
The MedCenter TMJ team at the 43rd annual Star of the
South Dental Meeting.

Today, insurance companies are highly resistant to pay for any type of TMD coverage simply because they are not familiar with the procedures, no matter how logically they are presented.

I will continue to work diligently on behalf of my patients, through the American Academy of Orofacial Pain, so that we can eventually reach specialty status. We now have eight residency programs in dental schools throughout the United States. These are two-year programs in the field of Orofacial Pain. We continue to have difficulty funding these programs because we are not a certified specialty. Therefore, it is difficult to attract graduate students and residents into these programs because of funding uncertainties. One program was forced to shut down due to lack of funding.

As you can see, there continues to be a number of political activities going on within the field of TMD and Orofacial Pain. During my presidency of the AAOP, there were some significant strides made to obtain specialty status. The most recent attempt has been through establishing a Board of Dental Specialties, similar to the Board of Medical Specialties which certifies specialty fields within medicine. I don’t know how far we will get with this action. The American Dental Association is “the” powerful organization of dentistry. It is difficult to circumvent the ADA structure in order to obtain any form of recognition.

The months of January, February, March and April are my busiest months when it comes to activities outside of MedCenter TMJ. As we move forward into May, June and July, outside activities slow down. This will allow me to concentrate on writing articles that I have been putting off for months. Dr. Pettit, my third year resident at the VA Hospital, has completed his Master’s research here in my office. I was the research director of his Master’s project. His research study was on the Hyoid bone. I have written about Dr. Pettit’s research in previous newsletters. The work that he has done is extremely significant and is relatively new information for both medicine and dentistry. I plan to write an introductory article explaining the Hyoid bone and its origin, derivation and function. I will follow this article with the two research projects which have been completed by my residents at the VA Hospital. Dr. Pettit and I will continue to pursue Hyoid research in the coming months, and hopefully we will be able to generate more articles from our work.

I am looking forward to the end of the month. Memorial Day will fall on the 26th of May this year – I always close the office for four days in honor of the occasion. In June, I plan to spend a few days with my son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. My oldest granddaughter (14 years of age) is a “prima ballerina.” My wife and I plan to attend her recital on June 6. Madeline will return with us to spend a week here in Houston. Needless to say, we are looking forward to having her all by herself so that we can entertain and spoil her.

As you can see, we are always working hard at MedCenter TMJ on your behalf. We will continue to do so for as long as God gives us the ability to carry on this work. It is a joy and a pleasure to be able to serve you, our patient. You are our greatest asset and we will continue to strive to earn your trust and respect as we pursue this exciting area of the human body. We want to make your experience at MedCenterTMJ the very best and offer you the most up-to-date service and techniques that you will find anywhere in the world.

Ronald C. Auvenshine, D.D.S., Ph.D.

Happy Mother’s Day!

This year Mother’s Day is on May 11. Motherhood, as the saying goes, is the second oldest profession, and celebrating the importance of moms is equally as old. Events to honor motherhood date back to the Classical Era, during the peak of the Greek and Roman Empires. Back then, festivals honoring maternal goddesses were celebrated. These usually involved days of feasting and the offering of small tokens at temples and shrines.

In the United States, Mother’s Day started in large part due to the efforts of Anna Jarvis (b. 1864-1948). Coming of age in the post-Civil War era, Jarvis became part of a growing movement of women who joined clubs to commemorate the sacrifices mothers had made for their Union and Confederate sons.

When her own mother died in 1905, Jarvis turned to Philadelphia department store owner John Wanamaker three years later and he provided funding for a celebration of what would become the first Mother’s Day. Ironically, Anna Jarvis never married or had children of her own, but today, thanks to her efforts, we continue to recognize the tireless work and countless sacrifices moms make.


Give Mom the Gift of TMJ Relief!

Mothers love flowers and cards, but this year, go the extra mile to let your mom know how special she is. If she suffers from TMJ pain, stress-management is an important part of her life. So give her a gift card for a relaxing massage, a yoga membership or a pedicure/manicure. A ride to her TMJ doctor’s office is a great way to say thanks to a mom. Your mom may also welcome pain-relieving gifts like heating and icing pads. These are essential must-have items for every medicine chest. Does your mom already own them? Many newer models feature decorative colors and designs. A more flashy heating or icing pad will both lift her spirits and provide essential pain relief. Or, give her something she may not have yet: a bamboo pillow.


The bamboo pillow is an environmentally friendly product that comes in a number of shapes and sizes. It is stuffed with shredded memory foam and covered with soft bamboo casing. Many patients are reporting improved sleep habits with the bamboo pillow because of its unique qualities. Most memory foam is dense and traps body heat inside. With shredded stuffing, the bamboo pillow allows heat to circulate out of the pillow, keeping the body cool and comfortable. Bamboo pillows are also hypoallergenic and odor resistant.

Patriotic Berry Trifle Recipe

The month of May isn’t just about Mother’s Day. On May 26th, we also celebrate Memorial Day by honoring the men and women who sacrificed their lives while serving in the United States Armed Forces. This month, honor both moms and servicemen and women with a Patriotic Berry Trifle. This red, white and blue dessert is soft and tasty. It’s also easy to make and requires only 35 minutes of prep time.



• 1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
• 1 premade angel food cake, cut into 1-inch slices
• 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
• 2 cups heavy cream, at room temperature
• 2 pints blueberries
• 2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced


1. Heat 1/4 cup sugar, the lemon juice and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract.
2. Brush both sides of each slice of cake with the syrup. Cut the slices into 1-inch cubes.
3. Beat the remaining 2/3 cup sugar and the cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and light. Add the cream and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and the consistency of whipped cream.
4. Arrange half of the cake cubes in the bottom of a 13-cup trifle dish. Sprinkle evenly with a layer of blueberries. Dollop half of the cream mixture over the blueberries and gently spread. Top with a layer of strawberries. Layer the remaining cake cubes on top of the strawberries, then sprinkle with more blueberries and top with the remaining cream mixture. Finish with the remaining strawberries and blueberries, arranging them in a decorative pattern. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

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