San Diego practice limited to treating Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ) and Orofacial Pain.

William Halligan, DDS

We offer a safe, non-surgical approach to rapid & long-lasting relief from orofacial pain and TMJ disorders.

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halligan-3upl-homepage390WELCOME, you are our greatest concern! We are dedicated exclusively to the treatment of orofacial pain and TMJ disorders. We provide you with special, individualized care delivered by a highly qualified staff.  Dr. Halligan has treated hundreds of patients with TMJ dysfunction, headaches and neck pain.

We offer many treatment options based upon the personal diagnosis of each individual. Should you have any questions or comments, let us know. We understand you have a choice of practices from which to choose, and we look forward to offering you the experienced, excellent care you deserve.

Mt. Whitney Warm-Up

Dr. Halligan at New Army Pass.

Dr. Halligan at New Army Pass.

She had driven her Ford Ranger pick-up, painted the forest green of the National Park Service, from Lone Pine up the narrow switch-back road to Horseshoe Meadows. Her khaki shorts and shirt clung to her young, thin form and showed off strong runner’s legs. I happened to be in the parking lot, retrieving some gear from our car when she pulled up.

Her name tag read, “Cassandra.” I wondered for a half second whether her parents were fans of Greek mythology or just thought it was a nice name. Did they really want to name her for the prophetess who was not believed?
What really caught my attention was her belt buckle. It was rather outsized, measuring a good 5 or 6 inches across with a silver high wing single engine retractable aircraft against a dark blue background pictured in the metal frame.

“A 210 Cessna?” I pointed at her belt.

“Oh, the belt buckle–yes,” she said. “But the only thing I’ve ever flown is a 150.”  She was referring to a popular Cessna trainer. “I’m working to get my commercial rating so I can fly for the Forest Service.”

We talked airplanes and flying for a few minutes and then I mentioned our plans. My wife, Andrea, and I were doing some hiking as a tune up for Mt. Whitney. “But, we’re going to go the long way–from here to Guitar Lake and up the back side of the mountain. We’ll backpack and take 3 days to do it.”

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High Sierra Springtime, 2013

I spent a few days over the Memorial Day holiday hiking in California’s eastern Sierra and recalled some of the things I’ve read about mountain and woodland walks. So here are a few photos and quotations the places brought to mind.


“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

~ John Muir


b300-Eastern-20Sierra-202013-20007“In some mysterious way woods have never seemed to me to be static things. In physical terms, I move through them; yet in metaphysical ones, they seem to move through me.”

~ John Fowles

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In School With the Posture Police

In my elementary school days, I went to a one room country schoolhouse where Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn would have felt at home. It’s an historical landmark now—you can Google it:  Papoose Creek School. And yes, one couldn’t possibly give that name to a school these days.

Not actually Papoose Creek School--but a reasonable likeness.

Not actually Papoose Creek School–but a reasonable likeness.

Papoose Creek School was one modest room, not counting a cloak room where a boy could also put his fishing rod or .22 rifle or 20 gauge shotgun if he happened to bring them to school. Look, the namesake of the school—Papoose Creek—did have trout after all, and the woods across the road had rabbit and squirrels. What else was a kid to do after school but fish and hunt?

This was a school with one very stern disciplinarian of a teacher and 32 pupils, give or take, grades one through eight.

Mrs. Torkleson ruled the place with an extra thick hickory stick and she wasn’t shy about whacking any of us across the back or shoulders with it either. Hey, teacher, just try that in any American school today. You’d wind up in jail but only after making the front page of the New York Times. But she was effective. All of us were so quiet, so well-behaved, that most of the time you could hear a pin drop in that rustic little room and I mean that literally not figuratively.

Now that leads me to posture. Mrs. Torkleson had the temerity to actually shout out, “Class, feet flat on the floor!  Hands on your desks!  Sit up straight!” multiple times each school day. I must have heard her repeat that four or five times a day for five or six years. Not counting summer vacation, of course. But then she was known to make house calls on occasional hot August afternoons.

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Penguins and People — Almost Antarctica

View from our hotel window. A rainy Gray Lake, Gray Glacier and icebergs.

View from our hotel window. A rainy Gray Lake, Gray Glacier and icebergs.

This is Part 2 of my Fierce Winds at the Edge of the World post, where Andrea and I travelled recently to Paine National Park in the Magallanes region of Chile.

The southern tip of South America is rough country. Early attempts by the Spanish to establish colonies here in the 16th century were dismal failures. Some historians blame lack of support from the Spanish government, but the fact is Europeans trying to live in a country of bitter cold, constant terrible wind and little food simply could not survive. In two of these attempted settlements, almost all of the colonists died of starvation or cold. Europeans didn’t succeed in colonizing this far end of the continent until nearly 300 years later.

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Fierce Winds at the Edge of the World

Cuernos del Paine in Torres del Paine National Park. Photo courtesy Miguel Vieira under a Creative Commons license.

Cuernos del Paine in Torres del Paine National Park. Photo courtesy Miguel Vieira under a Creative Commons license.

Sailors who ply the southern oceans call these latitudes the Roaring Forties and the Furious Fifties. We were not sailing, but the fierce winds between 50 and 60 degrees south batter the land as well as the sea.

Andrea and I travelled with Recreational Equipment Inc. (R.E.I.) recently to Paine National Park (in Spanish Parque Nacianal Torres del Paine) in the Magallanes region of Chile. Paine (pronounced Pine-A) has been called the most beautiful place on earth—but with the world’s worst weather. A typical week in summer might have 2 stormless days if you’re lucky. And I guess we’re lucky. We camped 2 nights at a national park campground in sight of the three towers (Torres) of Paine and spent another 2 nights in a tent on the shores of Lago Pehoe without a drop of rain.

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So you think you can be a Michelangelo or Rembrandt of esthetic dentistry


My wife and I went to dinner at a nice San Diego Harbor side restaurant a week or so ago with another couple–one of the finest dentists I know along with his wife. This man can perform dental artistry with a plastic instrument and a little composite resin that is simply mind blowing. And his patients’ smiles lead others to offer the perfect compliment. Not, “Gee, you have some beautiful dentistry. Who did it?” But instead the much better remark, “Your teeth are just beautiful! Such a great smile!”

If there is reincarnation, then this dentist was Michelangelo or Leonardo DaVinci in a previous life. He also happens to know at least a little about occlusion.

And, no, I’m not telling you his name.

From our table you could see the San Diego skyline and the Coronado bridge soaring over the bay. Waiting for the waitress to bring cocktails, I mentioned his apparent artistic talent. “You really think so?” he said.

“Are you kidding?  I’ve watched you work. I think you’re Michelagelo with a dental degree!”

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Fitz Roy—The Cloud Hidden Mountain

Mt. Fitz Roy

Mt. Fitz Roy

The first time I saw a photo of Mt. Fitz Roy, I knew I’d be here someday, if only to see close-up this historic and beautifully rugged place. How many would undertake an extreme journey because of a photograph? Perhaps some are drawn to the Eiffel Tower or the canals of Venice because of a picture in a magazine or even a scene in a movie like Casino Royale. For me it’s the sheer granite vertical walls of one of the world’s iconic mountains.

Climbers' hut near the base of Mt. Fitz Roy.

Climbers’ hut near the base of Mt. Fitz Roy.

Fitz Roy hidden in the clouds.

Fitz Roy hidden in the clouds.

Here I am at the foot of Fitz Roy.

Here I am at the foot of Fitz Roy.

It’s late December, 2012, and I sit at the base of the majestic peak close by the shores of Lago de los Tres. Although I have done some climbing in the Andes, and have photos and the memory of a dislocated right shoulder to remind me, I am not thinking of even setting foot on this mountain or on nearby Cerro Torre. These are ranked as the among the hardest climbs in the world, and I won’t even pretend. No; I’m just content to be here–just to see them up close.

We had hiked a few hours through beech forest along the Rio Electrico starting perhaps seven miles north and east of El Chalten, then along the Rio Blanco. A sharp right turn led us up a steep, rocky, somewhat exposed climb to reach the lake in the shadow of the majestic mountain. There’s only one problem. I can’t see the mountain at all. It is shrouded in a white-out of misty cloud and fog from its 11,290 foot peak all the way to the glacier-blue lake at its base.

“We’ll just wait here a bit,” says our local mountain guide, Guido. “The clouds may lift soon.” I pull a ham and cheese sandwich out of my daypack and watch the weather.

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Christmas On Ice: The Great Patagonian Ice Field


A breathtaking view of the Perito Moreno Glacier

Santa Claus arrived at the mall in San Diego’s Mission Valley in a virtual tie with the Great Pumpkin last year, and for me maybe that was the proverbial last straw. Or perhaps it was my 1750th family gathering, give or take—and if you count Easter, Thanksgiving and of course Christmas for a few decades, that’s really not all that many. The really early ones, I mean up until I was about 8 years old, were joyful, happy times, even if nobody in the family seemed to get along with my aunt Marion. The later ones though all started to feel like Holly Hunter’s Home for the Holidays.

In any case, while driving in heavy rain on the 405 freeway a few years ago I said to my wife, “There must be something more interesting we could do for the holidays than watching college bowl games and drinking eggnog and rum with Uncle George. How about doing Christmas every four years? Sorta like the Olympics.”

I wondered what she would say. She turned to me with a smile, lighted by headlights from traffic in the northbound lanes and said, “I could go for that. It’s a great idea.”

So the something more interesting this year turned out to be spending some time exploring ice: the great Patagonian Ice Field—the third largest on earth after Antarctica and Greenland.

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