By Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD
October is here. This is my favorite time of the year. I love the fall. The change of colors, the cooling of temperatures, and the brisk air are a welcomed diversion from the hot Houston summer. October means that Halloween is just around the corner. I remember how I loved Halloween as a child. I am the youngest of four children. My brother is seven years older than I am. At Halloween, I always got his hand-me-down costumes. During “trick-or-treating,” I would always trip on the last step of someone’s porch, fall, and hit my head. I would have to go home early so my mother could put ice on the huge bump that would result from the incident. The cause of the fall was the fact that I couldn’t clearly see out of a mask that was too big for me. I could see through one of the eye holes but not both, so this messed up my depth perception to the point where at the third or fourth house while trick-or-treating, I would inevitably miss the last step on the porch. There were a lot of houses in our neighborhood that had porches. Anyway, these are fond memories of times past.
In the month of September, we had new practice management software installed here at MedCenter TMJ. We have now converted to a program called Dentrix. We are excited about the fact that Dentrix will allow us a broader scope of management options, making it easier for us to treat you here at MedCenter TMJ. We are also going to install a new program for our phones called Demandforce. Demandforce will allow us to send you text messages and e-blasts about your appointments. I have never had the manpower to make phone calls for reminders of appointments. Now we’re going to be able to do that with automation through this new program. We are extremely excited about the possibilities for the future.
In July, Dr. Nathan Pettit joined the practice. He is a wonderful addition to the services provided here at MedCenter TMJ. I am excited about having Dr. Pettit on our staff because it offers me an opportunity to be more efficient with our appointments, making it easier for us to see patients on time. For the past several years, I have been extremely frustrated with not being able to see patients at their appointed time due to our busy schedule. I know that this was stressful and uncomfortable for you because I, personally, do not like to wait in a doctor’s office for an appointment. I certainly do not enjoy having my patients wait on me. Now that Dr. Pettit is here, it allows us the opportunity to see our patients on time and to be able to spend a little more appointment time on counseling, educating, and adjusting appliances.
Dr. Pettit and I have a busy schedule planned for the months of October, November, and December. We will be working on a textbook of dental radiology. We will also be writing papers on our research involving the Hyoid bone. As many of you know, Dr. Pettit received his Master’s degree along with his certificate in Prosthodontics from the VA hospital here in Houston and the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. The research for his Master’s thesis was done in my office. This is the first research of its kind dealing with three-dimensional changes of Hyoid bone suspension. It has never been done in either medical or dental literature. This information is extremely important and viable for our times. The Hyoid bone is the small bone in the throat that maintains the patency (or openness) of the throat. We are hoping to achieve a publication date in the spring of 2015.
We continue to look at new technology for our office. There is an absolute explosion of technology going on within the field of dentistry. This not only involves computer technology, but also advances in dental materials. The new dental materials allow us to do restorations on top of existing teeth without having to prepare, or cut down, the tooth to put a crown on it. These new materials will allow us much more flexibility in the future for building bites onto teeth. We will continue to search for these new materials and new techniques so that we can broaden the scope of the services provided here at MedCenter TMJ.
We have just updated our website. We have added new pictures and new tabs to our existing website. Our web manager is an Austin-based company, Local Surge Media. We are proud members of their family, and we appreciate their help.
We are always searching for new and fresh ways of making your experience here at MedCenter TMJ the best that it can be. You are our most important asset and we will continue to strive to provide only the very best care for your disorder.
Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD
Dr. Pettit’s Tips for Healthy Living
As a feature of the MedCenter TMJ newsletter, we want to include a short and practical tip of the month for optimizing nutrition. An important element of healthy living is healthy eating. Many of us are looking forward to cooler temperatures. As fall and winter approach, so does flu season! It will be important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes a nutritious diet, especially one rich in Vitamin C.
Why is Vitamin C so important?
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin involved in many processes of the body. It is an important anti-oxidant, contributing to collagen synthesis and wound repair, iron absorption, and immune function. People who meet their Vitamin C needs also appear to have a lower risk of cancer of the oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, and breast. With flu season approaching, Vitamin C can help give our immune system the boost it needs to prevent prolonged illness.
How do we get enough Vitamin C? Ideally, we would get Vitamin C from consumption of fresh foods. Fruits and vegetables generally contain some Vitamin C. Tomatoes, citrus fruits, green vegetables, peppers, and potato skins are especially good sources. Supplementing our diets with additional Vitamin C can provide added health benefit for many of us. We suggest each person take 1,000 mg of Vitamin C each day, preferably in divided doses. Vitamin C is water-soluble and thus it is difficult to reach toxic levels. give yourself the added protection this flu season with a strong immune system, supported with plenty of Vitamin C.
Nathan J. Pettit,DMD, MSD
The Differences Between a Common Cold and the Flu
October marks the start of the cold and flu season. Many people make the mistake of thinking that the flu is simply a cold that lasts a little longer. While they are both respiratory illnesses, there are distinct differences between the two that everyone should take into account.
The Flu Can Last Much Longer
Most common colds clear up within a week, and you may even start feeling better after just a few days of rest. Influenza (flu) typically lasts a week or more, and symptoms don’t start subsiding for 3-5 days. There have been many cases where the flu lasts for weeks, which is usually the case if further illness occurs.
The Flu Can Lead to Bigger Health Issues
A cold doesn’t usually manifest into bigger health issues, but the flu most certainly can turn into something much worse. Both the common cold and the flu can cause ear infections, but the flu can also lead to:
Getting pneumonia as a result of having the flu is a serious health concern and can lead to hospitalization or even death. Those that have heart or lung problems, children and senior citizens are most at risk.
The Flu Can Cause Aches, Pains and Fever
The common cold mainly affects the throat and nose causing people to sneeze, cough and have a sore throat. The flu is much more widespread. It usually causes a person to have a fever over 100 degrees, headaches, severe body pains, chest discomfort, fatigue and extreme exhaustion.
Protect Your Health
Play it safe by getting a flu shot early on before the flu starts spreading around. Many health centers, schools and pharmacies offer the flu shot for a relatively low price without needing to schedule an appointment. Because the virus enters the body through the eyes, nose and/or mouth it’s also important to wash your hands often to prevent contracting or spreading the flu.
Halloween Treats That Won’t Feel Like a Trick
Treats are one of the best parts of the Halloween holiday. Gooey, sticky, sweet treats and hard candies will be tempting, but for those with TMD it’s important not to be tricked into indulging. These kinds of foods will put extra stress on your temporomandibular joint, causing pain and discomfort long after your taste buds are done enjoying the treats.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to sit back and watch everyone else enjoy Halloween sweets without a little indulgence yourself.
Tips for Enjoying a TMJ-Friendly Halloween
• Before going to Halloween parties or trick-or-treating, have a meal. Being full will help you control the temptation to snack on hard to chew foods.
• Make your own soft Halloween treats to bring to parties.
• Let candies melt in your mouth. This way you can still enjoy chocolates, mints and fruit candy – plus the delicious taste lasts longer.
• Steer clear of caramel. Even if you let candy melt in your mouth, caramel can remain sticky.
• Prepare some of your favorite soft foods and treat yourself to that instead of crunchy, chewy candy.
• Buy yourself TMJ-friendly sweets like mini peanut butter cups, crème-filled wafers and cookies.
Remember, it’s also important to avoid overloading on sweets. A healthy diet is crucial to managing TMJ disorders and your overall health.
Recipe of the Month: A Halloween Party Recipe Everyone Will Enjoy
These jack-o’-lantern ham and cheese sandwich bites are the perfect appetizer for both kids and adults. It’s a delicious Halloween twist on a classic American sandwich that’s easy to make and sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Jack-o’-Lantern Sandwich Bites
• 1 box(es) (15 oz) refrigerated pie crusts
• 8 ounce(s) thinly sliced Black Forest or Virginia ham
• 8 ounce(s) thinly sliced Cheddar or Swiss cheese
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
1. Heat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil.
2. Unroll pie crusts. Cut each crust into 24 pumpkin shapes with a 3-in. pumpkin cookie cutter. Using a 1⁄2-in. triangular cookie (aspic) cutter or a sharp knife, cut out eyes and a nose from 12 of the cutouts.
3. Using a 2-in. round cutter, cut 24 rounds from the sliced ham and 24 rounds from the sliced Cheddar.
4. Place 2 slices Cheddar in the center of each of the 12 solid pumpkins; top each with 2 slices of ham. With a small brush, brush beaten egg around edges. Top with remaining pumpkins with cut-out faces, carefully pressing on edges to seal.
5. Place on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with beaten egg. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until light golden. Let cool on rack 5 minutes before serving.