509. Neuromuscular Dentistry: Solutions for TMJ, Headaches & Breathing Disorders w/ Dr. Kevin Winters

Dr. Kevin Winters

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Dr. Kevin Winters, founder of The Hills Dental Spa, shares what neuromuscular dentistry is and how it changes lives. We get into the most common causes for grinding your teeth. Plus, we explore treatments for TMJ and TMD, tongue and lip ties, sleep apnea, headaches, and neck pain.

Dr. Kevin Winters has been interested in human performance and health from the time he was a child. Growing up as a competitive athlete in multiple sports, he attended Kansas State University and competed on the football team. He has been at The Hills Dental Spa since 2018. Here, Dr. Winters has established a very unique practice devoted to not only the highest level of dentistry, but also patient service.

For over 26 years, Dr. Winters has been at the forefront of dental learning, serving as a clinical instructor at the world-famous Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. He has been a part of teaching and helping over 10,000 dentists from 52 countries learn how to do cosmetic and TMJ dentistry. Dr Winters has now become the course director at LVI. In addition, Dr. Winters has lectured internationally and published multiple articles in dental journals.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Today’s episode offers a whole lot of important information to sink your teeth into. I’m joined by Dr. Kevin Winters, a neuromuscular dentist who specializes in bite and jaw issues. Dr. Winters founded The Hills Dental Spa in Austin, Texas. Listeners can visit thehillsdentalspa.com to receive a free consultation. 

After years of grinding my teeth and countless dental issues, I worked with Dr. Winters on a full mouth restoration. And I’ve been blown away by the results – the process corrected my bite, alleviated my neck pain, and even changed the shape of my face. Even though neuromuscular dentistry can change lives, it’s not widely understood or even taught in most dental schools.

In this episode, Dr. Winters explains what neuromuscular dentistry is and why it’s so impactful, taking us through the entire process of my mouth restoration as I share my personal experience. 

We talk about how your teeth are connected to neck pain, headaches, muscle structure, posture, and more – and get into the most common causes for grinding your teeth and how to fix them. Plus, we explore treatments for TMJ and TMD, tongue and lip ties, and sleep apnea. 

Dr. Winters also answers some burning questions: Is there any actual wisdom in removing wisdom teeth? What do pacifiers do to babies’ jaws? And is fixing your teeth really like an instant facelift? 

(00:08) Dr. Winters’ Path to Dentistry 

  • Almost becoming a Dallas Cowboy
  • Shifting from athletics to academics 
  • What is neuromuscular dentistry? 
  • Dentists aren’t taught the complexities of jaw movement 

(10:01) Luke’s Experience Working With Dr. Winters

(22:24) Getting to the Root of the Issues

  • The most common causes of grinding your teeth 
  • The impact of lip and tongue ties in infants 
  • How mouth breathing as children affects us as adults
  • The benefits of nasal breathing 
  • Why lack of sleep from breathing issues is often misdiagnosed as ADHD
  • How holistic dentistry can change lives 

(34:07) The Impact of Bottles & Pacifiers 

  • NUK bottles and pacifiers 
  • Breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding for facial structure formation 
  • Dr. Winters’ perspective on pacifiers 
  • The need for airway consideration in orthodontics 
  • The consequences of permanent teeth removal in teens

(44:01) Is There Any Wisdom in Removing Wisdom Teeth? 

  • How our jaws have gotten smaller over the centuries 
  • Why diet changes over time contribute to jaw changes
  • Why your wisdom teeth are there for a reason 

(51:41) Treating Tongue Ties 

  • Laser procedure to treat tongue ties 
  • Getting tongue or lip ties released as an adult 
  • Tracey Brizendine, tongue specialist 
  • How you can train your tongue to function properly 
  • How tongue ties impact TMJ
  • Dr. Zaghi, tongue tie release doctor

(01:00:44) The Diagnostic Process 

  • The use of a 3D cat scan in addition to normal X-rays
  • EMG technology to analyze muscle activity 
  • Using a specific frequency to stimulate nerves 
  • Why night guards can create more problems 
  • The different types of orthotics 
  • The options for handling bite issues 

(01:16:31) The Far-Reaching Effects of TMJ & TMD

  • The difference between TMJ and TMD
  • The connection between TMD and headaches
  • Why TMD is a pain in your neck 
  • The downsides of looking down at your phone

(01:26:21) Fixing Your Bite Overnight 

  • Sleep breathing disorders, from snoring to sleep apnea
  • The pros and cons of CPAP machines 
  • Alternatives to CPAP machines to keep your airway open 

(01:38:01) An Instant Facelift 

  • The aesthetic benefits of dental work 
  • How this work improved the shape of Luke’s face
  • How correcting your bite impacts your diet 

(01:46:07) Preparing to Build a New Bite

  • The posture pump to align cervical neck posture 
  • The homework that can maximize your results 
  • Making medicine a team effort 
  • How the bite is related to ear issues 

(02:00:50) The Process of a Full Mouth Restoration 

  • Treatment options if you’re not local to Austin, TX
  • A typical timeline for a full mouth restoration 
  • Luke’s experience recording the podcast with orthotics 
  • Dr. Winters’ revolutionary approach to serving patients 
  • The Hills Dental Spa (Listeners receive a complimentary consultation) 

(02:15:07) The Future of the Dental Industry 

  • What happens when dentistry goes corporate 
  • Dr. Winters’ wish for the dental industry 
  • Increased interest in holistic and biological dentistry 

(02:24:16) Dr. Winters’ Greatest Teachers 

  • What Dr. Winters has learned from the mindset of athletics 
  • The tenacity and discipline required in dentistry 

Luke Storey: [00:00:11] Dr. Kevin Winters, tell me how you almost became a Dallas Cowboy.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:00:17] Actually, that was probably more in my mind than in actuality. But no, it was one of those things growing up that it seemed like I was always very interested in sports, and athletics, and football, and growing up in the Midwest, football is the thing. And at the time, I just felt connected to the Dallas Cowboys. And so as a result, I went overboard.

But as a kid, I could tell you statistics about every player, where they're from, what they did, all this kind of stuff. It was a deep dive into everything Dallas Cowboy. But in actuality, like I said, it was probably more of a dream than anything else. Played multiple sports through high school. Played college football at Kansas State. 

Once I was there, the leap from high school to college is tremendous. It's completely a different game. But the leap then forward from college to professional is a whole different level. And I realized that I wasn't that good no matter how bad I wanted to be.

But that's also the time that I realized-- academically I was doing pretty good and had a chance maybe to go further academically, and it felt this interest for dentistry as a profession. So got to the point where it was just a realization that, hey, my football career is pretty much over. I need to look at big picture and what's going to take me into life. And that definitely was the choice to go into dentistry.

Luke Storey: [00:01:58] And tell us about neuromuscular dentistry. And does that differ from being an airway dentist, or are those synonymous?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:02:11] Yeah. They're different, but they're very interrelated. So in dental school, even currently, certainly when I was there, there's really no mention of anything about neuromuscular dentistry, because what we're talking about there is the relationship of muscles, and nerves, and how that affects things that go on with your jaw and development of your face over time. 

And traditional dental teaching tells us nothing about that at all. It's teeth, and bones, and angles, and very hard tissue structured stuff. One of the things that's related to the jaw in particular is-- we're basically all taught that your jaw moves like a hinge on a door. You open the door, and it hinges one way. And closes. It goes back the other way. But if you feel your jaw when you open and close your jaw, it doesn't do that at all.

In fact, there's interesting test that if you put your first finger in your ear with your teeth closed and then just open, the first movement that you feel is your jaw moving forward. So that right there changes your concept of this hinge movement to something that actually translates forward and hinges at the same time as it opens. 

But all of dentistry and all of joint teachings and occlusion teachings that have to do with the movement of the jaw center around this hinge axis movement, which is false from the very beginning. But it's also interesting in that the formal teaching of occlusion, and jaw movement, and stuff when you're going through dental school, it's made to be this mysterious thing that only a few people really understand.

And maybe you as a student can get some of the concepts, but some of the things they teach you don't make sense. No one can do it. You're not the gifted master who's teaching on this stuff. So occlusion and job movement just gets put on the back burner. 

You get out and dentists that are now actually out in the field and working and seeing patients, most of the time when there's something jaw related, they say, here, go get a nightguard, and put it in, and you'll be okay, which is really nothing more than, I don't know what to do, so put this in there, and maybe it'll work. Maybe it doesn't. I don't know where to go with this.

And that's the majority of dentists now. That was me until I learned better. But that's a reflection of the educational part of that for all of us up to this point. So neuromuscular dentistry then is almost the antithesis of that. It's saying that I really don't care that much about teeth, and bones, and that kind of stuff.

It's more about, what are the muscles doing in movement? How do the nerves initiate the muscles to make these changes? What's the proprioception of things once the movement has happened? And then once you take that into consideration, you can simply make all the puzzle pieces fit wherever that location is.

Because no matter what happens, your teeth coming in together, wherever that is in a person's bite and structure, is dictated by a multitude of things that go back to birth. And it starts this just line of action and result, action and result from the very beginning that forms your face and forms where your teeth meet. And the majority of that has nothing to do with the muscles.

The muscles have to accommodate that and close your teeth together so you can chew, and swallow, and things like that. But they weren't really asked their opinion of things. They were dictated by the growth and formation of the bones and then where the teeth meet and have to accommodate to that position. But then that is in turn what leads to so many symptoms related to TMJ problems.

So we've found that although the focus sometimes gets put on what's happening with the teeth, the teeth are simply a symptom of this other issue that's not so easily seen but is really the driving force for the problems. So then your goal as a neuromuscular dentist is to identify what that issue is, what the muscles want to do, how that coordinates with how the teeth function in an effort to become symptom-free, to get rid of a multitude of different problems that this TMJ or TMD problem can create, and do so in a way where things are pretty predictable now.

If you follow certain protocols that we have, it has become fun to do, and it's taken a lot of the anxiety away from treating crazy TMJ patients, which we were all taught everyone is. But again, you don't know what to do with them. So they're nuts. It's their problem, it's not me. Instead of I need to learn more about this so I can help these people.

So long story here, around back to the original question, so neuromuscular dentistry focuses really on muscles, and movement, and things like that. Airway-driven dentistry is more about you just got to breathe. How can dentistry be a part of helping someone breathe? And again, it's very multifaceted, as so much of this does.

 What's happening as an infant, as a child? What about the formation of the skull? And how do you create this airway problem down the road? What's led to this? You just didn't wake up one day and have this problem. It's an evolution over time of the realization that you're not breathing well. And so the airway focus in dentistry can disregard some of the neuromuscular concepts, but neuromuscular concepts always consider airway.

Luke Storey: [00:09:29] Okay.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:09:30] So there's different ways of trying to help airway issues in dentistry but has nothing to do with the response of the muscles. It's just simply how can I get the airway larger so you can breathe better irregardless of anything else? But what happens many times in those situations is it can actually create other problems because they weren't addressed from a muscular standpoint, along with the airway opening process. So yeah, they're related but different at the same time.

Luke Storey: [00:10:07] Okay. So in my case, and for those listening, a lot of the stuff we're going to cover is based on my subjective experience of working with you and your team at the Hills Dental Spa over the past, I don't know how many months. I feel like I'm finally done now. I'm scheduled for my next cleaning in a couple of months or something, but we-- 

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:10:27] Finally.

Luke Storey: [00:10:28] Went through a major reconstruction, and what led to that was, I think, who knows, and maybe you have some insight into this in terms of what happens at birth if a baby is using a pacifier, or is breastfed, or is tongue-tied, and some of the things that lead to this. But essentially, I think what my situation was that I had some airway obstruction throughout my life and thus would clench and grind my teeth at night when I was sleeping and just wore down my teeth to dysfunctional nubs.

Really, I could barely even chew a steak. It was a huge project. And I'd always gone to-- not always-- but in my adult life, gone to biological dentist and made sure I got my mercury fillings removed, and we weren't using any toxins, and we were using biocompatible composite to fill fillings.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:11:24] Which is all important stuff.

Luke Storey: [00:11:25] Yeah. And then I reached a point, even with doctors Nunnally and Owens out here in Marble Falls, who are great at that type of dentistry, and reached a point with them where they're like, you've hit the threshold of how we can help you because you basically need all crowns and veneers. Your teeth are just gone.

And their strategy to a certain point was, we want to keep as much of your original organic tooth matter as possible. We don't want to keep drilling and filling until you have nothing. So I hit a wall there. But it seems that a lot of that had to do with the grinding. And I went to just a regular neighborhood dentist in Koreatown probably 20 years ago, and they said, you grind, and you need to wear this nightguard. It was $750 for the nightguard.

And stupidly, at the time, I thought they were just trying to give me another line item on the bill and milk me for $750, so I was like, I don't need that. Went on for years grinding and having no idea because you're sleeping. I didn't wake up going, oh my God, I'm grinding. But the degradation of my tooth height showed that. So Kyle Kingsbury led me to you, a patient of yours, and a friend of mine, and he had a similar kind of problem. So my question-- 

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:12:50] It was either that for him or getting punched in the face a few hundred times. It was very similar.

Luke Storey: [00:12:56] So the interesting about it for me is if I hadn't found you and I would have just went to, I guess, a cosmetic dentist that could have just capped all my old damaged teeth, they would have just built that bite on a misaligned bite based on my old bite that was wrong. Right?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:13:17] Right, right, right.

Luke Storey: [00:13:18] So I feel like I dodged a bullet in it was just the time had come where I needed new permanent teeth because mine were just not usable. How many people do you think go and get a whole mouth restoration with dentists that are ignorant of airways and the neuromuscular aspect of it?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:13:39] Yeah. No. That's very, very true. The challenge that we have in this neuromuscular field is one of just exposing this to more dentists. And one of the things that I've been involved with throughout my career is there's a teaching facility in Las Vegas where, for 25-plus years now, I've been a clinical instructor of courses that teach dentists how to do this stuff. And in that time, we've served over 10,000 dentists from 52 different countries across the world, teaching them about this type of dentistry.

It's gotten to the point now where I'm actually changed from clinical instructor to-- myself and a couple of other guys are actually in charge of doing all the courses. And the challenge that we have with this is getting people into the courses, getting dentists into the courses. Been around for a long time. The track record is certainly there, the success is there, but many times dentists in this area don't want to step outside the box of what they've learned.

They learn this. They're comfortable with this. This is what their buddy knows. This is what their dad, who was a dentist, knew. This is it. And if I have to go learn all this other stuff, it's going to take time. It's going to take money. It's going to take effort. And so sometimes dentists have the opinion that being okay is good enough.

They don't want to go to the next level. They don't want to continue the learning process to be able to expand their knowledge so they can help this huge group of people that have issues that need help, that just are either ignored or pooh-poohed along the way. It's like, yeah, take this pill. You'll be okay. 

And it's honestly more of a traditional medical approach to things instead of finding the source of what the problem is. Take this medicine. There's a group in dentistry that says clenching, grinding, TMJ pain, and issues, it's all psychological. It's in your head. It's really not happening. You should meditate. You should do whatever and--

Luke Storey: [00:16:18] If that worked, I would have been fixed a long time ago. I've been meditating for a long time.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:16:23] Yeah. A lot of people would. And you think about this. It doesn't make sense for that to be that way. And patients don't know. Many choose their providers based on their friends. They've had a great experience somewhere. They personally liked the office. The doctor's nice. He didn't hurt me. But the decisions are made more based on things like that rather than knowledge of procedures and things that could truly help them, instead of just masking over the fact.

You talk about having your situation done with a cosmetic dentist or whatever. I'm sure they could have made your teeth very nice, and pretty, and all that kind of stuff, but my question is three, four, five, 10 years from now, how many of them are still going to be in there that haven't chipped, and cracked, and broken? Because if you're doing that to your own teeth, you're absolutely going to do it to porcelain teeth because they don't wear, they break.

So yeah, initially, it can look nice, but the question then becomes how long is it going to last? And you didn't have a lot of pain type of symptoms, but most people in situations like yours do. And so in that same scenario, you could go and have a pretty smile. It looks nice. But you still have all these other issues from headaches, ear issues, facial pain, neck issues. It's very far-reaching. 

So pretty smile versus I still feel like crap. Now, in doing it the way that you've experienced, in this more total body approach to things, then you can have the great smile, know that it's going to last, and not have pain all at the same time.

Luke Storey: [00:18:21] As you're describing that, I don't think I noticed it until right now, but I don't have neck pain anymore.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:18:29] We deal with so much which is crazy.

Luke Storey: [00:18:33] It's so weird. I didn't realize. It's one of those things, you have something that just becomes chronic and nagging, and then you just numb it out, and it takes-- I realize right now it's taken me some time to actually identify that it's much better, even though I didn't do-- I worked with Alex Rybczynski, who I'm sure was helpful in getting everything aligned structurally so that my new bite fit. So that was great working with him. Shout out to Alex.

But yeah, thinking back, even throughout the procedure, as we were putting in the temporary orthotics and all that, which we can talk about, I was still having some neck problems. Just waking up and--

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:19:12] I remember.

Luke Storey: [00:19:13] Just feeling weird. And yeah, I'm happy to report that that's gone, which is interesting. 

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:19:18] And what's crazy with people is, early in the process, we'll ask them questions about their neck or-- here's one that makes no sense to most people. One of our initial questions can be about, do you ever experience numbness or tingling in your hands and fingers? I'm a dentist, I'm asking you about numbness in your hands and fingers. How does that fit? There's teeth, and there's fingers. What's the connection there?

But it has to do with muscles that extend through your neck, that wrap around certain nerve centers that then go down your arm, and next thing you know, you've got numbness and tingling in your hands and fingers. So what we're dealing with is not just teeth, and it's not just your jaw. It's all the things that are interrelated and connected, and how do these things function with each other instead of against each other?

It's the whole hip bone connected to the knee bone, and all this kind of stuff. We spend so much time with people on their posture, both head posture, so neck and cervical posture, but back and hips. And again, what does that have to do with dentistry, and TMJ, and jaws? It's all connected. And to get the most optimal result, we can't ignore those things. You may get better, but not as good as what you could have been if we didn't address these other things.

Luke Storey: [00:20:50] Sure. And what do you think are the most common root causes of the grinding and clenching that wears people's teeth down, and then I'm sure, has other effects we can get into, headaches, and TMJ, and TMD, and all this? What's the deal? Is the person, AKA me, trying to get more air at night and then trying to create space, or what's happening? 

If it's not a psychosomatic thing of, oh, I'm really stressed out, I need to meditate, which I don't think was the case with me because I've times of low stress and everything going well in life, I still was grinding just as much as I would have in a stressful time.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:21:32] And that's such a common thing that people will tell us, is like, yeah, I was clenching some, but I'm just stressed. The stress goes away, I'm not going to do it. You are going to do it. You may not be as aware of it, but that doesn't change based upon only stress. Can stress be a role in things? Sure, but it's not the cause of things.

So how does all this happen? And that opens up a big continuum box here. So it goes back to when we were babies. Literally, out of the womb, initially, the ability to suckle properly and breastfeed, so are the things called lip ties and tongue ties, which is a connection of the tongue or the lips through muscle fibers that don't allow the movement that they need to suckle properly. 

And it's very easy to see, but yet the person who typically catches it, if it's caught, is a lactation consultant, three months into it when mom is dead tired and sore because it's not happening. And the baby's frustrated and has gas, and it's just this whole breastfeeding thing just isn't working.

But if you know what to look for-- and again, it's not hard. It's just having the medical community relate one plus one is two. If you know what to look for, then the treatment is also very easy. I have two grandchildren. Both of them had lip and tongue ties when they were born, and both of them had them released within the first five days of their life. Special laser, pediatric dentist that handles that kind of stuff, typically, and it changed the course of their development.

So let's say that didn't happen, which it doesn't so many times. So that leads then to typically breastfeeding not happening as long as it should. So then you transfer to formula, different things. Obviously, one of the benefits of breastfeeding is the autoimmune effects that it has in helping the child have a more optimal nutrition that helps them develop ways to combat things that they're going to be up against as they get older. 

So when that doesn't happen, then all of a sudden you've got problems with allergies, and ear issues, and things like that that can all go back to the simple fact that they didn't breastfeed long enough and have those inherent benefits from that.

So then that goes on. They've got earaches, they've got allergies. Typically, with the inflammation from allergies, then they turn into mouth breathers. And there's so many pictures of little babies. And you'll notice in their sleep, their lips are not closed. Aw, the baby looks so cute. And they do. It's a cute little baby. 

But what they should be doing if things were functionally properly is the lips should be together and they're breathing through their nose. If they're not breathing through their nose, they're breathing through their mouth, and that changes the tongue position. The tongue is a very strong muscle, and it's the developer of facial form, especially the upper jaw.

So if the tongue is resting low, it's not in the roof of the mouth where it should be because they're breathing through the nose-- so they're breathing through their mouth, the tongue is low, the tongue is not where it should be to help the body form the right dimension of the upper jaw-- then that continued mouth breathing goes on over the next multiple years, which many times then leads into-- we talked about earaches, the chronic ear infections and stuff, which has to do with Eustachian tube coming from the back of the throat into the ears, and you know how that all happens.

Children grinding their teeth, and many times people talk about, I can hear my kid sleeping, and their teeth are grinding. You see flattened baby teeth." That's simply a response of, I'm trying to breathe. I need to get my jaw forward. Let's do something to keep me breathing. So that is a sign as well.

It continues on from there, and now we've got tonsils and adenoids that are huge and inflamed and left in there many times too long because, again, we go back to the medical community on this. The reimbursement rates for tonsillectomy is next to nothing. So whether it's the right thing to do or not, many physicians don't do it just because it's not worth their time to do it, which opens up the door of health care, and insurance. And all this kind of stuff. Like I was saying, this can go so many different ways. 

So then tonsils, adenoids are kept in place, which makes nasal breathing that much harder. As they get older then, and especially as adults, one of the things you'll remember in your case, we take a special 3D CT scan of your head and neck, and with that, we're able to see inside your nose things that are called turbinates, the nasal septum. 

So many people that have difficulty breathing through their mouth, it's related to the inability to breathe through their nose because the turbinates are enlarged, which cuts down on the airway volume and you just can't get enough air through your nose. So again, one way or another, you're going to breathe. So you open your mouth, and you breathe through your mouth.

Nasal breathing is completely different than breathing through your mouth. You'll get oxygen both ways, but in nasal breathing, you also get the benefits of the production of what's called nitric oxide, which has huge overall body benefits. So this natural production doesn't happen as well. There's also things that go back and relate hormonally that can affect appetite.

And many times, one of the reasons related to obesity or being overweight has to do with the inability to breathe through your nose and the lack of this hormone reception. You just keep eating. So there's so many levels to this that all start back when you were a kid and are centered around breathing or the inability to breathe, and then the formation of the face that is a result of those changes that didn't happen.

So in a person that is mouth breathing for years and their facial form doesn't happen-- and I just thought of this too that I want to bring up, I think one of the most misdiagnosed problems we have with our children as they grow up is related to the diagnosis of ADHD because the symptoms of not sleeping and the symptoms of ADHD are almost identical.

And so the idea that all of a sudden every kid you run into has diagnosis of ADHD, and I can look at them and see the physical changes and tell you absolutely that's more than likely not the case, the kid can't breathe at night. And there's so many actually very moving stories, almost like little documentary stories I've seen on YouTube of families that have documented the problems that their children have with this exact issue.

So the kid isn't sleeping. They go to school. They fall asleep. They cause problems. They're not learning. They're not able to concentrate. They're creating problems, and they're troublemakers, and one thing leads to another. Then that gets them typecast into this kind of kid. So that further takes them out of maybe the better educational opportunities over here because, well, that kid has got ADD. Put them over here. And many times they just get forgotten about or lost in the shuffle.

And the simple realization that the kids are not breathing and do things to change that, whether it be tonsils and adenoids removed, changes within the structure of their mouth, orthodontically typically at that age, to create more room for their tongue to look at things that are going on inside their nose, to control allergies, to just enable the kid to freaking breathe. And then, as soon as that's done, it's like it's a completely different kid. Didn't have ADHD. Couldn't breathe.

Luke Storey: [00:31:14] Wow.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:31:15] And so another issue that we have in dentistry is getting people to understand this because it's not taught. This is all stuff that you have to go out after you're out in the working world and educate yourself about because it's not part of our formal teaching. But this stuff, whether it be airway, whether it be the neuromuscular, TMJ kind of stuff, that has such a huge impact on people's lives as opposed to doing a filling on their molar. It needs to be done, but no, I can't think of the last time someone thanked me for changing their life by doing a filling. 

But I can tell you multiple stories of patients that we've had that are on the verge of suicide due to pain and a feeling of there's no one else that can help me until they came into our office. We were able to address the issues, get them out of pain, and change their life that way. So for me personally, that's why I do this stuff. That's the impact that I want to have on people, to truly have an effect on their life rather than cleaning their teeth.

Luke Storey: [00:32:31] Nice. That's a great overview. In terms of the mouth breathing in kids and then the subsequent grinding, and behavioral issues, and all the things that come after that, what happens to the formation of a baby's jaw, and teeth, and mouth when they're breastfed for a natural duration of time versus, in my case, I was never breastfed once?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:33:02] That explains it then.

Luke Storey: [00:33:03] I guess I was eating out of a bottle. Yeah. If ADD would have been a thing when I was a kid, which I don't think it was, they just said, hits kid's nuts. Put him in the short bus. But if a kid's eating or getting their sustenance from a bottle, the nipple on a bottle is much different than the nipple on a breast. And most parents, I think, still give their kids pacifiers because they want them to suck on something. What do bottles and pacifiers do to make this problem worse versus a kid who's breastfeeding for 3 or 4 years or whatever?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:33:39] Obviously, great question. I will say this, if you have to do that, if you have to bottle feed, or you think you have to use a pacifier, which you don't, but if you think you need to, there is a company called NUK, it's N-U-K, that has a very unique shape to their pacifiers, to their bottle nipples that if you have to do it, that would be the one to do. But that aside, there's no comparison to the benefits that the natural breastfeeding would have.

So the changes, again, have to do with tongue position and what the tongue does during that process. It's a very different positioning, I guess, the suction ability or whatever of one versus the other is very different, which begins the process of forming this very moldable, bendable, bony structure that we have as a child and starts the process either the right way or the wrong way.

I've got a friend right now that has a grandson who's-- Oh gosh, I think he's probably almost three. Every picture I see of him, he's got a pacifier in his mouth. Like, dude, rip that thing out. What are you doing? And you get to the point where a kid is 5, or 6, or 4, in that range there, I can tell just by looking at a kid if they've been on pacifier for the majority of their life or not, because it changes the bony structure of their face. And therefore, the lip position changes, the teeth position change. It's very identifiable if you know what you're looking for.

But the parent many times thinks that, it's soothing for my baby. It's going to help them sleep better. It's going to do whatever. You may think that, but you're thinking incorrectly. There's other ways to do that without damaging the facial growth, the airway breathability of your child by giving them this pacifier. So I'm really big against that. There's no need for it. It's a convenience for the parent more than anything.

Luke Storey: [00:36:16] She's going to keep dentists like you in business if they keep doing. Eventually, they're going to hit their 30s, 40s, or 50s and come see a guy like you as an adult because their bite is jacked up.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:36:27] It's crazy. I remember when I first started in practice, I was in a small town in Oklahoma, and we had an orthodontist that would come in couple of days a week and see patients in there. And the other dentists in the town, we all thought this guy was crazy. He was this wacko orthodontist because he would talk to his patients about their airway and getting their tonsils out and their adenoids out and doing all this airway stuff. And it's like, man, just go straighten your teeth. You don't need to talk about all this other stuff.

 Little did I know at the time this guy was so far ahead of everyone else. We thought he was crazy. He was just leading the whole area of this airway-focused dentistry. And I would say this too. One thing that parents should definitely be looking for in orthodontics as they begin treatment with their kids for that is making sure that the orthodontist is talking to you as well about airway. Because again, most don't. And there are some that do. And I guarantee you the ones that do will have better, more stable outcomes than the ones that don't. So just a little FYI.

Luke Storey: [00:37:50] So say a kid has teeth that aren't coming in straight or there's big gaps and things like that, and they go to an orthodontist, and they want to make their teeth "straight". It's probably quite common then that they're making their teeth straight on a misaligned bite, which--

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:38:07] 100%. 

Luke Storey: [00:38:07] They're now going to have for life and have all these other problems related to that later on.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:38:13] And see, as someone like myself who deals with these problems after the fact, it feels almost like it's easy for the orthodontist to get nice straight teeth because he doesn't have to see the result of that 20, 30, 40 years down the road. So it's a success. We've got straight teeth. Little Johnny's smile looks great. And then I deal with Little Johnny when he's a Big Johnny and has situations like you had.

Luke Storey: [00:38:44] Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:38:46] So from that standpoint, I think two important things there. There needs to be airway consideration in orthodontics and-- a couple more things. Looking at things in an initial phase of orthodontics, anywhere from 6 to 7 to 8, probably no later than 9 years old, to do certain things. That then sets the stage for maybe a second round in the 12, 13, 14 range that's a fine-tuning of things.

In that mix, unfortunately, still many orthodontists want permanent teeth removed to do this, and I can tell you the majority of those people end up seeing me. Because when that happens, it's easier for the orthodontist to get the teeth aligned. 

But in doing so, it also retracts the jaw and the teeth back instead of extending it more forward where the ability to breathe is that much better. The more stability of their bite is going to be forward not jammed back. And that's what happens when permanent teeth are removed and everything is retracted, instead of the focus being more on forward growth.

Luke Storey: [00:40:06] Got it. No, that's interesting. I love this stuff. You can go as deep as you want on any of these answers, by the way, because I know myself and the audience are going to appreciate the nuanced perspective and the details. One thing that I've always been curious about is the common practice of removing wisdom teeth.

And I think you'd probably know better than me because you've seen it in my mouth so much. Which, by the way, I don't know how dentists do your job. Mouths are so gross to me. Whenever I get my teeth worked on, I feel guilty that the dental assistant and the dentists have to be inside my gross mouth.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:40:43] And for me, I don't even think twice about it, but I'd never be a proctologist.

Luke Storey: [00:40:47] Yeah, yeah. Well, if you're going to be on one end, you picked the right end.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:40:50] I'd rather be where I'm at and not at the other end.

Luke Storey: [00:40:52] 100%. But to the point of the teeth, so I had the one wisdom tooth removed, and it seems to me-- And I did an episode the other day on circumcision, for example. So I'm not a supporter of that practice, having been a victim of it. But I think that God is a really intelligent designer, the ultimate designer. And so I just think of body parts, whether it's the appendix or our wisdom teeth, that they're there for a reason.

So is there a correlation between more babies being bottle-fed and being on pacifiers and things like that, where the jaw and the space for the tongue and all of that shrinks up and therefore necessitates the removal of the wisdom teeth? How did that come into practice?

And is there ever a good reason for that? Or could you take a kid, like in the practice that you have, your style of dentistry and they're starting to run out of room in their mouth, apply some sort of device or something that creates more space to allow room for the wisdom teeth?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:41:59] Very good points there. So the answer to that is if you get that kid at six, seven, eight, along in there and begin a process of growing that face the way that it needs to be, then you have a better chance of having room for wisdom teeth than if you don't.

But why do so many people not have room? Because you cannot have room for your wisdom teeth and have a very stable bite, you have no TMJ issues, you breathe through your nose. That can still be. It's interesting if you look back at very old skulls. I'm talking way back. What you'll see most of the time is they have their wisdom teeth erupted on the skulls.

And at the time, the theory is a lot of that had to do with what the diet was. So back then, you're eating harder, crunchier things, nuts and you're using this device for your nutrition, but your nutrition consists of things that you have to chew. So you're utilizing on this stuff.

 And over time, as our diet has changed and become more westernized or whatever you want to call it, there's so much less of that. So the stimulation for the bone to be more robust is not there. And then over time, genetically, things are passed from one generation to the next. Our jaws have actually gotten smaller as a whole. 

So the main reason now is for the problem with wisdom teeth really goes back thousands of years ago to the change of our diet over time. You look now, even we've been talking a lot about kids, everything's in a squeezable plastic tube. You got your applesauce, you got your Go-Gurt. Everything's in this tube. And so you're not chewing anymore. You're not eating raw carrots, and nuts, and stuff like that. You're eating processed food.

And I'm not saying that Go-Gurt has caused us not to have problems with wisdom teeth, but it's an example of how the diet has changed. And that change over these thousands of years is what led to smaller jaws and then the inability for us to have room for wisdom teeth. Now, if there's room for them to come in, there's no reason to take them out.

But most of us just don't have the room for them to erupt into the mouth and be functional and cleansable. And when they're not, then they're either stuck back in the bone. That can create other problems with the tooth in front of it. Then there can be localized infections and things, and so it's better to remove them just to prevent these other problems.

Luke Storey: [00:45:06] Got it. There's an interesting thing that I came across recently. You see just these memes and short videos on social media and whatnot about the meridian system and how each tooth is connected to a different organ and a part of your body and all that. So now people are starting to talk about the origins of the term wisdom tooth as it pertains to brain function and things like that. 

And as you know, I've been dealing with tinnitus mostly in my left ear for a long time. And I wonder if there's a correlation between having my upper left wisdom tooth removed, if that affected something in the inner ear at some point. I think I had it pulled as a kid. It seems to me, again, going back to just intelligent design, that had we not been on grains and soft foods for the 10,000 years or whatever, and everyone's heads and skulls have shrunk and we're devolving, I wonder if there's an involved purpose of the wisdom teeth and having them removed perhaps creates other problems.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:46:19] Yeah. And quite honestly, I am probably not as up on the whole meridian aspect. I know of it, but I don't know enough to really speak about it that much. But as you pointed out before, I don't think God made anything that we weren't supposed to have. So whether it be your appendix, or a wisdom tooth, or whatever, I think they're there for a reason.

And it's foolish to think that we have these expendable parts because they're just there and there's really no use for them. I don't know, I think that's more a man-made problem than one of the design of our body.

Luke Storey: [00:47:02] Totally. Think about the conservation of energy. Why would our bodies be designed to pump all this energy into making wisdom teeth if they weren't useful in some way?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:47:13] Yeah. No, that's exactly right.

Luke Storey: [00:47:15] But anyway, here we are. What was I going to ask you? Oh, I want to go back to just kids because I know a lot of parents listen to this, and I want to help people avoid having problems later in life, like the ones that I'm always running around trying to fix. So you mentioned this superior bottle. What was it called? The NUK?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:47:39] NUK, N-U-K.

Luke Storey: [00:47:40] N-U-K. We're going to put that in the show notes, by the way, you guys. We'll call it lukestorey.com/winters, after Dr. Kevin Winters. lukestorey.com/winters. So we'll put information discussed in that. Now, do those guys make a different shape bottle, or are they making also pacifiers?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:47:58] No, they do both.

Luke Storey: [00:47:59] Okay.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:48:00] There's different sizes of pacifiers with this same basic shape, different sizes for the bottle that fits anymore. Of course, I'm past the point of using or being around those myself, but I know they used to have the nipple part separate from the bottle. They may make the whole thing together now, but I'm sure at this point there's multiple products available through their line. But like anything else, search it on Google, and I'm sure you can get there pretty easy.

Luke Storey: [00:48:34] Great. And then the other thing I was going to ask about-- What was it? Luke, what was it? The bottles. The pacifiers. Oh, the tongue-tie or lip-tie situation. For people that have newborns, how would they find a proper practitioner to determine if that's an issue, and then can I fix it?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:48:56] And that's a great question. It's typically going to be a pediatric dentist. Some general dentists do it as well. There are some ENTs that may be involved with that also. The thing that's I think the most important part of that, other than the training and abilities from the individual, but it's the use of a special laser, a certain type of laser to do the procedure.

It revolves any cutting, and stitching, and things like that. So you don't have to worry about that. It literally goes in and just melts away the fibers that are connected. The healing is quick, easy. There's not a lot to it. The response from my personal situation with my grandchildren, I didn't see really any-- you'd think pain, or soreness, or big recovery afterwards. They're just back to normal after that.

So hopefully, the hospital itself would have someone there that could identify that. But in the preparation classes that so many moms will be a part of, or couples, whatever, that's a question to ask the leaders of that. There should be some type of network setup that could get quick answers for that.

Now, if not, just off the top of my head, I think reaching out to a local pediatric dentist and just asking them, do you do this? Because if they don't, they probably know one that does. But that would be probably the primary resource to start with if you can't find information through the hospital-related people.

Luke Storey: [00:50:43] Okay, cool. Do you ever have cases with clients of yours where you recommend having a tongue-tie or lip-tie released as an adult as part of your-- 

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:50:52] All the time.

Luke Storey: [00:50:53]  Oh, you do?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:50:53]  All the time.

Luke Storey: [00:50:54] I didn't have it bad enough?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:50:57] No.

Luke Storey: [00:50:57] Okay.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:50:57] No. No, that's, again, one thing we haven't talked about. But that's part of this overall approach I take with treating facial pain, TMJ issues, bite issues. The process should be the same. In fact, I use the same pediatric dentist for these adult patients. But number one, you've got to identify it. You've got to check for it. Again, nothing I was taught in dental school. This is all after-the-fact stuff.

So after you identify it, then there's some things that-- we also work with a great lady here in town named Tracey Brizendine, who is a myofunctional therapist. Basically, she's a tongue lady. Who even knew that was a thing? But she's probably the most enthusiastic tongue person you will ever meet. But what we use her for with our patients is to help people train their tongues to function properly.

I don't know about you. I don't go around thinking about my tongue very much, but there are definitely things that it should be doing and things that it shouldn't be doing. And sometimes it does things the wrong way because it can't do it the right way because there is a tongue-tie. It doesn't allow the mobility of the tongue to be there.

So the myofunctional therapist, her role in this is to give you tools and exercises to train your tongue, what it should be doing and not doing. And many times, when the tongue is tied, it's also weak at the same time. So it usually goes through a process of strengthening the tongue. And then once that's gone through its process, the referral to the pediatric dentist to do the tongue-tie release is done, and the tongue is strong enough to control itself in the proper way once it's loose. Okay.

So what does that have to do again, with bite, and TMJ, and pain, and all this kind of stuff? Well, tongue-ties in particular, they're a muscle connection to your tongue, and there is a-- think of it like a spider web that goes through your body called fascia. So fascia holds things together. And at the top of this fascia is this connection into your tongue.

And there's an ENT in California whose last name is Zaghi on his website. He does a lot of tongue-tie release and is very involved in this, but he's got a lot of information on his website and YouTube videos of patients undergoing tongue-tie release. And here's what's crazy, but it relates back to this fascia, this connection of everything being held together.

So there's one in particular that I remember. A guy is in the chair. They're filming him. They're asking him questions through the process. Everything's fine. It doesn't hurt, and his doctor's doing his thing. But as he's sitting there in the chair, his leg or his foot is bent over to the side like this. And that's just normal. That's how his foot always sits. When he sticks his leg out, it just hangs over this way. When the tongue-tie release is finished, he looks down, and his foot's straight.

Luke Storey: [00:54:33] Oh, wow.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:54:35] And so they start talking about that, and it's like, what's going on? What do you mean your foot is straightened? And he goes, I have no idea. It just straightened up as soon as you were done. Kind of crazy, a little weird when you think about it, but it relates back to this interchange of how everything's connected.

Many times, in his other videos, you'll have people undergoing the process again, and it's done, and their immediate response is like, oh, man, it feels like my shoulders are loose now. I can open up my chest, and I feel just different and loose up top here. Which, again, has to do with fascia being pulled. Now it's released, and it allows things to just relax.

So with that, as far as your jaw position goes and muscles up here, once it's released, it allows these muscles as well to change position of the jaw in finding more comfortable or closer to a more comfortable position jaw-wise as well. Yeah. And that's how it works with adults in tongue-ties.

Luke Storey: [00:55:50] Let's talk about the diagnostic process that you do, which, for me, as someone who's just into crazy health stuff, was really interesting. I like being hooked up to electrodes. I know something cool is happening, but the stuff that we did in terms of diagnostics was very different than-- and I've seen some great dentists. 

And of course, they might take a look for cavitations with a certain scanner and things like that, so beyond just regular X-rays. But you were hooking me up to TENS machines and all kinds of stuff. Yeah, I didn't ask that many questions as we were doing it. I just went with the flow, but maybe break down a typical process for you in terms of diagnosing someone's bite and then how you go about determining how you're going to fix it. 

Dr. Kevin Winters: [00:56:43] Yeah. Early in the process, we still take normal dental X-rays and stuff because we're looking for normal dental problems as part of the process. Whether it be gum disease or bone loss or cavities. That's all included. But more specifically to what our focus is here is, we start with a 3D CAT scan of the head and 

neck. And so we're looking at cervical vertebrae alignment. We're looking at nasal passages. We're looking at sinuses. We're looking at jaw position within the joint. We actually check for carotid artery calcifications or even others as well that can be indications that, hey, you need to get with your physician because this is a stroke ready-to-happen type of thing. So we're able to utilize it for multiple things.

In addition, and this is rare, but it's part of the process, there can be tumors, and cysts, and things that we can find through the use of that because it's such an encompassing view of the head and neck, but gives us a lot of early information. 

We combine that with an extensive history of issues, both how the patient is feeling and what they've noticed over the years, in addition to what I'm visually seeing inside their mouth and visually looking at their posture, looking at their head position, looking at, is the shoulder down versus that? Just all this alignment stuff that you have no idea I'm doing it, but it's part of what I'm doing.

We take that and come up with an early thought of what might be going on. Now, the next step in this, and we have some very unique technology that we're able to analyze muscle activity live. So it's a way of using what's called an EMG to get the activity of certain muscles that we put all those little pads on that you remember.

We can also track movement of the jaw in six dimensions. So by use of a magnet that's placed in opening, and closing, and moving, we can track jaw movement and how that relates to what the muscles are doing. So we get not only that the jaw opened, but this muscle contracted to make it move. And it just gives us a complete picture of everything related jaw-wise.

Once we have that, then I can put all the information together and come up with a plan of attack. How are we going to do this? What does this person need? And in many cases, and this was the case for you, we started with what's called an orthotic. 

So an orthotic is used to help simulate this new jaw position. And it looks like the muscles want the jaw to be in, but the teeth keep telling it to go over here in the wrong position. So in order to find that position, we utilize a very special frequency of TENS unit to stimulate a couple of nerves that then innervate multiple muscles and tell those muscles to just chill out. 

It gets them to their best physiologic state. It gets rid of lactic acid. It pumps in an oxygen and just changes the chemistry inside the muscle to a point that the muscle is as optimally conditioned as it can be. When that happens, there's typically a movement of the jaw as well. 

So the jaw may decompress. It may open a little bit. It typically will come a little bit forward, which is why in so many people we see wear on the front teeth, the lower front teeth in particular, because it's easier to see than the back or the inside of the upper teeth, but lower front teeth with wear is there because the lower jaw is trying to come forward, but the upper teeth are in the way. And so they sit there and rub on each other.

Luke Storey: [01:01:07] Oh, interesting.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:01:10] So the muscles are telling you, I'm trying to get forward, but it can't get there because these stupid teeth are in my way. So I'm going to get rid of these teeth. Okay. I'm just going to grind them away.

Luke Storey: [01:01:20] Oh, man.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:01:20] Okay.

Luke Storey: [01:01:21] You're bringing back traumatic memories of my poor old teeth.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:01:25] Yeah. So when that happens, again, the jaw will open. It will typically come forward. It can rotate in any kind of dimension here until it finds this place where from a muscular standpoint, it's just hanging out in space. So we're going to capture that position with some material that we squirt between the teeth and hardens, and it enables us to capture the relationship of the top teeth to the bottom teeth. 

Luke Storey: [01:01:53] When all the musculature in the face and neck is relaxed.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:01:56] Yes.

Luke Storey: [01:01:57] Yeah.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:01:57] Right. So the teeth aren't touching at that point.

Luke Storey: [01:02:00] Yeah.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:02:01] Now how much they're not touching, that's always different on every person based upon what their body is asking. One of the things with traditional approach is, maybe with a nightguard or whatever, is like, I'm going to take some impressions of your teeth, I'm going to make this nightguard, and then you just wear it. Well, how does the guy in the dental lab who's making the nightguard know where to put your bite? Obviously, he doesn't.

So it's kind of a one-size-fits-all. Put it in your mouth. The dentist says, all right, tap on this. Let me grind it. How does that feel? Okay, that's your answer. Well, sometimes it works, but many times it doesn't. Many times, it creates more of a problem than what was there originally, because it's just doing something without any knowledge.

Now, utilizing all this technology that we have, I have the knowledge. I know where the muscles want to be. I know where the bite needs to be. And so we test that out with this orthotic. So there's two different types of orthotics we use for different situations. One is fixed, which is, it fits on your lower teeth. It is shaped like teeth. It looks like teeth. It just makes your lower teeth taller.

So if you can imagine your jaw opening and now there's space in there, this orthotic fills the space in. So now you can close. It touches your upper teeth, the orthotic touches your upper teeth, but your jaw is down here where the muscles want it to be. So this is our test drive for the bite.

Technology has shown us that the muscles are comfortable here. It looks good based upon my knowledge of different things. Let's try that position and see how you do. We'll put the orthotic in. Now, there's another kind that's removable that is used for different situations, but the process behind it is the same. So you've got the orthotic in place, and you just wear it. You chew, you talk. You remember this.

Luke Storey: [01:03:59] Yeah. I remember how difficult it was to adjust because I had upper and lower orthotic, which is what he's describing, you guys. Subjectively, my experience of it was a singular row of teeth on the bottom, a singular row on top. So not individual teeth, kind of like a night guard, but it just looks like teeth.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:04:21] Looks like teeth. Right.

Luke Storey: [01:04:22] And man, I remember coming home and trying to talk, and eat, and chew. It was so weird. 

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:04:27] Yeah. And I'll tell you, in your case, doing the upper and lower orthotic, we'd do that maybe one time out of 20.

Luke Storey: [01:04:34] Really?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:04:35] Yeah. It's usually just the lower. But in your situation, it required both for the--

Luke Storey: [01:04:40] What if I were to come to you and said, hey, my teeth are jagged and yellow, and I can't chew very well, and I'm going to end up getting more cavities and having to drill and fill more of my teeth? What if I would have come in and said, I just want my teeth to look pretty? I don't care where my bite is. I just want to leave my crappy bite and jaw position where it is, but I just want it to look better. Would you even do that?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:05:05] Yeah. So here's how we handle that because we get that situation from time to time. Look, I will do it for you as long as you are informed of what you're asking for. Here's what's going to happen. I don't know when, but here's what will happen, there's a chance that the porcelain will break. There's a chance that you'll have to redo some things at some time.

I'm going to give you an orthotic type of nighttime appliance that I'm going to ask that you wear. Whether they do or not, it's up to them. But here is the best thing I can do for you to make sure that this lasts as long as it can, knowing that it's not the right way to do it. 

If you choose for me to do this and you understand all these things, I can do it for you, but it's a compromise. There are limitations. Here's what you should expect. And if you're okay with that, I'm still going to do a great job of the case, but there are things that are then out of my control.

Luke Storey: [01:06:08] Got it. Got it. Okay. And so in my case, my natural tooth matter, it's beyond repair. There just wasn't enough of it there to do anything with.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:06:22] Which is why we had to do top and bottom.

Luke Storey: [01:06:23] Okay. Got it. So for me, it was a no-brainer. A, I want my jaw properly aligned to alleviate neck, and back issues, and all of those things. And so I had to get all crowns and veneers anyway, whether or not we fix the bite or not. What happens when a client comes to you and their original teeth are in good shape? They're not all jagged, and chipped up, and grinded down, and all that. Is there a way to do what you did with me, to move their bite into its proper position without doing all the crowns and veneers?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:07:02] No, very good. So here's the option, typical options for handling bite issues. One you can just do a removable orthotic and just wear plastic from now on. Some people can wear it just at night. Some people can wear it a few hours a day and night. Some people can only be comfortable if it's in their mouth, so they wear it 24/7.

Usually, that's a financial decision that they just can only do this. And although they might want to do more, this is all that they can afford to do at the time. So it doesn't mean that other things can't be done later, but right now this is all I can do. So there's that angle.

Sometimes the bite changes enough that we can just do what we call an onlay on back teeth. So maybe you just do maybe four back teeth or eight back teeth. And again, you think about it this way. As the bite opens, you've created space. You just need to fill that space in. So you're not having to cut the tooth down to do a crown or something like that. You're just building it up. It's onlaying the tooth.

So sometimes you can just do onlays. Sometimes you can do a single arch, whether it be the top teeth or the bottom teeth. And then sometimes you have to do all the teeth. So there's all these different combinations. Then also there's a way of doing orthodontics at times to move teeth into that position. 

I've done that with patients in the past. I'm currently not doing more of those cases for different reasons, but there are some dentists around that can utilize this bite change information and then move the teeth into that position.

Luke Storey: [01:08:54] Using braces.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:08:55] Using braces. Yeah. To get away from doing a bunch of onlays, or veneers, or whatever on teeth. The typical scenario there is the 22-year-old girl that's never had a cavity in her life. I don't really feel that great about putting crowns or veneers on all her teeth. Sometimes you have to because there's no other choice.

And again, it's done in a way that's going to last for many, many years as good as it can be done. But if I had my options, I'd rather not. Sometimes you don't have that option. So that's a great candidate to do things maybe orthodontically. Great teeth, just jaw pain. And how can we improve things by still using the orthotic to test this new bite position? And if that alleviates symptoms, then we know we're on the right path. Now we just got to make the teeth come together.

Luke Storey: [01:09:57] Got it. Okay. Yeah. So if it's possible to salvage perfectly healthy teeth, that's one option.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:10:05] Always the goal.

Luke Storey: [01:10:06] Because in order to put on the crowns and veneers, depending on how much tooth matter is left there, you have to grind down the original tooth to varying degrees in order to make room for the porcelain, right?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:10:20] But the word you said there, varying degrees, is very true because sometimes I can shape a tooth in a way--  because remember, again, we've got extra room. We've got space between the teeth, so we're adding to. We're augmenting these teeth. Sometimes I can just create a little, what I call a margin, a little edge along the tooth to give a place for the porcelain to sit against. And that's all I have to do on the tooth itself. 

There's very, very little tooth removal because we're building things up. Now, that same patient in a bite that's already closed together, the teeth are touching, there's no room to augment it. Then I have to take tooth structure away to create room for the porcelain to fit inside that bite.

Luke Storey: [01:11:06] Sure. Okay.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:11:07] But so many times, what we're doing, there's excess room, so the preparation of the teeth themselves can be very conservative and get the job done. So there's no reason to grind down just to build back up. If I've already got too much room, I just want to augment it.

Luke Storey: [01:11:25] And in a case like mine, since my teeth were ground down to nubs, you probably didn't have to remove that much of the original tooth matter.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:11:34] Yeah. A lot of the work is already done for me.

Luke Storey: [01:11:36] I've been doing it sleeping every night, grinding my teeth for 50 years.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:11:39] You started years ago for me.

Luke Storey: [01:11:40] Yeah. All right, that's interesting. Let's go into TMJ. I get questions about this all the time, and I know it's just such a prevalent issue for people, but not only TMJ but the difference between that and TMD. 

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:11:58] Yeah. TMJ probably is the more commonly known phrase. TMJ is temporomandibular joint. People say, oh, I've got TMJ." Well, actually you have two TMJs. One on the right. One on the left. It's just a catch-all phrase that people have become used to hearing. TMD, temporomandibular dysfunction is actually the more accurate name for this situation.

Luke Storey: [01:12:25] Oh, okay.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:12:25] So the dysfunction is what we're talking about. We're not talking necessarily about, again, the joint itself because everybody has two TMJs. We're talking about the dysfunction of those joints. And what all that can encompass is a big list. But let's go through maybe some of the more common things related to the dysfunction of the joints, so TMD.

An extremely common one that's so not connected is headaches. I mean, simple headaches, migraine headaches, all kinds of headaches. And the majority of any headache is a muscle-related response. Now, there are things that are related to arterial issues and things that create a specific subset of headaches, but most headaches are muscle-related in one way or another.

What's the goal of neuromuscular dentistry? Is to relax muscles. An extremely common symptom being headaches. What we're trying to do there, because the majority of headaches have some type of muscle component to it, is exactly what we do in neuromuscular dentistry, that is relax muscles. Once muscles are relaxed, then these type of symptoms, whether it be headache or others that we'll talk about here in a minute, begin to improve, many times can go away.

So we can literally take people that are dealing with daily headaches, chronic weekly migraine-type headaches, a combination of all those, to the point that it has affected their life for months and years, and it's just become who they are, is another headache, and we can make them go away simply by changing jaw position and allowing these muscles to relax. So headaches is a very common one.

Now, the obvious thing of clicking, popping, joint-related pain and discomfort, facial pain, very obviously, that's related to TMD type of thing. One thing that's not so connectable or noticeable, and you talked about this earlier, are neck-related issues. So tension, tightness, lack of mobility, all these types of things are related to-- and most people say, yeah, I carry all my stress in my neck. No, you don't.

There's reasons why those muscles are tense or tight, but we're taught that it's a stress response. Has nothing to do with that. It's, I guess, a result of things that are causing those muscles to be the way that they are. So think of it this way as far as head position goes, which directly affects neck health. I guess, is if you're hanging on to a bowling ball.

So a bowling ball is, say, 12 pounds. You've got it in your hand. You're holding it up against your body up close and tight here. And you can hold the bowling ball okay. It's not a big deal. All right. So let's take that same bowling ball and extend your hand out about six inches. That 12-pound bowling ball just doubled in its actual weight or the feeling of what it is.

Let's take it out six more inches. Bowling ball just got heavier again. It's an exponential change the further it gets away from the center of your body. So now let's do the same thing with your head. Head forward. What has to happen to keep my head from just falling down? Well, these muscles in the back of my neck and my traps have to contract to keep my head upright.

But let's let it go even further. Now they've got to contract more. So whether you know it or not, these muscles are working 24/7 just to keep your head upright so you can breathe. If I go to the gym and I'm working out and I'm doing bicep curls, it gets to the point where I can't do any more bicep curls because the muscles are just tired.

Well, these kind of muscles don't have the chance to just decide to turn off and not work. Your jaw continues to move. Your head continues to move. It has to be upright. So because they're forced to continue to work all the time and they don't really get a chance to rest and recover, then that's when they reach beyond threshold of their capabilities of doing work properly, and so then symptoms come in.

Luke Storey: [01:17:15] Got it.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:17:16] Tension, tightness, stiffness of my neck, many times has to do with cervical neck posture, head posture.

Luke Storey: [01:17:24] Which is probably even compounded by our addiction to devices. Tech neck, looking down at your cell phone all day long. Many people have these big lumps on the back of their-- what is that? The cervical. Is it the cervical spine, the top bit? Yeah. It's like I see--

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:17:44] My business is not going away thanks to cell phones.

Luke Storey: [01:17:47] You've seen this has been made worse, huh?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:17:51] 100%. 

Luke Storey: [01:17:51] Yeah.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:17:51] 100%. So let's add another 10 years, another 20 years, to the graduating high school senior that's addicted to their phone and go through life still addicted to their phone, and their head is always down. I guarantee you they're going to be seeing me.

Luke Storey: [01:18:11] Wow. Yeah, I've not very successfully tried to habituate myself. I'm looking at my phone to hold it up here. Then my arm gets tired. It's like, oh, God, put it back down.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:18:21] It's hard.

Luke Storey: [01:18:22] But yeah, when you walk around a crowded city, Austin, New York City, wherever, and you just see people walking around--

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:18:29] All the time.

Luke Storey: [01:18:30] With their head hanging over their phone, I'm like, oh, man.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:18:35] You see a group of teenagers that are all together. They're supposed to be hanging out, talking with each other, whatever. No one's saying a word. They're just all down on their phones. They're together, but they're texting the person who's standing right next to them just through their phone. So yeah, that head position thing is and is going to be huge as far as health goes down the road.

Luke Storey: [01:19:01] 100%. One thing that was compelling when I realized that I needed a whole mouth restoration, which is what you call it, what we did, was just trying to think of any dentist I ever saw or friends of mine that had had, back in California, cosmetic dentistry done. And so I was reaching out, just trying to figure out who I was going to go see. And then when I reached out to Kyle, he said, oh, man, Dr. Winters is amazing. He fixed me up.

And one thing Kyle said to me, for the first time in my life, I can sleep on my back without waking up snoring or choking, basically. And so I've never been told by anyone I've ever slept with that I'm a snorer, but I was grinding, for God knows how long. So how are these issues fundamentally related to snoring and sleep apnea? And maybe you could even define sleep apnea because I don't even know exactly what that is. It's just a term I've heard.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:19:59] Yeah. Let's talk about that because it's so common. So basically, people know about two things. They've heard of snoring. They've heard of sleep apnea. They may not know exactly what it is, and we'll talk about that, but there's all kinds of different diagnoses of what we call a sleep-breathing disorder that are in between snoring and sleep apnea. Multitudes of different levels of sleep-breathing disorders, I should say.

The thought was, grandpa's over on the couch, and he's snoring, and isn't that just funny? And ha ha ha. No big deal. He's just snoring. But in actuality, snoring is a symptom of not getting enough oxygen. And if you watch a lot of snores, what actually happens is when you finally hear that snore many times, it's preceded by this almost gasp.

And if you watch them, you can see through their chest or even movements in their head and neck, they're trying to get a breath, and it's not happening. And then all of a sudden, it's [Inaudible]. So there's a snore, there's a gasp maybe, and their airway opens because, again, brain's only going to take so much until it does something to make you breathe.

So the level that that's happening and the actual degree of it is measured by what's called a home-- not necessarily a home, but usually now because they've become so sensitive, is a home sleep test. There are sleep tests available that you go into a more formal setting, into a sleep lab. And actually, those tests are probably still the gold standard, but it's difficult for people to arrange their life to go in to the hospital, and go in the sleep room.

You're in a strange environment. You're hooked up to tons of wires, and leads, and stuff. You've got people watching you sleep in this environment that you're uncomfortable in anyway. And so do you really get a true reading of what's going on or-- obviously, something's not going to be exactly how it is when you sleep in your own bed.

So there are devices now that you can actually do this at home and maybe not get quite as detailed of information, but still enough to get a lot of information that has to do with just how your breathing pattern is throughout the night. And then once we know that, we know what to expect, what effects that can have on you from a body standpoint.

Now, again, the cream of the crop, best help that people can have with sleep apnea, which is the more involved version of a sleep-breathing disorder where there's significant non-breathing times throughout the night, would be the use of what's called a CPAP. So a CPAP is basically a tube, whether it goes through your nose or your mouth, of forced air that makes you breathe.

So it's like a hurricane blowing in your face while you're breathing. And the thing with CPAPs is they work. They work. There's no question about it. The other reality about CPAPs is that everyone hates them and they don't use them because--

Luke Storey: [01:23:39]  Are they noisy?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:23:41] They can be noisy. They can just be obnoxious because you're tied to this tube, and you can't really move. Or if you do, then it goes over the side of your face. They're difficult to use.

Luke Storey: [01:23:52] I'm trying to picture one, and it sounds like it'd be noisy and uncomfortable.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:23:56] Yes, yes.

Luke Storey: [01:23:58] Okay. Hence why people even that need them don't typically use them enough.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:24:03] And even many of the literature that supports the use of CPAPs says that a successful night of using a CPAP is based on four hours. So my question is, what are you doing the other 2 or 3 or 4 hours of the rest of the night? If they're saying that the CPAP is great and it works and it's successful, but you're only using it four hours during the night, that's half your night. That's half your sleep.

So while it works, the problem is how people use it or don't use it. And so if you can get past that, you can't beat the results of it. Every now and then you'll find that unicorn somewhere that they love it. They use it every night. But for every one of those, I've got 20 more that hate it and don't use it.

One thing now related to, back to what we do, with so much of our focus being on airway and this kind of stuff, is that we offer devices to help breathe better at night while you sleep, and it utilizes the same principles of relaxed muscles and opening airway. 

And then with a special appliance that you wear in your mouth, it allows your jaw, your lower jaw, or the front part of your throat, all the soft tissue, the muscles, your tongue is all connected to the lower jaw. So if we can keep the lower jaw from falling back as you lay down, gravity takes over, muscles relax, everything collapses. If we can keep that from happening, now we've kept the airway as full and open as it can be.

Luke Storey: [01:25:53] And is this the device that I got where there's an upper-- it's like wearing an upper and lower night guard at the same time.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:26:00] That's right.

Luke Storey: [01:26:00] Okay.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:26:01] That's right.

Luke Storey: [01:26:01] So you're just keeping the lower jaw out here so--

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:26:04] And what you notice with that, you can open and close, but you can't go back, right?

Luke Storey: [01:26:09] Right.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:26:10] Which is the whole goal of this, is to keep things forward, keeping airway open. So now, there's also many studies released comparing the effectiveness of this versus a CPAP. Now, again, in advanced sleep apnea issues, I have nothing bad at all to say about a CPAP. It's what you need to be doing. But if you're not going to do it, what's the next best thing?

Well, it would be an appliance like what you have that keeps the airway as open as it can be. And much different than the CPAP, these are very usable. You get used to it after the first few nights. It's like you just put it in, and you go to sleep, and it's not that big a deal. And you don't have a choice of whether it works or not because it just works.

Luke Storey: [01:27:07] Yeah, it has a little locking mechanism.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:27:13] The little fins on the side.

Luke Storey: [01:27:14] Yeah, yeah. That keep it [Inaudible]. I think when I first started wearing it, I thought it was just so I wouldn't wear down my veneers from grinding. And I was like, this is different than a regular night guard. There's something else happening here. And I think on our last visit I asked you about it, and you explained this part of it briefly. 

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:27:31] Yeah. And so in your situation, it serves multiple purposes. Primarily keeping an airway open, but by having the material between the teeth, it also protects the teeth in case something's weird. You wake up one night. You decide you're going to grind your teeth again, which I'm just joking here, but, really, it offers protection as well. So you get that added benefit and the airway as well all within one appliance.

Luke Storey: [01:28:01] Do you ever have situations wherein someone is either unwilling or unable to afford doing the extensive work that I've done, and they just get the nighttime appliance to help with the airways?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:28:15] Yeah, absolutely.

Luke Storey: [01:28:16] Okay.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:28:18] Absolutely. Yeah. The good thing in this is that there's different levels. There's different possibilities of what we can do. It's not all-or-nothing type of thing because there are budgets people deal with. And if the ideal thing is outside the budget, then what's the next best thing? We can do this. Here's the differences. Here's some compromises you may have, but it's going to be better than what you're doing right now.

Luke Storey: [01:28:46] Got it.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:28:47] So yeah, there's different ways of figuring out what level you're going to play in this game. 

Luke Storey: [01:28:52] Yeah. Well, one thing that I think is helpful for people, because if you're doing the most extensive version of it, which I think is what I did, there's great financing. I put down some cash and then financed a bunch of it on, I think it was zero interest, which is great because the way I looked at it-- because it's a good chunk of change.

 But for me, I thought, okay, I can keep going. I can keep my old beat-down teeth, keep grinding them, forget to wear my night guard much of the time. I just don't like it because it'll pinch my cheeks, and then I take it out, or something like that.

 But I did a cost-benefit analysis and thought, okay, if I hang on to these teeth and I just string them along as long as I can, I'm going to be spending a few hundred bucks every time I go to the dentist to try to put lipstick on a pig or a band-aid solution.

And so I just thought, all right, if I have these teeth, they're going to last me probably the rest of my life, I think, unless I get in a fight or something, get them knocked out of my head. So I thought, I'd rather just spend all the money right now, fix not only my teeth, also my bite, and therefore neck pain, sleep, snoring, all that kind of stuff that we've discussed, but also just the relief of not having to deal with my teeth anymore.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:30:18] Sure. Yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:30:19] It's just like, oh my God, just all those-- and even though I had to come to your office, I don't know how many damn times, I felt like I should just put a cot in the back room and just stayed there. So a lot of visits. Every time I went over there, I was like, oh man, I'm going back to Kevin's office again. I thought, I'm going to take so many fewer trips to the dentist later on and keep drilling and filling my teeth until they're just gone.

So that was a big consideration for me, is like, yeah, okay, I'm going to finance some of this. I'm going to pay for it. I'm going to go all in, but then, for the rest of my life, I'm going to have probably very little dental work to do."

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:30:58] Yeah. You're just on a maintenance phase right now. Do your daily routine here at the house, and then come in and see us a few times a year to get things cleaned. And that's probably all you're ever going to have to do again.

 And we've focused so much on all these things we've been talking about as far as airway and neck and symptom relief and all that. The icing on the cake in these situations and not at all why they're done, but you got a pretty killer smile right now, too.

Luke Storey: [01:31:32] Yeah. I'm not mad at it.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:31:33] So esthetically, there's so much improvements that can be made at the same time. So you look better, you feel better, and it's the best of everything we have to offer.

Luke Storey: [01:31:46] Yeah. It's funny because I didn't-- I don't know. I don't look in the mirror that much. I wasn't really concerned about the visual appearance of my teeth. They were relatively straight, a bit yellow, and short in stature. But now it's funny because when I see photos of me smiling before I had this worked, I go, oh my God." I had these tiny little funny-looking teeth. And if I closed my jaw, my bottom teeth were totally disappeared because my-- now I'm realizing how far back my lower jaw was.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:32:18] So here's something that would be interesting. If you can find a picture before we did this of you without any facial hair, and so you can really see your face, and then you had one now, same thing without facial hair, what you're going to see is a tremendous change in the shape of your face. So sometimes we'll talk about what we call an instant facelift or a non-surgical facelift.

Because when you think about it, we're changing the dimension of the bones of your face and the position of them, which many times tends to support your skin better and change the overall shape or dimension of your face. And so we've got before and after pictures that you would look at this same person and not even think it's the same person just because of how much the shape of the face has changed and improved.

You notice this a lot on people that have what we call a very deep bite. If their teeth are together, you can't even see their lower teeth because they fit so far under the upper teeth. You change that face and get it back in the right dimensions and put great-looking porcelain teeth on it.

That change truly looks like they've had some kind of plastic surgery because it takes a face that is just scrunched together and opens it back up and allows the cheekbones to come out and just the shape of the jaw and all this kind of stuff. It's dramatic in the difference.

Luke Storey: [01:34:03] It's funny. I forgot about that, but I have noticed that also in photos and just looking in the mirror, just the shape of my jaw. My jawline is much more pronounced and square than it was, which I never realized I had a sunken chin or something. That's you for your whole life. You don't really think about it. But funnily enough, of course, if I haven't seen someone in a while, they're like, oh, yeah, your teeth look different."

Luke Storey: [01:34:29] Some people do notice that, but I have had many people go, hey, you look different. Did you lose some weight?"

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:34:36] All the time.

Luke Storey: [01:34:37] Yeah. And it's like, well, I did lose some weight recently, but even apart from that, and I think what it is, is just the change in the shape of the face. It's just different. There's a different bone structure going on in the face, so it gives the illusion that you're a different weight. And for me, the weight that I lost was relatively insignificant. I don't think would it change the shape of my face as much as moving the jaw, the lower jaw forward.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:35:03] That's exactly right. And we'll have a lot of times where I'll tell people the best compliment that I can get, because this has happened on previous patients, is that they'll come back and say, yeah, I saw my friend. Hadn't seen him in a while, and they were like, what's going on here? Did you lose some weight, or did you change your hair color? What? Been working out? You look really good.

 They know something looks good, but they don't immediately know, oh, you had your teeth done," because it fits shape-wise and color-wise and just naturally into their appearance, improving it, but at the same time not standing out to the point that they've got the teeth that are just glowing first thing you come in the room. So it's a way to change all that, but do it in a way where it doesn't necessarily stand out so much. It just fits you as a person.

Luke Storey: [01:36:06] Yeah, that was my goal. It's funny. Looking back, one of the most challenging things about the process, and you remember this because I brought Alyson with me to your office, was picking the damn color. Because it's like, I don't want my same old yellow teeth that you're never going to polish that yellow out because it's coming from the inside. I didn't want that. But I also didn't want them super bright white and really fake-looking.

So yeah, we went through this whole thing where I brought Alyson in and said-- she has really beautifully, naturally white teeth. And then so I brought her in. I said, yeah, Kevin, I'd just pick the color that looks like hers." But then when we put the sample porcelain teeth up to hers, it made hers look gray in comparison. I was like, oh my God, this is so hard. I got pretty neurotic about it. So thank you for your patience.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:36:58] Yeah. No.

Luke Storey: [01:36:58] Because you want an outcome that is the most natural as you can. 

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:37:03] And that's the hard part because people will tell me, I just want my teeth to look natural. That's completely different with every person you talk to. What's natural to you is not necessarily natural to me. And so figuring out what natural is is a challenge I have every day. But just with more questioning, and spending time, and being patient, and working through it, fortunately, we pretty much figure out what it is and come up with pretty good results that way.

Luke Storey: [01:37:29] Yeah. Well, we did it. I'll be damned. I'm happy. Another thing about it too aside from esthetics and just being able to get more air, and better sleep, and all of those other things, but I got to say, one of the massive benefits is just my ability to chew food.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:37:47] Sure.

Luke Storey: [01:37:47] It took me a while to relearn because your jaw is in a different place, and that takes, out of 2 or 3 weeks or something, you figure it out. But I notice now. I'm just like, oh my God, all these years, I've had a really difficult time actually just chewing a steak or whatever. It'd get caught in my teeth. I'd have to always have toothpicks with me because my teeth were so jagged. If I eat beef jerky or something, it's an hour-long project just to get it all out of my teeth afterward.

So there's also, I think, just from a nutritional standpoint, I'm able to better masticate my food and break it down before swallowing. It's like my grandma used to always tell me. Chew your food. Your stomach doesn't have teeth. And I'm like, for many years I didn't have a choice. I couldn't really chew my food very well because there wasn't enough strength and actual substance to my teeth to do that.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:38:39] So think about it like this. You take that inability to chew good. That's going to affect the choices that you make for your diet. Typically less healthy choices.

Luke Storey: [01:38:48] Yeah. Soft foods.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:38:49]  Either they are more processed, or they're more softer.

Luke Storey: [01:38:50] I am eating yogurt and baby food.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:38:52] That's right. So you get back into that whole issue again.

Luke Storey: [01:38:55] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:38:57] There's a lot of hidden benefits with that, that being one. You wouldn't necessarily think of that as the first thing, but it's a real result.

Luke Storey: [01:39:06] Well, tell me about the other part of the preparation. When I first signed on to go through this process, you guys sent me home with this device-- I have it in my office-- that's a cervical spine decompression sort of thing that pulls that up. So I was given instruction to do that. And then you also gave me a movement program. So different stretches and things like that.

And then I had the wherewithal, as I said, to work with Alex. And he came with me to a couple of my visits with you, and then you guys had a massage therapist. I added on an extra component of just manual therapy and stuff to really create the most stable foundation for the new bite.

But you guys also had a lot of other physiological exercises, and devices, and things like that too. So maybe explain some of the other things that go into building a new jaw position and a new bite, but making sure the rest of your body catches up to support it.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:40:05] Yeah. In keeping with this overriding theme of not just working on teeth, but addressing this whole-body approach, the thing that we've talked about so much already is cervical neck posture, the position of your head as it relates to the rest of your body, and getting that aligned as optimally as we can. And so one of the things that we have is a device called the posture pump.

Luke Storey: [01:40:34] That's it. Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:40:35] So the posture pump. And it's basically, like you said, a cervical neck traction but the goal with that is to restore what's called the proper lordotic curve. So your neck vertebrae should not be straight, but there should be a reverse C curve to it. And when that happens, then we're able to get our head back in the proper relationship to your shoulders, and your hips, and down your body.

So the posture pump works to help position your head and get your muscles to adapt to a more optimal position. Combine that with the exercises that you had as far as stretching, strengthening, range of motion type of movements with your neck is an effort all to get that head position as good as it can be, so then we're not trying to hit a moving target with our bite.

Here's a good exercise for people. If you're sitting or standing, whatever, just looking straight ahead and you bite together, feel where your bite is. Now drop your head down and bite again. You bite in a different position. Put your head way back, bite again. Your head's in a different position. So your head position plays a huge role in what we're doing in trying to restore a good bite.

So if we can get forward head posture back where it needs to be, if we can get some stability and repeatability of where that head is when we're working with changing the bite, it's at that point then our results of the things that we're doing in that change are going to be more predictable and get to good results that much faster.

Luke Storey: [01:42:21] Okay. Cool.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:42:22] Yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:42:22] Yeah, I like practices, whether it's in dentistry or otherwise, that are comprehensive and thinking about seemingly unrelated parts of that. So when you guys sent me home with all that stuff, I was like, oh, this is smart. And I was pretty good about my compliance with it too because when you're spending time and money to do something that's going to be a lasting change in your body, you want to go all in, or at least I want to go all in and go for maximum results.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:42:49] And sometimes we'll have people come back, and we're talking about how they're feeling. We have little forms that we track the progression of symptoms and stuff, and maybe something's not right, inevitably. Have you been using your posture pump, working on your neck? No, I really haven't. Okay, well, we told you before. There's only certain things that I can do. But I've got to have your help and a lot of homework to get the rest of this done.

You did it and had great results. Certain trained physical therapists, people like Alex, that understand body alignment, and manipulation, and stuff, is a such a huge benefit for me because now I'm working on something that's stable. Again, like I said before, it's hard to hit a moving target on this stuff. 

And if your head's all over everywhere and things aren't stable from that standpoint, then the bite adjustments that we may make initially are different three days from now because your head's not staying in the same place.

There's multiple pieces of this puzzle. It's not me. It's not just the things that we're doing, but I've got the ENT. I've got the physical therapist. I've got the myofunctional therapist. I've got the tongue release guy. I've got multiple people on our team because those are things I don't do. I can't do, but I know the importance of them. And if I don't have them, then my results aren't going to be what they should be.

Luke Storey: [01:44:26] Yeah, that's a great approach. And I wish more people in medicine in general understood that team effort approach. You find that so many specialists are siloed into their own area of expertise, and then you have a patient who has a desired outcome working with just one of them, but there's often contradictions between each person that they're dealing with.

So it's like you could go see the orthodontist. They're going to tell them something. Then you're going to say, and then you have the bodywork or the manual therapist, your ENT, they're all in their own segregated belief system, and they for some reason, I guess, just inertia. People just stick with their expertise and discount the other players involved that could have a huge impact.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:45:16] They know what they know. And outside of that, for so many providers, it's just they don't take the time or make the effort to learn about other things, which I think is one thing that's unique with the people that we've brought together. Everybody understands what the other one's doing, and the importance of it, and how it relates to the overall picture for the patient. So not too many times do you find that with whatever area it is.

Luke Storey: [01:45:49] That was one thing that I really enjoyed about working with you guys, is there was no resistance to me having Alex come there and do adjustments before you guys. I was like, oh. And he even said that too. He's like, you know you're dealing with someone who is going to do a good job when they're open to other people coming in.

Because oftentimes practitioners of all sorts get threatened by the client bringing in someone from their team, and they don't want anyone from the outside interfering with that process. You guys were not only okay with it but like, yeah, please, bring them every time."

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:46:23] Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I think that goes back more to maybe the insecurity of the particular person in case what he's doing isn't right, or doesn't work, or contradicts. The other thing is they don't want to deal with it. You saw, like with Alex, I said, bring him every time. I want him here because I know that what he's doing is going to make my job easier. So why wouldn't I, right?

Luke Storey: [01:46:51] Yeah, absolutely. I'm glad that you were open to that. One other thing when I came in to the consultation, with talking to Beau, who is a great member of your staff, she's laying out the options and all this stuff for me and talking about my symptoms and the different potential benefits of this procedure. 

And there were things, like you mentioned, the non-surgical facelift. She's like, this is just an added bonus. It's not why we're doing this, but the shape of your face is going to change, etc. I explained that I had pretty problematic tinnitus, and she said, listen, I'm not going to make any promises, and it's not why we're doing this, but it's a very common outcome that people that have developed tinnitus either have it diminish as a result of moving their bite into the right place. And in many cases, it also just totally disappears.

And so I didn't get hung up and attached to that idea, even though I would have loved that outcome. In my particular case, I haven't had any change for better or for worse with my tinnitus. Who knows what the cause of it is? It's such a strange thing to diagnose and strange thing to fix, but maybe speak to some of the patients of yours for whom that has been alleviated, and how is the bite being in the wrong place related to the tinnitus and different ear issues that people have?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:48:15] Ears, they're a thorn in my side because-- 

Luke Storey: [01:48:18] Yeah, me too.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:48:19] It's so difficult to have any kind of predictability with them. Because as Beau was mentioning, we've had patients that have had years of ear-related issues, whether it be tinnitus, dizziness, congestion, whatever it is, and we go through this process, and the symptoms are completely relieved. And then we've had some that, yeah, there's a little bit of improvement. And then like yourself, it didn't really change too much. So why? Because basically, the same process has happened in each case. 

The relationship of how bite and jaw position could be connected to ear issues is simply this. If you ever can look at a CT, or a skull, or whatever, you'll look at the side where the jaw joint connects into your head. It's right in front of the ear canal. It's separated by a paper-thin piece of bone. And through that bone, there's also a nerve that comes from inside the ear, through the bone, and inside the jaw joint itself.

Many times, jaws or jaw position that's related to TMD problems is related to the position of the jaw within what we call the fossa. So if the jaw is pushed back against where the ear is and that area is compressed and very tight back there, then there's more likelihood that there's ear issues. 

But as we were talking about before, the process of this bite changing jaw position is the jaw opening coming forward. So as the jaw comes forward, it decompresses from that posterior portion of the fossa where the ear and the little nerve come through.

So if we create more space and take the pressure away from that, then that's theoretically how we get improvement in these ear-related issues. Now, as we've talked about, sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Why in this case and not that case? I have no idea. And ENTs have no idea.

Luke Storey: [01:50:38] When it comes to tinnitus, no one really has any idea other than it's related to hearing loss, or maybe you had an infection, or a drainage issue, or being exposed to loud noise damage.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:50:51] It's super frustrating.

Luke Storey: [01:50:52] There's so many different contributing variables. The only thing it seems like everyone agrees on is that it's really a brain thing because your brain is missing the ability to interpret those high frequencies, that high range. And so your brain is then producing what it seems to be missing. One of these days someone's going to figure it out. I'm hopeful. I'm like, all right, come on. I've tried stem cells, and lasers, and all kinds of different things, and some days it's worse than others. But it is a really complex issue.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:51:29] As you said, it's just so multifactorial, this or that or this combination, and just never-ending almost.

Luke Storey: [01:51:35] Yeah. You guys recommended a great ENT here that I saw, and I've seen a couple of others. And they look at everything, oh, we can't really see anything wrong.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:51:44] It's okay.

Luke Storey: [01:51:44] And there it is. So it's just one of those things you have to learn how to, for me, just relax about it and just learn how to adapt. And hopefully, at some point, someone figures it out. My dad's been doing something called Lenire, I think. It's a new technology that emerged, I believe out of Germany. And there's 15 audiologists that have been chosen around the United States to get trained and use this device. And he's had some success. It's been 2 or 3 months.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:52:14] For tinnitus?

Luke Storey: [01:52:15] Mm-hmm. 

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:52:15] Really? Okay.

Luke Storey: [01:52:15] Yeah. It's interesting. The audiologist figures out what frequency you're hearing, and then this device plays that frequency in your ears while you have what looks to be like a TENS unit that clips to your tongue. And so it zaps you while you're getting that frequency. And there's something about the way that it stimulates your brain to calm down and stop overcompensating for the lack of that frequency.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:52:42] Interesting. 

Luke Storey: [01:52:42] Yeah, but they have a waitlist. And so I'm signed up for whenever someone in Texas does it. So far, no one does. But yeah, I was thinking about if he still stays on track and keeps getting better-- we bond over our tinnitus misery. Every time we talk, how's your ears? And I'm like, mine are worse than ever. He's like, mine are getting better. It's been three months.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:53:03] I'm going to check into that. I was not aware of that.

Luke Storey: [01:53:05] I'll send you a link to it. Yeah. And I've done a lot of research on this and obviously interview brilliant people like you all the time, and this seems to be in terms of the clinical trials and the results that they've been able to prove the most viable thing I've ever heard of. So I'm looking forward to trying out. I forget how many people were in their trials and stuff, but they had, I think, an 87% success rate.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:53:30] Oh, wow.

Luke Storey: [01:53:30] Pretty good. And it was a rigorous trial. It wasn't just--

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:53:34] A couple of people.

Luke Storey: [01:53:35] Yeah. It was a legit clinical trial that they did. So I looked at some of those numbers and was like, shoot. Even if I got a 10% improvement, I'd be happier. To get rid of it completely, oh my God, would be reborn. So you're obviously located here in Texas in Westlake. For those unfamiliar with Austin, that's a really nice area of the city of Austin. And this was, in my case, since we did the whole meal deal, an involved process.

Luke Storey: [01:54:06] As I said, there were multiple trips back and forth, and things like that. What percentage of your patients are people that travel in from other states, people that don't live here? I know you work with a lot of pro athletes and high-performance people. How does it work when someone isn't local?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:54:23] It complicates things. It really does. You could imagine, in your case, which we'll use you as worst-case scenario, how many trips did you see me through the entire process? It was a lot. And so for people out of town, sometimes that's the limiting factor, that they just can't arrange to do the treatment, because logistically, it just doesn't work.

Luke Storey: [01:54:51] So sometimes in people like that, there are options less involved, the result not being maybe as optimal, but you can do this and get some improvement, and here's what that would look like. So we try to figure out ways to do it. But sometimes, if the situation calls for X, Y, Z and you can't do X, Y, Z, I don't have anything else for you. So it makes it tough.

At one point, before I lived here in Austin, I was in Tulsa, Oklahoma for ever and ever, and a guy who found me somehow from New Jersey and had a lot of TMD problems. And he'd been to this big name guy here and in someplace else, and he'd been all around trying to get some help.

And he found my name, came in, had some initial discussions, and we started him with the orthotic phase, and he started to get immediate improvement. But he knew, if I continue on with this, it's going to be a lot of appointments. So he just moved to Tulsa.

Luke Storey: [01:56:01] Oh, funny.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:56:02] He just sold his home, moved to Tulsa, stayed a year just to make sure everything was good, and then when he was done, he moved back. Now, obviously, not everyone can do that, but-- 

Luke Storey: [01:56:16] That's commitment.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:56:16] That's commitment. Yeah. And fortunately, things worked out well for him, and he got some great relief from things. But the more involved it is, the more necessary, I guess, it would be to be able to make the commitment to being here multiple times.

Because it's a process over several months, and there's trips involved. there's no way around it. If there were and we could condense things or take some shortcuts, obviously we would do that, but there's certain things with this protocol that you just can't cut short.

Luke Storey: [01:56:57] So I think my treatment was prolonged by a bit because I had a couple bouts of travel in the middle of that where I had an appointment that would have sped it up by a month or something, but then I'd be gone for a week here or gone for a week there, so I would miss appointments. 

In my case, doing the whole deal, the whole full mouth restoration, moving the jaw alignment bite and all that, if I had not left town and was just here, what would have been a typical time period for someone going all in?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:57:29] So let's take this start to finish in a normal scenario, and we'll still start with multiple problems. The end result is going to be a full mouth rehab. So we start with the orthotic, like we've talked about. And that's typically a 6- to 8-week process. At that point, we do a little procedure called a bite transfer, technical stuff not to be concerned about, but it's the next little step.

 Then you're back for me to work on the teeth. You leave from that appointment, and you've got temporaries top and bottom in the same bite that you've been in. And now we throw in the esthetic part of shaping the teeth in a way that's the proposed final result. 

But since the temporaries are temporary, they're plastic, we can change the shape of them. So we look at some pictures. We think we want the shape to be a certain way. We make the temporaries that shape. Now they're in your mouth. How does it actually look? So we can change things. We can flatten an area. We can round a corner. We can change things as needed until it gets to the shape that you're really wanting and expecting. 

So then the finals duplicate those changes. You're in the temporaries for about three weeks. You come in and take the temporaries off. We try in the new porcelain teeth. Before they're glued in, if you remember, we set you up, and a very important part of this process is for you to approve the shape and the color. Because once they're glued in, I can change some things shape-wise, but I can't change the color.

So I don't put things in until my patients say, yes, that's it. I love it. Put them in. Reason I've become such a stickler on that is years ago, before I was so, so much that way, I ran into a situation where we put the case in and still had the patient look at things but didn't really emphasize the importance of it and came back a week later and said, I don't like this color.

Luke Storey: [01:59:44] Oh, man.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [01:59:45] What am I supposed to do? You said you liked it. Now you're telling me you don't like it. I can't change the color. So it just creates some contentious situation there. So it's important for me, important for the patient too to be aware of, hey, this is the day right here. I've got to make a decision. I like this, do I not?

So you bring your wife, you bring your husband, you bring your best friend, get their input on things because once they're in, they're in. And so we'll get that approval, put them in, and then there's several bite adjustment appointments to just make sure everything fits right and feels right, and all that kind of stuff.

So start to finish on that in a normal situation can be four months. That's a good range. A lot of that time, we're not necessarily doing dentistry because there's some periods where, like when you have your temporaries on, that's between the time that you get them and the time we put them in, is usually about three weeks. So you're just going about your business during that time. But a fairly typical scenario there would be, start to finish, around four months.

Luke Storey: [02:01:02] Okay. Yeah, mine was probably, I don't know, five, five and a half months or something like that I think because those couple of trips I took. Slowed things down. I remember an interesting sensation after I had been wearing the temporary orthotics, which of course had the jaw in a new place, so my bite was totally different. So I didn't have that overbite anymore. My teeth meet like they meet now.

It was the weirdest feeling in the appointment when they were taken out and my original teeth were back and then bite, and I'd be like, what the hell? It was such a weird feeling because my nervous system had already gotten used to the new bite position, and it was so trippy, kind of closing my old native teeth together. I was like, what the hell? I can't even touch them together. It's so weird.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:01:49] As weird as the orthotics might have felt going in, then they become normal, and you take them out, and you go back to what was normal, your own teeth before, and it's like, what are these things? You don't even recognize them. They don't fit together anymore. Bite position has changed. They feel small and little, and like, what is this? It's pretty common. 

Luke Storey: [02:02:10] Yeah, it was a weird feeling. And I don't want to look at them. I don't know if you guys gave me the option, but I didn't want to see my old teeth once I'd gotten used to seeing-- the orthotics look funky because they're not shaped as naturally as the final teeth you put in, but yeah, it's like I never wanted to see the old ones again because it just tripped me out. It's an interesting process.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:02:32] Too many memories.

Luke Storey: [02:02:33] Yeah, it's just interesting. You go through your whole life, and you're used to looking in the mirror, chewing food a certain way, or your ability to talk, and things like that. I remember even when I first got the orthotics, and maybe by the time I got the permanent ones, I think I had learned how to speak, but I'd be recording these podcasts, and it was difficult for me to say S's, and I had to learn how to talk again because it was such a dramatic change in just the mouthfeel, and you said the space that you have for your tongue, and all that kind of thing. It was definitely a funny adjustment for me as someone who makes my living talking.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:03:08] Isn't it interesting, though, that after a short period of time, you just adapt, and then you're able to do it? 

Luke Storey: [02:03:15] Yeah. And that's what you told me. I remember when I got the temporaries. You're like, it's going to feel real weird to talk. Chewing is going to be weird. I think I was on smoothies for a couple of days because I just couldn't figure out how to chew food, and that was a little disconcerting. But I remember, ah, Dr. Winter said you're going to get used to it. It's building that muscle memory. And now it would feel weird to go back-- 

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:03:35] To go back.

Luke Storey: [02:03:35] To how it was, which felt so limiting and dysfunctional.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:03:41] Yeah. It's interesting too. At different times through the years, I've had situations where actresses or whatever will be in, and they're in the middle of a process, but in their temporaries, they've got a photo shoot or they're doing something in front of the camera. 

And the worry is always about how are the temporaries going to look, and they actually go through the process. No one knows any different because the temporaries-- once you get to the final temporary, not necessarily the orthotics but the actual temporaries-- can look pretty good-- especially if you're not just right up close on them. 

But they're so worried about how this is going to come across, but everything worked out great, and no one knew any different about it. So it kept me awake at night for a while, hoping that it was going to be that way. But sure enough, it turns out good.

Luke Storey: [02:04:41] It does. Yeah. I'm stoked. You guys took such good care of me. Yeah, that's why I wanted to have you on the show. I'm not the only one that's having the kind of issues that I was having. I'm sure it's quite common. 

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:04:54] Yeah. The thing that we've found, and you've been in the office, we've set it up a special way, and we've got a full-time massage therapist, and we're doing things to address issues way differently than your normal dental office, whether it be in the environment or the services that we offer.

But it's an effort to serve a group of people that are stuck with no one to help them because general dentistry really can't help them. Medical profession can't help them. A common option for people that have TMJ, like we talked about before, is to go have surgery. 

So many times, the surgical process in doing that makes things worse because it's not addressing muscles, like we've emphasized, is really the key to this. So I've found a niche that I'm able to serve and help people in a way that not really anyone else is doing.

So it's not only rewarding for myself and from a professional standpoint, but I just know that we've had so many life-changing situations where people have been so thankful for what we're doing, and it just makes it unique and special.

Luke Storey: [02:06:19] Yeah, very much so. And I'm going to let the listeners know again, the show notes will be lukestorey.com/winters. And someone from your office mentioned to me that you guys will do free consultation for people that hear this podcast.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:06:34] Yeah, absolutely.

Luke Storey: [02:06:34] Which is cool. So thank you for doing that.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:06:36] Absolutely. 

Luke Storey: [02:06:36] We'll put all your contact information and all that stuff. But yeah, I don't have anyone on the show, obviously, that I've personally worked with that I wouldn't recommend. If I have a negative experience, then we're not going to do a podcast and potentially send people into where I didn't have a positive experience, but it's been great all around. I'm super happy with the result.

And I had to do my part and show up to a few appointments, but other than that, I'm good to go now. I feel a huge sense of relief that not only many of those symptoms that I talked about are alleviated, but I also just don't have to worry about it anymore. Just like I'm on the maintenance train now, which is-- yeah. I'm about to turn 53.

I don't want to keep dealing with my old teeth. It was just a constant problem. And also, when you have something like that going on, there's-- I had this minor sense of impending doom that it's like eventually these things are going to break down to the point where they're not usable. Yeah, I'm just like, sooner or later, I'm going to get to a point where I really have to address it.

And so I put it off and put it off, and there's a huge sense of relief for me to finally just go, okay, I finally just took the plunge and dealt with the time and the expense of doing it, and now I'm golden. And my case is obviously more extreme than some people where you might be able to work with an orthodontic sort of situation.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:08:00] Yeah. Like we've talked about, there's a lot of different ways that we can handle this.

Luke Storey: [02:08:05] Yeah. So I just happened to go for the most extreme because that's what I needed, but it turned out well. Last question for you. Where do you see your niche of the dentistry industry going? You're out there training other dentists how to do this. You've got a network of 10,000 people around the world that are interested in this. 

I was totally unaware of this, and I'm in the alternative health space and have my finger on the pulse, I like to think. Do you see this as something that your average neighborhood dentist will eventually start to adopt? Are you hopeful about public awareness around these issues and that there are other types of dentistry like the ones you practice?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:08:46] That's a very good question because the trend inside dentistry is for a lot of corporate involvement in buying dental practices. And so now what you have in many situations is a for-profit corporation that owns multiple offices, and they try to typically streamline operations in a way where it's the most predictable from a corporate standpoint, not necessarily what's the best thing for dentistry, the best thing for the patients.

It's just, how can we structure these businesses to make as much money as possible? And in those scenarios, the typical doctor who's there is a younger doctor many times, not long out of school, who is in there just trying to learn the trade and how to do things. But then they're also limited in what they can and can't do based upon these corporate principles.

Now, there is no dental corporation that I'm aware of that has any interest or has expressed any desire to incorporate anything that we're doing from a TMJ standpoint. Now, that still leaves the dentists who own their own offices that aren't associated with that.

I've been involved in the teaching aspect of this for 26 years. It's a struggle because it's so different than what everyone knows. I think it's unfortunate in that there aren't more dentists who are trying to be really great at what they do. 

For me, from a personal standpoint, everything I've done from the time I was young to now, I'm trying to learn, and grow, and be the best at whatever it is, whether that be from a health standpoint personally, whether that be from a professional standpoint and how I run my business, whether that be-- Whatever it is, I want to strive to do it better. And that's just how I've been built.

But I don't see that a lot in the profession as a whole. And so the number of dentists that we've been able to reach, although over 10,000 worldwide and that kind of stuff, is a fraction of the total number of dentists. And so do I see this becoming more widespread, more people doing it, taking over as it should? I don't see that.

I think it's going to be a very niche type of situation where you've got one guy over here. You've got another guy in that state. But having the ability to have multiple providers doing this kind of stuff, although it's what it should be and what I wish it would be, I don't think we'll ever see that. 

So the combination of the corporate side, the inability for a lot of dentists to make the time and effort to be better in this field-- maybe they're better in something else. Maybe they're better at doing implants or whatever, but in being better as far as TMJ kind of stuff goes, there's just not a lot of them. Unfortunately, again, I just don't see this becoming very mainstream at all.

Luke Storey: [02:12:46] Well, maybe this podcast will make a little dent in that.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:12:50] Hopefully. Hopefully. Yeah. 

Luke Storey: [02:12:52] One of the great things about social media and independent media now is you give people that are in a niche area of expertise in whatever field a bit of a platform. And next thing you know, public awareness grows into public demand, and then--

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:13:09] Well, and ultimately, that would be the thing that would drive it. If the public in general could see the benefit and experience the benefit, then they would then drive the demand for more providers to be there. But as you said, from a media standpoint, any little thing can help. 

So this type of thing, it'd be great to have some documentary on Netflix about this stuff. Things to that level, I think is what it would take over a period of time to really get the word out because I've been specifically doing this neuromuscular dental approach since 2000, so I've got 23 years of experience behind me. It works. There's no question.

Now, you may go into the more typical dental provider that hasn't had any of this training, that still relies upon the same thing they were taught in dental school, and they'll sit there and argue with you that there's no way it could work. You can't do that. It's impossible for that to happen.

Like, bro, I do this every day. It works. I've done it for 23 years. It works. Why are you battling this? Just because it's outside your realm of thought doesn't mean it's wrong or doesn't work. It works. And it's not just me. It's all of us that are doing this stuff.

So the protocol is there. The results are there. The proof is there. We just need more people to be able to learn about it, benefit from it, and like I said before, help a group of people that is stuck with no one to help them.

Luke Storey: [02:14:58] Well, I'm an advocate. I'm going to tell the world widely that it does work. I'm living proof. I'm hopeful. This podcast has a finite reach. It's going to reach few tens of thousands of people, and many of them will probably come see you or someone like you that has this specific area of expertise. 

But in the realm of dentistry, over the years that I've been into holistic medicine and this kind of stuff, I have seen a much more broad awareness of biological dentistry and holistic dentistry. When I first got into it, the dentists that were doing mercury filling removals and didn't use fluoride and all this kind of stuff, were very obscure and there were very few of them. 

And only people that were really into alternative health even knew that that category of dentistry existed. And now I get messages from friends all the time, hey, I'm looking for a holistic dentist, biological dentist. People know what it is, and they know that there's other ways that you can care for your teeth other than--

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:15:57] And I'll tell you, just to the point of what we were saying before, the population, people, your friends, they're the ones driving that because dentistry is not pushing it. Organized dentistry is not pushing it.

Luke Storey: [02:16:11] It wasn't that long ago dentists were losing their licenses for speaking out against the mercury fillings and all this stuff. You had to be a real risk-taking rebel of a dentist to even be honest about some of the malpractice going on, and the unnecessary procedures, and things like cavitations, and root canals, and people just yanking out teeth for no reason and getting infections in there. 

All this stuff was going on. It's a huge problem in the area of dentistry. And yeah, it's going to take people that start to educate themselves and get information about that to help incentivize dentists to go into the holistic area or, in your case, into the TMJ and all the things that you're into. 

So I'm hopeful, but at the same time, it is slow if you look at the big picture. How many years did it take? And still there's millions and billions of people out there that are still putting mercury in their mouths and dentists that are standing by it-- 

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:17:10] Still doing it.

Luke Storey: [02:17:10] And just ignoring the risks involved with that. So it's a slow process, I think, of waking people up on the consumer side and the practitioner side. But we're making our little dents here and there, and hopefully--

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:17:24] Just keep chipping away at it.

Luke Storey: [02:17:25] Yeah. Exactly. That's my mission. Last question for you is this one, unrelated to dentistry probably, but who have been three teachers or teachings that have influenced you in your life? Could be a philosophy, a person that have made you who you are.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:17:41] Oh, very good. I think from a dental standpoint, the guy who started the institute where I've taught all these years, and I'm now doing the courses for him since he's retired. His name is Bill Dickerson. So from a dental standpoint, definitely, Bill. There's been others, but he's probably the main one.

Certainly, looking at my entire life, I think God. I've always had a great faith and look towards that for reassurance, for guidance, for all the things that you rely upon your faith for. 

Third one, this is somewhat of a cop-out, but I'm going to go with it because I don't know that there would be a singular person with this, but I would say that sports and athletics in general, and more importantly with inside that, the mindset, the structure, the dedication, the ability to, as I was talking about before, strive to be better and improve. And I'm pretty competitive to win.

I think that background there is something that's with me daily. So within that realm, multiple people in the sports world, but that's me. I want to be the best. I want to win. That's just who I am, and that's where it came from.

Luke Storey: [02:19:26] Yeah. There seems to be, in your line of work, especially as you've specified on this area, a lot of discipline involved. And you don't have to be doing it the way you're doing it, right?

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:19:39] No.

Luke Storey: [02:19:39] You can just ignore everything you know and just be putting in fillings and doing all the regular.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:19:42] All day, every day.

Luke Storey: [02:19:43] Drill it and fill it, making a good living doing that. So it definitely makes sense that you've gotten some of your tenacity, and discipline, and dedication from your experience there.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:19:54] Yeah. For sure.

Luke Storey: [02:19:55] Awesome, man. Well, thank you so much for doing great work in the world. Thank you for coming to hang out with me today. And more than anything, man, thank you for fixing my teeth, Kevin Winters. I'm so stoked to not have to worry about these damn things anymore. 

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:20:07] You look awesome, man.

Luke Storey: [02:20:08] Thank you. Yeah, I'm really grateful that I asked Kyle about it. And I think Aubrey had recommended Kyle to you. And so there's a lineage of us here in Austin that have sorted our situation out thanks to you. So really appreciate the great work you do.

Dr. Kevin Winters: [02:20:25] My pleasure. Thank you.



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