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Physiologic Dentistry

Dr. Shapira Physiologic Dentistry 2 Comments

physiologic-dentistry-chicagoThe fundamental principle of Physiologic Dentistry involves ensuring that all physiologic muscle functions are performing as they should. The belief here is one in which doctors don’t actually heal their patients, and instead help to correct any muscle-related barriers that can get in the way of the body being able to heal itself.

Dr. Ira Shapira, founder of, has a mission – to educate and assist those in need of a specific diagnosis and subsequent treatments.

Physiologic Dentistry is said to be one of the most inspiring fields of dentistry, mainly because it offers many more options for treatment. Not long ago, dental treatments involved using a certain routine that for the most part consisted of looking for and treating possible diseases. It was 1934 when Dr. Costen, an otolaryngologist practicing in St Louis , MO, found a series of issues in denture patients that ultimately became known as TMD or TMJ disorders. Because dentist treatments were then routine-based, these issues weren’t properly addressed.

Dr. Barney Jankelson is a board-certified prosthodontist practicing in Seattle, Washington, which is now known as the birthplace of Physiologic Dentistry. Dr. Jankelson understood that although performing a regular dental routine was essential, there also needed to be a focus on the importance of basic muscle functioning. Dr. Jankelson then began to experiment by using a few methods that helped with muscle relaxation, assessing any and all physiologic limitations that were in place. Because of Dr. J, Physiologic Dentistry soon became well-known for the treatment for TMJ problems.

Even though many dentists still held on to these dated views on performing routine dental procedures, they still consider the jaw joint or the temporomandibular joint to be the most significant part when seeking dental treatments. Known as Centric Relation Dentists (Centric Relation refers to joint position) they consider that a dentist should be able to recognize how a patient’s jaw should function best using their own muscles.

Other Greats in Physiologic Dentistry

Dr. Jim Garry was a pedodontist who illustrated how airway and facial development influenced standard development of the jaws and face. He was a great believer in breastfeeding, and his work has changed the lives of tens of thousands of children.

Dr. Norman Thomas is an anatomist, physiologist, and dentist who fully understands the science behind Physiologic Dentistry and how it’s connected to one’s overall body health. He’s intellectually gifted and still makes it possible for professionals to integrate their scientific and experimental skills with primary science. He continues his work in the field of dentistry to this day and can be found at the Las Vegas Institute (LVI).

Robert Jankelson is Barney’s son and continues his father’s work. He wrote the first manual on Physiologic Dentistry.

Janet Travell is mostly recognized for her textbook ‘Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: A Trigger Point Manual’. She was also President Kennedy’s private medical doctor, and often treated him for the constant pain (war injuries) he was in, even causing him to walk with a bit of a limp and use a walking cane. Dr. Travell changed his life by treating his relentless pain.

Jackie Kennedy built the White House Rose Garden because Dr. Travell cherished roses.

Dr. Ira Shapira

iraDr. Ira Shapira was privileged in that he was able to be one of the many students who were looking to specialize in Physiologic Dentistry. He has been committed to learning all he can about the science of Physiologic Dentistry, and has been doing so for over 25 years now. His partner Dr. Mark Amidei, has been with him for more than 16 years and also performs dental procedures by means of Physiologic Dentistry.

Dr Shapira has over 30 years experience in Physiologic Dentistry and studied with all of the greats in the field.

Dr Shapira studied at Las Vegas Institute and learned efficient procedures to incorporate Physiologic Dentistry into full mouth reconstruction.  “I used to set aside an entire day to do a physiologic reconstruction prior to attending LVI.  The knowledge I attained allowed me to reduce the time required by several hours.  A huge benefit for both my patient and myself.”

LVI has taught a variety of adaptations to Physiologic Dentistry which I have chosen not to adapt.  I prefer the pure Physiologic approach however my practice is primarily chronic pain patients including TMJ , Chronic Daily Headache, Migraine patients who require exquisite attention to physiological detail.”  

Physiologic Dentistry is life changing for many patients with chronic head and neck pain and a variety of Temporomandibular Disorders.  “Treatment of chronic pain patients is very different than the standard restorative dentistry taught at LVI”

About Traditional Dentistry

Traditional Dentistry assumes that the jaw is always in its correct position. Physiologic Dentistry focuses on whether or not the jaw is indeed in its ideal position, which is vital for ones overall good health. Once the optimum position for a jaw is configured, it will be the basis for all future dentistry work.

Our goal is not to look at each single tooth in order to solve a problem. Instead, we thoroughly inspect the complete physiologic and anatomical system of the head and neck, which is highly recommended when it comes to treating the patient as a whole (because this is the best method currently known for alleviating pain throughout the mouth as well as the entire body).

We make every effort to take care of any issues as a whole so we can offer our patients a higher quality of life. And by aligning your jaw in the best position, your entire body will benefit because your jaw and jaw function have an effect on the whole body. The lower jaw compensates for the weight of the head, which rests on the spine much like the weights that are used for a doctor’s scale. You set the 30 and 5 pound weights and when you get to the 1 pound weight it perfectly adjusts the scale so that it’s entirely centered.

If you move the weight even just a little in any way, the scale doesn’t necessarily go out of balance a little, and instead goes ‘clunk’. This is what happens when there are any disorders in the jaw area; the entire body’s postural balance is thrown off. Every time this situation occurs, Dr. Shapira tells his patients, “You’ve been clunked!”.

Diagnostic and Treatment Modalities

Caution! All doctors who use these modalities do not practice Physiologic Dentistry. Some use the information as a baseline only!


tmj-k7-2An EMG (Electromyography) is used along with an MKG or CMS in order to properly assess the physiologic state and function of the masticatory (jaw) muscles and neck postural muscles. An EMG can be used to calculate the jaw muscles to make sure they’re balanced, which helps in understanding one’s overall health (at rest and when not at rest) and can be used to make extremely precise adjustments to the bite.

An EMG is also used to determine the efficiency of TENS when it comes to the relaxation of the jaw muscles. Physiologic Dentistry normally uses bipolar adhesive skin electrodes that can calculate movement only, so there’s no pain when undergoing EMG testing. The general helpfulness of muscle relaxation can be determined by an EMG following the use of TENS.

MKG- Computerized Mandibular Scan

The idea for the MKG was conceived by Dr. Barney Jankelson, Dr. J intended to determine mandibular movement in 3 dimensions in order to follow jaw patterns that could help one identify with both function and dysfunction. The scanner works by finding and following a small magnet placed by the lower front teeth and then tracking its progress by using special sensors that don’t connect with the lower jaw.

This allows for the ability to learn about mandibular motion while making sure there aren’t any interferences. Dr. Shapira has been using an MKG for 23 years, with his very first model using an oscilloscope. Findings found utilizing oscilloscope results have been verified by today’s computers, and those who have used an oscilloscope in the past tend to have a deeper understanding when compared to those who are now learning using only computers.


Medical Tens UnitTENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation) is a central piece when it comes to Physiologic Dentistry and is used to generate a relaxed state in damaging, diseased or spastic muscles. The Myomonitor is a precise type of TENS unit that was invented by Dr. Barney Jankelson, and when utilized relaxes both the masticatory and cervical musculature. Once the tiny electrical impulse is triggered, the muscles are gently stimulated into a single synapse reflex (comparable to the knee-jerk done by doctors) over and over again over for a predetermined amount of time, which will naturally loosen up the muscles.

Although some people have doubts about how natural this process is, the fact is that this repetitive pulsing helps to remove metabolic waste out of the muscles cells, which helps improve the blood with oxygen and nourishment. The muscles also relax as they begin to heal, which is better than any unnatural relaxation techniques that can be used because they often contain too many harmful chemicals and/or drugs.

The pulses transpire every 1.5 seconds and last about 500th of a second, as this is all the time needed to help the cellular membrane go back to its normal position. The muscles can receive this pulse for a long time without issue and it won’t cause fatigue.

Borer Associates have a comparable TENS unit that’s used for the same reasons, yet have a few differences in the general design. These minor differences usually aren’t an issue, but when it comes to complex and/or long-term patients each unit has its own set of rewards, which all expert Physiologic practitioners will tell you.

Both types of TENS are used in combination with the MKG and EMG in order to properly assess any and all changes in the mandibular position and/or jaw function as the muscles are improved. Most concerns connected with continuing muscle issues are related to less than ideal conditions, with many stemming from a repetitive strain injury (because the muscles are used over and over again, causing strain).

These devices are a great support that helps doctors make much more precise conclusions, which they will then use to prepare a valuable treatment plan.

Transcranial Neural Transmitter Modulation

Transcranial Neural Transmitter Modulation is a very distinctive type of TENS unit that’s intended to stimulate the brain in order to generate neurotransmitter changes that would be comparable to powerful antidepressants, and without the unwanted side effects.

Dr. Ira Shapira has been using this tool as part of his diagnostic protocol so he can fully understand and accordingly distinguish between peripheral disorders and problems stemming from the central nervous system (CNS).

When TENSing (Transcutaneous Electrical Physiologic Stimulation) is used the lactic acid in the jaw muscles is released, which means that they can now be nourished with fresh blood and oxygen. This helps to loosen up the muscles so that Physiologic dentist Dr. Shapira can realign the jaw back to its correct position, which will start the occlusion that allows a patients muscles to go back to their original, healthy state. The counteractive repositioning is typically done by a diagnostic orthotic, which allows a precise diagnosis to be made.

Phase 1 Treatment is intended to find a practical position that fixates the jaw so that the muscles can naturally go back to their relaxed state.
Phase 2 Treatment refers to using a long-lasting stabilization method that utilizes a more stable orthotic cosmetic reconstruction orthodontic or surgical intervention. Evading necessary surgery is a top concern of Dr. Shapira’s, mainly for the reason that there tends to be many obstacles when it comes to having surgery.

Physiologic dentist Dr. Shapira has been dealing with persistent head and neck pain patients for 23 years. His practice is devoted to using only the best non-surgical alternatives to treating Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction and relies on drug-free pain management tools. He’s qualified to treat sleep apnea issues using FDA-approved devices as non-surgical options to UP3 and Tracheotomy. He fully comprehends how jaw position and sleep apnea are related, and does his best to deal with this physical and biochemical disorder that so many people are dealing with these days. He has effectively treated hundreds of patients who have come to him with a number of TM Joint problems, TMD problems and countless other connected conditions. As a previous victim of chronic pain, Dr. Shapira has chosen to make a personal commitment to not only relieving his own pain but to give all of his patients the quality of life they thought they could never have.

Dr. Shapira trained with Dr. Janet Travell, who is the world’s leading authority on myofascial pain and dysfunction, and utilizes all of the techniques he learned from her that can help to lessen the pain as well as re-establish normality in the functioning of jaw muscles. Many specialists believe that Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Dysfunction are two subsets of the same disorder.

Note: Physiologic Dentistry Normally Utilizes a Non-Invasive bBpolar Adhesive Skin Electrode

Lots of patients may remember Dr. Shapira from when he was working with the Pain Relief Center located in Racine Wisconsin. This center focuses on multidisciplinary practices in pain medication, along with the TMJ center and oral facial pain center of Chicago, where he trained with a Diplomat Oral Surgeon. His dual tenures at Rush Medical School is where he started his research in the treatment of sleep apnea and snoring, and where he became a visiting assistant professor, which led to his position as assistant professor.

If you happen to be displaying any symptoms of TMJ and/or TMD disorder, we invite you to contact Dr. Ira Shapira located in Chicago, Illinois.

Contact us today to make an appointment for a TMD treatment or TMJ treatment consultation.

Patient Testimonials: TMJ, Orofacial Pain and Sleep Disorders

Video Testimonials

There are over 150 additional YouTube testimonial videos on my YouTube channel.

Neuromuscular Dentistry TMJ Testimonials on Reddit:

Dear Dr. Shapira,
I wanted to thank you for taking my sense of fatigue seriously and trying to help me overcome it. You noticed things that sent me to a surgeon to stop my snoring and fashioned a mouth guard for me. This is in addition to other tips you have given me.

I appreciate you asking for my recent blood tests and analyzing them. You even went a step further and contacted my internist. She suggested, as did you, I see an endocrinologist. I have an appointment next month and will request you receive a copy of the results.

Again, thank you for caring.

– Bonnie S.

Dr. Shapira, or as I like to call him, Ira, is an angel in every sense of the word; blessed with a great brain and a greater heart and his hands work pretty good, too. His top qualities are that he provides great results, he’s an expert, and he is creative. I will never forget his devotion to one client he met with for eighteen months, on a weekly basis, at Rush Pres St. Luke’s who still has never received a bill for all services provided. May God bless you and yours always.

– Patrice C.

My longtime acupuncturist recommended Dr. Ira Shapira as an expert on Sleep Apnea when I shared with her my frustrations with my CPAP. Less than three months later, (and a sleep study to prove it), I am cured of my moderate condition of sleep apnea. Dr. Shapira created an oral appliance that is easy to sleep with and maintain. I am so relieved, feeling much better, significantly fewer headaches and more energy I would recommend Dr. Shapira to anyone. His knowledge of dentistry goes well beyond the norm. Anyone that suffers from TMJ and or sleep disorders should have a consult.

– Karen G.

I saw Dr Shapira for TMJ problems and chronic Migraines. I wore a plastic appliance for several months. All of my issues with jaw locking and clicking resolved as did my daily headaches and chronic migraines. I no longer have dark circles under my eyes either.
I could not afford a full mouth reconstruction but have been wearing a permanent appliance for several years on my bottom teeth..Expensive but worth it.
I did have 10 veneers done and now have killer smile, partially because I am no longer in chronic pain.



I have been a patient for over 15 yrs. When I came to Dr. Shapira I was in very bad TMJ pain. He and his staff worked with me for hours and when I left that day the pain was gone. I continued treatment until my bite was fully corrected and not only that but thanks to Dr Shapira’s talent in cosmetic dentistry, my teeth look more beautiful then they ever have. Dr Shapira and the staff continue to gain education on the most innovative ways to help people look and feel good. The staff there are very kind and I always so cared for when I go for my appointments.

Michelle H.


I received TMJ treatments from Dr. Shapira and I was pleased with the results. I had terrible migraines as well as smaller headaches for as long as I could remember and they dissipated upon receiving treatment. I would recommend Dr. Shapira to anyone with TMJ.I received TMJ treatments from Dr. Shapira and I was pleased with the results. I had terrible migraines as well as smaller headaches for as long as I could remember and they dissipated upon receiving treatment. I would recommend Dr. Shapira to anyone with TMJ.

– Christopher J.

I was referred to Dr. Shapira for TMJ issues almost 30 years ago. Not only did the TMJ treatment plan resolve my issues but, over the years, I’ve also received excellent dental care and had some cosmetic work done, which I am very pleased with. Dr. Shapira has a real passion for what he does, and that passion has brought him vast knowledge and expertise. I trust him completely. Also, Barb has been my hygienist over those 30 years and I am completely pleased and satisfied with her skills and commitment to keeping my teeth and gums in the best condition possible. I’ve had Dr. Amidei a few times over the years when Dr. Shapira was not available and those interactions led me to believe that he is of the same top caliber as the rest of the Delany Dental Care staff.

– MK

Rating: 5.0 5.0 stars,
By: Charlene Bown
On: Google, 05/11/2018
Comment: I cannot imagine my dental work ever being done by any other dentist than Dr. Shapira!! I have been seeing higm for several years to help correct my sleep apnea. I cannot tolerate CPap so Dr. Shapira created an oral device that has literally been saving my life!!! I am a high risk patient and absolutely swear that I might not even be here if it weren’t for this incredible Doctor! He knows more about medicine from all different perspectives than most of my doctors and has exceptional skill in the practice of dentistry!! I truly believe this man is also a philosopher, a practitioner in natural remedies and has become a very special person in my life. Don’t even bother seeing any other dentist cause after you have seen Dr. Shapira you will be horribly disappointed!! I highly recommend Delany Dental for a real experience in what dentistry should be and rarely is!!!

I’ve been seeing Dr Shapira since 1998. In college I developed severe TMJ symptoms where I could no longer open my mouth more than an inch. I saw numerous specialists all over the state, visited top hospitals including the Mayo clinic. My family spent a lot of money and I got no relief from my symptoms. It wasn’t until my mom called the TMJ association in Texas and got Dr Shapira’s name. I was skeptical when I had my first appointment at Delany Dental Care but I was told it’d be a long road to recovery but I’d eventually be pain free. Within the first month of treatment, I noticed the headaches lessened. A few months later I could open my mouth further and within a year I had many days were I was able to forget about TMJ. This practice gave me my life back. While I still have some symptoms a few days a year, I am overall pain free. I was told though once you have TMJ as severe as my case; it would be something that I would have to deal with for the rest of my life but for the most part; most days I will not even know I have it.


I am so grateful for Think Better Life and Dr. Shapira. I have been suffering from TMJ for 10+ years and have been to countless dentists who all have told me that I am “fine.” Dr. Shapira was the first dentist to actually listen to my pain, thoroughly examine me, and talk me through my options. My first meeting with him lasted over an hour! Dr. Shapira is not only a great dentist, he is an incredible human being: kind, compassionate, and sincere. After only a month, I am already beginning to feel relief from my chronic headaches and facial pain. It is a feeling I honestly didn’t know was possible. Think Better Life is a warm, caring, and friendly office. Dr. Shapira and his entire staff have are truly competent and hospitable!

Laila N.

When I came to Doctor Shapira I was at the end of my road with severe TMJ pain. I went to many doctors and somehow no one could solve my problem. After many months of research I found Dr. Shapira’s website. I was hesitant to make the appointment due to the distance I would have to drive and feeling hopeless, but after being astonished from watching all the testimonials on his website I thought it was worth a shot.

At the first visit I could instantly tell he had superior knowledge about my issues than other doctors I met with previously. He was open and honest about my condition, the long treatment plan, and the high cost of care. Although this information was intimidating, I finally knew what the saying meant “health is wealth”, life is not worth living in constant pain and discomfort. Therefore, I decided to proceed with his treatment plan.

1 year later I can honestly say that it has been the best money I have ever spent. I am about ~80% better and I will hopefully continue to improve over time. The constant clicking and popping of my jaw is gone, I have normal range of motion again, and most importantly I am mostly pain free.

Not only is Dr. Shapira one of the best and most knowledgeable practitioners I have encountered, he treats you like family and is honestly one of the most interesting people I have ever met. I never leave his office without learning a fun new fact. He truly cares about his patients and work. You can tell he loves what he does. I can’t recommend him enough if you have TMJ pain/issues.


I’ve been seeing Dr Shapira since 1998. In college I developed severe TMJ symptoms where I could no longer open my mouth more than an inch. I saw numerous specialists all over the state, visited top hospitals including the Mayo clinic. My family spent a lot of money and I got no relief from my symptoms. It wasn’t until my mom called the TMJ association in Texas and got Dr Shapira’s name. I was skeptical when I had my first appointment at Delany Dental Care but I was told it’d be a long road to recovery but I’d eventually be pain free. Within the first month of treatment, I noticed the headaches lessened. A few months later I could open my mouth further and within a year I had many days were I was able to forget about TMJ. This practice gave me my life back. While I still have some symptoms a few days a year, I am overall pain free. I was told though once you have TMJ as severe as my case; it would be something that I would have to deal with for the rest of my life but for the most part; most days I will not even know I have it.

– MK

Dr. Shapira has been treating me for TMJ. We started with an oral appliance to relax the jaw and make a better bite. Then we went to a DNA Appliance. I have been pain free since almost day one. Now I can’t wait to see the results of the DNA which will reshape my jaw so I won’t need an appliance in the future. Dr Shapira is a miracle worker. His staff is Awesome as well!

Suzan B.

Very Caring and professional staff! Most definitely the best dentists I have ever been to. After an orthodontic mistake that left me disfigured and with a few less teeth, I was feeling very sad and hopeless. I decided to check out restorative dentistry. They basically pointed out everything and how your jaw can affect your entire body. The doctors were very kind, considering I was in tears. They were completely understanding. They also specialize in sleep dentistry. They did a sleep study on me and I got to choose where I could have it done. They will definitely get my business in the future.

– Marty S

Terrific place for Dental and TMJ healing…I’ve been a patient for 13 years. Not only did they fix my cavities very well, but the incredible relief from my jaw problems was unexpected. My jaw would sometimes lock up on one side, and Dr. Ira discovered that my bite was misaligned. I had the painless TENS treatment, wore a plastic appliance made for my mouth (like a retainer), and then my jaw was fixed, my bite was fixed, and my jaw pain was gone!!
Better still, this treatment apparently also aligned my sinuses, because my life-long sinus congestion disappeared. AND, I no longer require a small shim my right shoe for which I had long ago been diagnosed as having needed “because” one leg was longer than the other — which is no longer the case! Alignment works! This is a great place to get healed for life!!

– Marty S

I have going to this practice for 23 yrs. with Dr. Mark Amidei as my dentist and Dr. Ira Shapira for my Sleep Apnea.
I can not say enough about their staff, friendly and professional.
I enjoy going to the dentist.
A+ all around. Do yourself a favor and look no more, call and make an appointment. You will not be disappointed.
I began working with Dr. Shapira several months ago regarding a case of debilitating TMJ. He uses innovative technology to measure jaw movement, ensuring that his splint treatment is precise. He also works with patients to help them understand and treat the muscular component of TMJ (something not offered by the four previous dentists I had seen for my condition). Dr. Shapira works in conjunction with Dr. Mark Freund of Natural Care Chiropractic for TMJ cases; together they are relentless in finding a solution for their patients. I have been particularly impressed that both doctors continually seek out further education and knowledge in their respective fields. I cannot recommend their work enough!

– DS

I don’t know where my health would be without Dr. Shapira. I have been a TMJ patient for 20 years. I had no idea that TMJ treatment can effect your sinus, sleep, and migraine health as well. Dr. Shapira has been a lifesaver for me more times than I can count. This past January we started DNA treatment which stands for Day and Night Appliance. The improvement I’m already feeling is incredible! I wear this new, comfortable appliance 12 hours a day-basically after dinner and while I sleep. It is expanding my upper and lower jaw which is going to correct my TMJ, open my breathing passages, and greatly improve my allergy and chronic sinus infections. It’s mind-blowing how all of my medical issues are inter-twined with what Dr. Shapira treats. He is always on the cusp of the newest technology and treatments and many of his treatments offer instant relief. Dr. Shapira and his staff treat everyone like family. You couldn’t be in wiser or better hands.

Barbara K

I have been a patient of Dr Shapira and Dr Amidei for the past 24 years. My husband, myself and our three sons are all patients here and I cannot speak highly enough about everyone there! Dr Shapira diagnosed me with TMJ issues about 15 years ago and I have worn a night guard appliance from him ever since. I noticed a remarkable difference within a few nights of starting the appliance and have never had any uncomfortable issues with TMJ since then. Both doctors have seen all three of our sons since they were toddlers. Barb, one of their hygienists, has been treating our entire family these past 24 years and she is the absolute best.
Two years ago, Dr Shapira helped me with the decision to get porcelein veneers and I am thrilled with the results! The level of expertise he has, the wealth of knowledge that both doctors have, the kindness and care that everyone there displays – honestly, there is no place I would rather go and I have recommended many friends to this practice.
You can really tell that at Delany Dental Care, everyone there is treated like they are part of their family. Everyone there makes you feel like you are as important to them as members of their own family. I highly recommend this practice to anyone looking for themselves or their entire family to be treated! You cannot go wrong with choosing Delany Dental!

– DS