About

Neuromuscular Dentist in Chicago, IL Accepting Patients Nationwide & Worldwide

At Think Better Life, our goal is to get patients out of pain and improve their quality of life. Our founder, Dr. Ira L. Shapira, has the experience and training to do this faster than most other practices.

Patients who visit Think Better Life often get out of pain in the first couple of visits, rather than taking months to do it. Find out what we can do for you by calling 1-800-865-6468 today.

Meet Dr. Ira Shapira

Dr. Ira L. Shapira, neuromuscular dentist at Think Better LifeFew dentists have the broad experience that Dr. Shapira has. A graduate of the Loyola University School of Dentistry, Dr. Shapira has focused his practice in the same state as his alma mater.

For a time, Dr. Shapira was the only dentist in 5 Midwestern states to provide TMJ treatment and oral appliance treatment for sleep apnea.

His personal life and professional experience have made a continuous impact on Dr. Shapira’s decision to focus on TMJ and headache treatment. He was a TMD patient in the 1980s, immersing himself in the medicine. He became passionate about sleep medicine after helping his son overcome an ADD/ADHD diagnosis through a sleep study and treatment for severe sleep apnea. He taught himself how to perform trigger point injections to help his wife manage chronic pain.

Professionally, Dr. Shapira has used myotronic equipment and techniques as part of his decades-long dental implant and general dentistry practice in Gurnee, Illinois. After realizing the impact of wisdom tooth extraction on jaw alignment, he developed patents for minimally invasive removal of wisdom teeth. This prophylactic process enables the collection of stem cells, which may aid in epigenetic therapy (kickstarting the body’s cells to facilitate self-healing).

Dr. Shapira has lectured worldwide on a host of topics relating to TMJ dysfunction, myofascial pain, headaches, and more. He is one of the first dentists to earn an associate professor position at a medical school in the sleep medicine department.

He holds or has held advanced titles at a host of leading organizations and institutions, including:

  • Fellow and master of the International College of Craniomandibular Orthopedic
  • Board eligible with the Academy of Craniofacial Pain
  • Diplomat of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine
  • Diplomat of the American Academy of Integrative Pain Management (formerly American Academy of Pain Management)
  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology in Rush Medical School Sleep Disorder Center under Dr. Rosalind Cartwright, doing research on jaw position and sleep apnea and relation to TMJ disorders, from 1985-1991
    • Dr. Cartwright is considered the Mother of Dental Sleep Medicine
  • Assistant Professor at Rush Medical School from 1998-2001
  • First dentist to be a professor in a medical school sleep center

He is also a published author, sought-after editor, and celebrated lecturer:

What to Expect at Your Initial Consultation

Dr. Shapira will spend spend 60-120 minutes with you at the initial consultation. We spend this time reviewing the complete health history you submitted through our website. This is not simply reading off of a checklist. We review each and every line with you to ensure that we understand the specifics of your symptoms.

Many medical and dental practices don’t take the time to perform thorough evaluations and diagnoses. Think Better Life is different.

We use the SOAP model of diagnostics:

  • S: Subjective
    Patient provides a thorough account of his/her symptoms, including pain areas, triggers, intensity, etc.
  • O: Objective
    Information gathered through testing. The important factor is knowing which tests to order. Many dental practices struggle to identify TMJ dysfunction because they use X-rays, when more advanced imaging like CT is required.
  • A: Assessment
    Dr. Shapira discusses the findings of the tests and what they mean for your care.
  • P: Plan
    Treatment planning is not one-and-done when it comes to TMJ and headache therapy. Dr. Shapira will develop a preliminary plan based on your symptoms, history, and diagnostic data, but he will work with you on an ongoing basis to make course corrections.

At Think Better Life, we are often able to start treatment the same day as your visit.

Do You Accept Insurance or Offer Financing?

Think Better Life does not currently participate in any insurance policies. We are happy to assist our patients by filing insurance paperwork, but upfront payment is required.

We are pleased to offer CareCredit as a financing option. With CareCredit, you can select from several different plans to spread out payments over the time period that’s best for your budget.

Why Choose Think Better Life

Dr. Shapira with TMJ patientHere are a few select reasons why patients from across the country and even around the world visit Dr. Shapira:

  • Results: Patients who have suffered from TMJ symptoms for years or even decades often experience significant relief in just a few visits – sometimes at the very first appointment!
  • Experience: Dr. Shapira has been treating TMJ dysfunction for 40 years. He was originally a patient before dedicating his career to helping patients suffering from headaches, myofascial pain, and other symptoms. He has trained and worked with luminaries in these fields, including:
    • Dr. Janet Travell, personal physician to President John F. Kennedy and author of the book Myofascial Pain & Dysfunction
    • Dr. Barney Jankelson, one of the pioneers in neuromuscular dentistry
    • Bonnie Prudden, founder of myotherapy
    • Dr. Mariano Rocabado, world leader in kinesiology and rehabilitation science
    • Paul St. John, neuromuscular physical therapist
  • Wide range of treatments: Think Better Life customizes treatment to each patient’s needs. By getting to the root of the patient’s pain, Dr. Shapira and his team can precisely identify the cause and create a treatment plan that addresses anatomical, lifestyle, and other factors to provide pain relief and restore quality of life. Treatment options at Think Better Life range from orthotic appliances and TENS therapy to the DNA Appliance and sphenopalatine ganglion blocks – to name only a few.
  • Commitment to innovation: Dr. Shapira is one of the first dentists in the country to offer the DNA Appliance for TMJ and sleep disorders. He pursues ongoing training and continuing education in epigenetics and other advanced fields to deliver patients state-of-the-art treatment options.
  • Comprehensive care: Science shows that TMJ dysfunction is more than just an issue affecting the lower jaw. Dr. Shapira views TMD as a whole-body disorder that affects overall health, and he treats the problem and the symptoms accordingly. The goal is not simply pain management but restoring your quality of life.
  • Guarantee to patients: Dr. Shapira recognizes the pervasive impact that chronic pain has on your life. He has experienced it, his loved ones have experienced it, and he has seen countless patients brought to their lowest by severe headaches and other issues. He sympathizes with your needs, and offers the following statement:
“I put my heart and soul into everything, and do my best for every patient.”

Contact Think Better Life Today

Find out how Dr. Ira L. Shapira and our caring staff can help you with headaches and other issues stemming from TMJ disorder. Dr. Shapira serves patients throughout the Chicago area, all of Illinois, and nationwide.

For your comprehensive consultation and evaluation, please call 1-800-865-6468 today.