Thankful this November
Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD
November is a month that is filled with great expectation and Thanksgiving. I love this time of the year especially in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. Fall is my favorite time of year in Houston. October and November usually give us the most beautiful days of the year with the colors of the season and the change in the weather. It is invigorating as we move towards the end of another year.
October was power packed with special events. Dr. Pettit and I were invited to speak in Orlando, Florida, to the American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthodontics. I know that is a bunch of big words, but in essence, these are specialists who reconstruct the faces and teeth of cancer patients who have had tumors of the head, face, and nose region. I have such great respect for what they do and I greatly applaud their work. Our association with this group comes through our work with Dr. Mark Chambers at M.D. Anderson Hospital. Dr. Chambers and I have been colleagues for many years and we often exchange patients in order to meet the special needs of patients with complex issues. Dr. Chambers is currently the President of the Academy. Dr. Pettit and I spoke on Sunday, October 18. I presented a lecture on an overview of the complex orofacial pain patient. Dr. Pettit presented his research on the hyoid bone and the effect of the jaw musculature on the muscles of the throat. Both presentations were well received and we both received favorable comments on the work that we are doing here at MedCenter TMJ.
In the first week of November, I will travel to Washington D.C. to the American College of Dentists. The American College of Dentists is a select group of dental practitioners who are nominated for membership because of their character and ethical practices. I have been a member since 1987 and have had the opportunity to sponsor several of my colleagues into the College. This year I am sponsoring Dr. Donald Cohen, an oral surgeon with whom I have been friends for over 30 years. Dr. Cohen practices in Smith Tower across from Methodist Hospital and is not only an outstanding clinician and surgeon but a wonderful individual. Dr. Cohen and I have served together on the Judicial Committee of the Greater Houston Dental Society for many years. This committee deals with ethical dilemmas within our profession. His contribution to the field of dentistry has been outstanding and he was selected with honors to become a fellow in the American College of Dentists. I am very proud to be his friend and sponsor for this event.
One of my most favorite holidays of all, next to Christmas and Easter, is Thanksgiving. This is a day which we pause and give thanks to God for His blessings upon our personal lives as well as our country. There are a lot of things that are wrong right now in the world and with our country. I have never seen the likes of what I am now observing. It is frightening in some ways to listen to the news and to read posts about events of a world in turmoil. But, I do know that God has ordained a special place for the United States and I have great hope that this country will be able to survive our current situation.
“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear their prayers and heal their land, 2 Chronicles 7:14.”
It is my prayer this Thanksgiving that we, as a people, will collectively, humble ourselves, give up our wicked ways, and allow the Lord to heal our land. I hope that you will join me in this prayer on Thanksgiving Day.
Dr. Pettit and I continue to study, read, and pursue new information to reveal new techniques, materials, and ways of being able to provide a better service for you, our patient. You are our greatest asset and we will continue to do everything possible to provide you with the latest most up-to-date treatment in the field of TMD and Orofacial pain.
Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD
Diplomate, American Board of Orofacial Pain
Dr. Pettit’s Tips for Healthy Living
The Power of Pumpkin
Nathan J. Pettit, DMD, MSD
I know it’s November, but pumpkins are still on my mind. One year for Halloween, I was a scarecrow with a pumpkin head. I went around with jack-o-lantern on my head saying “trick-or-treat!” I remember the strong smell of pumpkin rubbing into my hair and my face. It stuck with me for quite some time. Who knows? Maybe the skin treatment of pumpkin had health benefits, but today I’d rather share the nutritional power-house that pumpkins can be when we eat them.
Loaded with Vitamin A (200% our daily value in 1 cup), this squash will encourage healthy vision, a strong immune system, and proper cell growth. It is low in calories and high in fiber. Pumpkin also gives a good showing for vitamin C, E, and many other vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin has the nutritional make-up to support a healthy heart, improve blood pressure, reduce formation of kidney stones, protect against certain cancers, and even improve fertility in women of child-bearing age.
Pumpkin can be prepared so many ways. Importantly for us, it can be prepared in a soft, easy-to-chew texture. It is a healthy way to add moisture to freshly baked goods, replacing oil or butter. You can make your own pumpkin puree instead of buying the canned variety for more nutritional value. You can use the jack-o-lantern pumpkins, or try the smaller and sweeter varieties.
Your total diet and overall eating pattern is what is most important to your health. No one food is a cure-all. But pumpkin carries its weight in nutritional benefits and is a wise addition to almost any diet. Try to find ways other than pie this season to incorporate pumpkin into your diet. I am truly grateful for the abundance this earth has to offer. If we look to the foods God and nature have ordained for us to eat, our health will benefit from the variety and richness of the earth.
Nathan J. Pettit, DMD, MSD
Giving Thanks for Caregivers Everywhere
Dr. Auvenshine and Dr. Pettit are thankful everyday for the opportunity to help patients, but they also know the importance of lending a hand to caregivers at home by providing information and support.
According to the CDC, there are over 34 million unpaid caregivers in the U.S. that help take care of ill family members and friends. It’s an amazingly difficult job that requires endless compassion, commitment and care. Factor in the emotional, mental and physical stress of the job and it’s easy to see why more than half of caregivers say that their own health has been impacted.
If you’ve ever had a debilitating migraine or TMJ pain that put you out of commission, chances are a caregiver was there to help you through it. Even the small sacrifices, such as adjusting their own diet, make a real difference. One of the best feelings in the world is knowing that someone is there for you and looking out for you when you need it most.
This Thanksgiving we are giving thanks to the millions of caregivers that selflessly help those they love and ask nothing in return. Without them our jobs would be much more difficult and the lives of our patients would be far less fulfilling.
Getting Ready for the Cold Winter Months
During the winter TMD symptoms can worsen for a variety of reasons. The primary reason being, cold muscles can tense up and shiver as a way to warm up. Avoid the clenching and teeth clattering with these helpful tips:
- Dust off all of your winter clothing – Scarfs, ski caps and earmuffs that keep the head and face warm are just as important as coats.
- Have your heater serviced – The last thing you want is for the heater to go out when it’s cold outside.
- Avoid alcohol – Consuming alcohol can actually prevent the body from warming up and lower your core body temperature.
- Hit the gym – Regular exercise is good for your overall health, and it can also help keep you warm. Studies have shown that muscle mass helps the body produce heat.
- Eat healthy fats – Healthy fats, like the type found in avocados and nuts, help your body regulate its temperature.
Another helpful winter tip is to get your flu shot. The flu can pose serious health risks, particularly for senior citizens, children, pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system. Each year the flu shot is tailored to the biggest threats, and while it may not offer 100% protection it does dramatically reduce your chances of getting sick.
RECIPE OF THE MONTH
Warm Up With Pumpkin Spice Cookies
There’s nothing like warm, freshly baked cookies on a cool November day. These Pumpkin Spice Cookies are right out of the MedCenter TMJ recipe book. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and spice with the familiar holiday flavor of nutritional pumpkin!
Servings 36 Yield 36 cookies Units US
• 1 (18 1/4 ounce) box spice cake mix
• 1 (15 ounce) can solid-pack pumpkin puree (the small can, not pumpkin pie mix)
• 1 cup chopped walnuts or 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
• 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
• 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
• 1 cup cream cheese frosting (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Spray cookie sheets lightly with vegetable spray.
3. In a large bowl, mix the cake mix and pumpkin together with a fork or mixer until well blended; stir in nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips, if desired.
4. Spoon large rounded scoops of the batter onto the cookie sheet; the dough won’t flatten out much. How you place them on the sheet is pretty much how they’ll look after baking.
5. Bake for 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the size/thickness of your cookies.
6. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for up to 5 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.
7. Frost, if desired.
How many cookies you get depends on how large you make them of course – just increase your baking time if making larger cookies (it’s truly difficult to burn these, but they will get crispier & less moist). Store in a plastic container or bag and these cookies will stay moist thanks to the pumpkin.