Your Shimbashi Number And Your Bite

I am writing this article in honor of Dr. Henry “Hank” Shimbashi, a practicing dentist and researcher from Edmonton, Alberta who passed away this week. Dr. Shimbashi was a very influential friend of comprehensive restorative dentists and his research is used every day in offices like mine where problems with the bite and TMJ’s are treated.


As a result of his research, the Shimbashi number was established to indicate an ideal relationship between the upper and lower jaws. When there is an optimal position of the lower jaw relative to the upper jaw, the muscles which are connected to them will also be at their optimal length and can function ideally.

If the relationship between the upper and lower jaws is altered, one or more of the many muscles of the head, neck and face may be overworked causing them to go into spasm — i.e., be painful. This can happen if the lower jaw is too close to or far from the upper jaw, too far forward or back, or shifted in any direction relative to the upper jaw.

Dr. Shimbashi’s research measured muscle activity in over 500 patients. He found that there was an ideal vertical dimension at which the jaw muscles functioned at their maximum potential. In addition, at this ideal position, patients had no symptoms of muscle pain. This vertical dimension was found to be universally applicable in all age groups and all races.

This simple number which we use is the measurement from the gum line of the upper front tooth to the gum line of the lower front tooth. Dr. Shimbashi found this ideal distance to be approximately 19 mm plus or minus one mm (about three quarters of an inch) when a patient bites.  In our office, we often see patients with bite problems whose Shimbashi number is significantly less than ideal  measuring as little as 10 mm or even less. In such patients, the lower front teeth are often nearly completely covered by the upper teeth. Such patients are much more likely to develop tooth and pain problems resulting from their bad bites.


So what is your Shimbashi number?  If you have any questions about your bite as a result of this article, please feel free to call our office at 908.359.6655 or via our website at

Designs For Dental Health VIP Plan

Starting this month, we will be offering our Designs For Dental Health VIP Plan!!
The Designs For Dental Health VIP plan* offers new and existing patients more affordable dental care on the most common and necessary dental services. This discount plan will save patients 15% off treatment fees for most of our services at no extra cost to you! In addition, there is no yearly maximum coverage limit, no deductibles, or waiting periods

What’s included in the plan?

  • 15%* discount on fillings, periodontal deep cleanings, crowns, bridges, implant crowns, dentures, extractions and root canal therapy.
  • Two regular exams per year, regularly $122.
  • Two regular cleanings per year, regularly $230.
  • All x-rays included with your cleaning visits, regularly up to $153
  • Oral Cancer screenings
  • One Fluoride treatment per year (up to age 16), regularly $48        (15% courtesy does not apply only to in-office bleaching or bleaching products, Invisalign Orthodontics, SixMonthSmiles Orthodontics, All-on-4 procedure, TMJ therapy, Sleep Apnea appliances, Arestin treatment, and full-arch or full-mouth rehabilitation)

With Designs For Dental Health’s VIP Program there are NO worries!

  • No yearly maximum coverage limit
  • No deductibles
  • No waiting period
  • No pre-existing condition exclusions
  • No ID cards necessary
  • No Insurance consultants

What is the cost of membership?

Only $325 for one entire year beginning on your registration date. That’s an automatic savings of up to $180 on your regular exams, cleanings, and x-rays alone!


Making high-quality dentistry even more affordable!

 Designs For Dental Health has many options to help you pay for quality dental care. We accept cash and checks. We even offer a 5% prepayment discount for all treatment prepaid in full with cash or check when scheduling a service, and when dental insurance isn’t being billed.  That means when you use the Designs For Dental Health VIP Plan and pay in full you can save 20% on treatment! 

We also honor Visa, Discover, MasterCard and American Express. And, we offer 0% financing (if paid in full over 12 months*) and flexible payment options through CareCredit and Springstone. For those with insurance, our team will file all your claims and work with you to receive the absolute maximum benefit from your dental insurance.

How do I sign up?

Come on into our office and we will be happy to sign you up ASAP! No appointment necessary, and new patients are always welcome. And if you have any questions about the Designs For Dental Health VIP Plan and would like to get more information, just ask us and we will be happy to help.


Call us at 908-359-6655 or visit our website at

*This plan is subject to change without notice

*Discounts cannot be combined with any other offers

*Fee discount is limited to 5% with any financing offer

Is the “Clean” Program for You?

On January 2, as has been the case for many years, I began a nutritional program in order to rid my body of all the excesses which have been inevitable during the holidays. In the office, we truly appreciate the many gifts we receive during December, and are always amazed that 95% of them are either sugar–laden delectables or adult beverages. In addition, there are the holiday parties and family celebrations all of which involve lots of wonderful food and wine. Couple the opportunity for all this overindulgence with under–performing self-control and I face the usual weight gain coupled with some minor gastric distress and a subtle feeling of malaise.


So, this January 2nd I began the twenty-one day cleanse known as “Clean”. This is the same program that I wrote to you about last year. It’s a program designed by Dr. Alejandro Junger which is rather strict yet uncomplicated. Basically, I have given up all gluten, dairy, alcohol, and specific other foods as outlined in the book. During this three-week period, there is one solid meal at lunchtime. Breakfast is a smoothie and dinner is a soup. All foods are organic whenever possible.

I had forgotten much about the experience during last year’s cleanse. I can truly say that the results are amazing. I am sleeping so much better and perhaps that is the main reason why I have so much energy. Even my mood is different. I feel much more optimistic and upbeat than in the recent past. I have already lost six pounds and my osteo-arthritic knees are feeling better.


I had first heard about this program from a fellow dentist who had been battling cancer. In addition to his regular cancer treatment, this man also began the Clean program. He too shared his feelings about how wonderful he felt after the initial three-week cleanse. And, I am happy to report that he is totally healthy with his cancer in remission. I am not saying that this program is the single cause of his current health, but his impassioned description of his experience while on the program had convinced me to give it a try.

Anecdotally, I had been rather ill during December with the upper respiratory infection which was being passed around at that time. Since beginning the Clean program my health has continued to improve and I now feel one hundred percent. Around me, however, are people who had similar illnesses which continue to linger or even seem to resurface. I wonder if this program might be helping my body to better fight disease.

If you have put on some weight, just feel a bit sluggish, or have any interest in getting a body tune-up, perhaps this program is for you. You can find the book entitled CLEAN with the subtitle The Revolutionary Program To Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself written by Alejandro Junger, M. D. You may also Google this program to get a better sense of what it’s about. A series of products are offered online but not necessary. For what it’s worth, I only use foods and beverages which are easily available in your grocery store.



If you have any questions about this program, feel free to contact me in the office at 908.359.6655 or via our website at   .

Are We Making Our Kids Sick?

The Link Between Food, Childhood Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes         

For the first time in human history we are experiencing a childhood obesity epidemic.    40% of children are overweight and 2 million children in the US are considered morbidly obese, exceeding the 90th percentile for weight.  Even more alarmingly, the current childhood obesity epidemic is giving way to an increase of over 1000% in the cases of type 2, or “adult onset”, diabetes, in children.  In the past fifteen years the percentage of new cases of diabetes in children has risen from only 3% of all diabetes cases to over 50%!

On top of that, a new study has found that medications that are taken by adults with Type 2 diabetes are not as effective in children and often stop working altogether after a few years, leaving no option other than increasing the amount of insulin injections, which themselves can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

This is one of many adult diseases that are becoming commonplace in children.  According to a colleague who is concerned over the state of children’s health in our society:

I recently spoke at an Emory University conference on childhood type 2 diabetes.  I met a pediatric gastroenterologist and wondered what he was doing at a conference on diabetes.  He told me he now has 5-year-old patients with cirrhosis from fatty liver caused by years of drinking soda. There has been an over 50% increase in strokes in children aged 5 to 14(8).  We are now seeing heart attacks in teenagers, and twenty year olds needing cardiac bypass surgery because obesity and diabetes clogs their arteries.

Are We Making Our Kids Sick?

Are we making our own kids sick?  Is there a way to stop this?  Diabetes, specifically, is preventable and reversible, but it is not something that can be fixed with medication, health pamphlets or a handful of healthy meals.  To address and reverse this disturbing trend will take a series of lifestyle changes for our whole society.

Looking just at the obesity and diabetes issue, take these statistics, for example:

  • The average American consumes 54 gallons of soda each year
  • The average child in America consumes 34 teaspoons of sugar every day.

Does any doctor or parent honestly think that one can medicate a child out of the results of years of this behavior?  Sugar and junk food have been proven to be biologically addictive.  That it is acceptable and normal for children to be consuming such a high amount of this substance despite the known health risks associated with it is illogical and absurd, but it continues to be the norm.  We need to move beyond setting our children up for a lifetime of sickness and ill-health.

This is not just about “making better choices” or “cutting down” on harmful foods in the diet, nor is it about individual parents taking charge of their own children’s food choices one at a time.  In order to address the issue of food and health, our culture needs a complete overhaul of the way we look at food. 

According to our colleague, Dr. Mark Hyman:

The food industry has hijacked our taste buds, our brain chemistry, our kitchens, our homes, our schools and our communities.  When children have nearly unlimited access to sugar and processed food, when we have 600 calories more per day of sugar calories per person than 30 years ago we have to have an honest accounting of the playing field.  The food environment is designed for kids and adults to fail.

Making a Change

Making a change is imperative for everyone, not just those with children.  It is important for the future of our culture and society as a whole that Type 2 diabetes as well as childhood obesity are eradicated from the equation.  Healthy children are much more likely than sick children to grow into healthy, productive, successful adults.  The well-being of our children can increase the health of our communities and our culture as a whole.

There are many approaches to making the changes necessary for making living an unhealthy lifestyle unacceptable.  This means fostering health instead of disease.  It starts at home, with a healthy diet consisting of fresh and nutritious meals, low in sugar.  Breaking the sugar habit is a difficult, but important step to health. 

However, there are forces outside the home which encourage the consumption of sugar and junk food, and initiatives that could be undertaken to address these.  Some include stopping government subsidies of agricultural products that allow cheap, high-calorie, nutrient-deficient sugars and fats into the marketplace in a more accessible manner than nutritious, wholesome foods; taxing sugar and possibly processed junk food with added sugars to help cover the hundreds of billions of dollars worth of health care costs related to increasing obesity, diabetes and heart disease; banning the marketing of junk foods to children; and funding and supporting community-based initiatives such as community gardens and local farmstands, cooking and nutrition classes and programs to create healthy school lunches.

We have included a list of tips and actions you can take in your own home and community to address this issue and begin making a change, for the sake of our children and our future.  Please comment on this article to add your own ideas to the list of tips and steps we can take.  This is in our hands!

It starts with food.  Tips for a healthier future.

  1. Eat carrots, not cookies.  100 calories of a vegetable is NOT equal to 100 calories of processed sugars and fats.  Healthy snacks are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that you will not find in a snack pack of chips or cookies.
  2. Lead by example.  If you have kids, work with kids or are ever around them, you know that children follow the example of the adults around them.  If they see YOU making healthy choices on a regular basis, they will follow suit.
  3. Shop at your local farmer’s market.  You won’t find as many processed foods there and you may even be able to meet the farmer who grows your food.  Shopping at a farmer’s market instead of a grocery store will encourage you to purchase and use more fresh fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods high in sugar, fats and preservatives.
  4. Support a ban on marketing junk food to children.  The USA is only 1 of 2 countries who still allow junk food marketers to target children.  Contact your legislators and tell them you would support such a ban to ensure a healthy future for our children and our nation.
  5. Support a ban or reduction of government subsidies of junk food and products high in sugars.  Contact your legislators and tell them you would support such a ban to ensure a healthy future for our children and our nation.
  6. Support healthy school lunches.  Even if you don’t have children, contact your local PTO or PTA and Board of Education and tell them you want healthy, nutritious lunches for the children in the school to help ensure a healthy community and a healthy future for the community.
  7. Reduce sugar consumption in your diet and encourage the same for your family members and friends.
  8. Get active!  Don’t remain sedentary.  Move around, exercise, walk, run, play, anything to keep your body active and moving.
  9. Choose fresh foods over processed foods.  Processed foods contain many sugar and chemical additives and usually contain less nutritional content than fresh foods.
  10. Cook your own meals.  You know what goes into the meals you cook, but the same cannot always be said for pre-prepared meals, restaurant meals, fast foods and processed, pre-packaged meals.  You can control your sugar, fat and chemical additive intake with ease when you prepare your own meals.
  11. Change zoning around schools to limit access to fast food and convenience stores.  Help make it harder to get that bad food!
  12. …YOUR TIPS HERE! Don’t forget to comment on the article with YOUR tips for healthy eating and living.


LINKS AND RESOURCES The Link Between Childhood Obesity and Diabetes: 

NYT- Obesity-Linked Diabetes in Children Resists Treatment: 

Time Magazine: Childhood Obesity and Diabetes 

Free E-book-Food Marketing to Children

Nutrition Education Resources for Teaching Children Healthy Eating Habits: 


Photo Credits in order of appearance (All Creative Commons on

  1.  Clare Bloomfield
  2.  Stuart Miles
  3.   Imagerymajestic
  4.   Clare Bloomfield
  5.   Lobster20
  6.   Digitalart
  7.   David Castillo Dominici