September Newsletter

Welcoming Fresh Fall Beginnings

By Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD

Dr. Ronald Auvenshine
Dr. Ronald Auvenshine
Dr. Pettit
Dr. Nathan Pettit

September is here, marking the end of summer and the beginning of the school year. For those of us who have spent so much time in school, we think of September as being the beginning of the year rather than January. It is a time of new beginnings, of a fresh start, of a clean slate. Special memories come to mind as September rolls around – those new clothes that we would buy for school, shopping with our mom or dad for school supplies, the joy and excitement of a new teacher and new classmates, the development of new friends and relationships that last forever. These are the things that September brings to mind.

We’ve enjoyed some new beginnings here at MedCenter TMJ. On July 1, Dr. Nathan Pettit joined my practice as my associate. I am excited to have him as part of our team. Dr. Pettit and I became friends and colleagues while he was in his residency program in prosthodontics (full-mouth reconstruction) at the VA hospital here in Houston. Dr. Pettit’s biography is one that is quite impressive. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and attended dental school at the University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine. After receiving his DMD degree, Dr. Pettit entered the residency program at the VA hospital here in Houston. My Facial Pain and TMD clinic is part of that residency program. Dr. Pettit and I hit it off, so to speak, from the very beginning. For the past three years Dr. Pettit has actively worked with me through the VA hospital, as well as completing his research for his Master’s degree here in my practice. The outcome of his Master’s research will produce a scientific paper which, I feel, will be extremely impactful to the profession of dentistry.

Dr. Pettit and I will continue to do research as well as treat patients here at MedCenter TMJ. As I have told many of you, I do not plan to leave. I am not retiring. Our relationship is a long-term relationship and one which I hope will last for many years to come. I just felt that it was time for me to begin to spend more time with my wife and my grandchildren. Having Dr. Pettit here will give me the freedom to do some traveling, as well as to do more writing and teaching. It is my hope that while I still have breath, I will be able to teach the younger generation of dentists the importance of the temporomandibular joint and a person’s overall health.

September is a busy month for me because of my participation in the mini-residency in Orofacial Pain and TMD of the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain. As many of you know, I am on the faculty of the Institute of the AACP. I teach in Session 1. The Institute’s program is a yearlong program. It consists of four three-day sessions which total approximately 120 hours of continuing education. That is the equivalent of two years of graduate school. By the way, Dr. Pettit completed the Institute last year during his third year of residency. He passed all of the examinations which are required for each participant, and had the highest grade point average of anyone in his class. There are approximately 27 participants in each class. I will teach on September 11th, 12th and 13th. My subjects span the topics of Examination and Diagnosis, Differential Diagnosis, Craniofacial Pain Mechanisms, and Treatment Planning of complex orofacial pain patients. I enjoy my participation in the Institute and always look forward to meeting the new group of participants. The sessions are held at the American Airlines Training Facility at DFW airport in Dallas.

Dr. Pettit received his certificate of completion of the AACP institute miniresidency in Craniofacial Pain in Denver, August 2014.
Dr. Pettit received his certificate of completion of the AACP institute miniresidency in Craniofacial Pain in Denver, August 2014.

The rest of the month of September will be busy for us. We have purchased new software for the practice management portion of MedCenter TMJ. The software is written by Dentrix. We are undergoing training now to make the conversion from our old software to the new. This will require a lot of work on the part of my staff. I am extremely pleased with the way my staff has embraced the conversion to the new software. You may not be able to see the immediate outcome of our efforts with the new software, but I can assure you that it will benefit us in being able to facilitate your care here at MedCenter TMJ.

You are our greatest asset and we will continue to strive to make your experience with MedCenter TMJ the very best. We thank you for choosing MedCenter TMJ for your TMJ care.

Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD

Dr. Pettit’s Tips for Healthy Living

healthy-livingAs a new feature in the MedCenter TMJ newsletter, we wanted to include a short and practical tip of the month for optimizing nutrition. Research has shown over the last 45 years that a healthy diet—notably one rich in fruits and vegetables—together with regular physical activity, can prevent and treat many age-related diseases. As a whole, the lifestyle of many North Americans is out of balance with our physiology. We are also living longer than our ancestors did, so preventing age-related diseases is more important today than in the past.

Our first suggestion is simple. Keep your plate colorful! Color is a major indicator of nutrient value, and a variety of colors from fresh fruits and vegetables will not only make your plate more attractive and appetizing, but it will also increase intake of important antioxidant phytochemicals your body can benefit from. The USDA recommends half of our plate be filled with colorful fruits and vegetables at every meal. Be sure the colors are naturally occurring and not merely added by the manufacturer for aesthetic value. A special note to those managing TMD: remember to choose foods that can be prepared soft in consistency. Optimizing nutritional choices will help us reach our goal of a long and healthy life.

Nathan J. Pettit,DMD, MSD

TMJ Tech

The world is a rapidly changing place, and at MedCenter TMJ we’re keeping up with the latest technology to ensure utmost patient care and privacy. That’s why we have updated our medical software and are now using Dentrix and Demand Force.

Security Matters
In today’s digital age, most medical and dental practices store a great deal of personal information, including birth dates, social security numbers, credit card information and more on a shared network computer system. but that doesn’t mean it’s safe. As recently as August 18th the New York Times reported that hackers had breached Community Health Systems, a company which operates 206 hospitals in 29 different states. Between April and June of 2014 it was estimated that nearly 4.5 million patients had their personal data stolen.


Introducing Dentrix Software
We’re not taking any chances. This month, we’re implementing Dentrix software with new encryption technology and data masking techniques. The software also provides 24 hour network support by a team of IT experts who continually work to implement additional security protection. Dentrix will keep patient information where it belongs – private, safe and confidential.

But we’re not stopping there. We’re also implementing Demandforce software. This is the latest communication platform, enabling us to provide the very best care for our patients. We will now be able to better collect and review critical patient medical data.

Managing TMJ with Technology
Keep an eye out for our September 2nd blog post, where we will discuss additional technological options for TMD patients. We’ll cover some interesting apps available to help patients better manage a wide assortment of medical issues by tracking symptoms, medications, sleep patterns and more.

The Fall Season

September 22nd is the date of the Fall equinox. This means the sun will shine directly on the equator with the length of day and night being nearly equal. But for most us, what this really means is cooler fall weather is around the corner.

Of course, the fall months also mean the kids are back in school. Make sure you check out our August and September blog posts. We’ve provided our college age readers and parents of younger students with an assortment of tips to avoid stress and stay healthy during the hectic school year.

Another defining aspect of the fall season is football! This month, we’ve included a healthy, soft party dip that’s sure to be a big hit with sports fans.


Recipe of the Month

marshmallow-fruit-dipMarshmallow Fruit Dip

• 2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
• 1 (6 ounce) container of sour cream
• 1 (14 ounce) can condensed milk
• 1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow crème

Directions: Stir all the ingredients in a bowl until smooth.

This dish takes less than five minutes to prepare. Make sure to serve it with small pieces of fruit that are diced into bite-sized pieces. Avoid using crunchier fruits like apples. Instead, serve it with soft fruits like strawberries, blueberries and bananas.

To make things even more festive, add a dash of food coloring to the dip to match the colors of your favorite football team.

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