Meet Dentist Ira L. Shapira, DDS, FICCMO Philosophy of Care

I like to think of my patients as though they were members of my family. I want them to have the quality of care they can appreciate and that I would expect for myself or my family. That’s why I try to stay current with the latest findings in the field of cosmetic dentistry.

Cosmetic dentistry is much more than white teeth but rather about healthy form and function including posture and facial contours as well as physiologic health. My patients deserve every advantage possible. I used to merely practice cosmetic dentistry, but now I find I am changing people’s lives. - Ira L. Shapira, DDS, FICCMO

Dr. Shapira has a vast experience in treating both sleep apnea and TMJ. He was a founding member of DOSA, The Dental Organization for Sleep Apnea, and in 2015, was a Chair on the American Alliance Temporomandibular Organization.



Dr. Ira L Shapira only accepts new TMJ, DNA and mRNA cases at his office in Highland Park. 

Please contact Dr Shapira at

Dr. Shapira founded Delany Dental Care in 1984 and treasures the patients and friends he has seen over the decades. He is available for general and cosmetic dentistry patients on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at our Gurnee location. 

Dr. Shapira will continue to treat sleep apnea and snoring with oral appliances at both offices.

Education And Professional Affiliations

  • Bachelor of Science, Microbiology Ohio State University
  • Doctor of Dental Surgery Loyola University Chicago (1977)
  • Rush Medical School - Visiting Assistant Professor-Sleep Disorder Center (1986-1991)
  • 2015 Chair/TMD Alliance - American Alliance Temporomandibular Organization
  • Secretary & Fellow of the International College of Cranio-Mandibular Orthopedics Former International Regent, Lecturer for ICCMO
  • Charter Member of the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (originally named Sleep Disorder Dental Society)
  • Credentialed by Diplomate of Sleep Disorder Dental Society American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine
  • Member Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine
  • Founding member of DOSA, The Dental Organization for Sleep Apnea
  • Founding Board Member-Illinois Sleep Society
  • Lecturer American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine
  • Diplomate of the Academy of Pain Management
  • Dental Editor - Sleep and Health Journal
  • Former Assistant Clinical Professor at Rush Medical School Sleep Disorder Service (1998 - 2001)
  • Graduate of The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • International Academy of Comprehensive Esthetics
  • Academy of Computerized Dentistry of North American
  • International Academy of Oral Implantology
  • American Dental Association
  • Chicago Dental Society
  • Illinois Dental Society
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • American Equilibration Society
  • Academy Craniofacial Pain
  • Multiple Publications including American Equilibration Society, ICCMO Anthology, Cranio Journal, Journal of Craniomandibular Practices and Sleep, Anti-Aging Medical News, Sleep and Health Journal, chapter in Anti-Aging Medical Text Book on Anti-Aging Dentistry, ADA Journal
Dr. Shapira created an oral appliance that is easy to sleep with and maintain. I am so relieved, feeling much better, significantly fewer headaches and more energy I would recommend Dr. Shapira to anyone. His knowledge of dentistry goes well beyond the norm. Anyone that suffers from TMJ and or sleep disorders should have a consult.

Special Interests

Reconstructive and cosmetic dentistry, implant rehabilitation, dental implants, pain and headache management, TMJ disorders, research and treatment of snoring and sleep apnea, and innovative approaches to anti-aging medicine. I currently hold four issued patents in this area and hope to make major changes in the practice of anti-aging medicine and be involved in the extension of longer, healthier lives.

If you are considering cosmetic dentistry at our dental office in Gurnee, IL, please call to schedule an appointment today.

Contact Dr. Shapira at his office in Highland Park for TMJ, DNA or mRNA treatment. 

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Note from Dr. Shapira

Improving the lives of my patients has always been at the core of my career in Dentistry.  The treatment I give to my patients should always pass one important test; it should be the same type and quality of treatment that I would want for my family or myself.  I have always taken the road less traveled in my dental career because I became a leading expert in what was most important to me and my family.

I was a severe dental phobic as a child due to traumatic experiences as a patient.  

In my early career it I learned how to effectively and comfortably treat dental phobic and concentrated on techniques that insured maximum patient comfort.  An instructor and friend from Loyola Dental School Dr. Tom Church started one of the first dental phobia centers at Northwestern Dental School and I learned about treating phobias from one of the most compassionate people I knew.

I matured as a dentist and achieving patient comfort became second nature.  I frequently saw patients who had severe difficulties to loss of teeth and inability to wear dentures or having chronic TMJ disorders and headaches.  

I personally had a history of severe TMJ problems and had studied this field intensely during my last two years of dental school and have continued to constantly be on the leading edge in treatment and knowledge of TMJ disorders, headache and migraine treatment and prevention.

I began doing dental implants in 1980 long before implants became standard dental treatment.  I took all the courses available form the Academy of Implant Dentistry and then traveled to the offices of many of the top implant dentists to learn about their implants and their tricks and techniques that made them special.  I have continued thru the years to place and restore implants of all types.  I worked for a large dental group and Dr. Buddy Mopper the leading cosmetic dentist in the world was a part owner.  I spent a year in his office learning the most cutting edge cosmetic techniques available at the time

I initially learned about Neuromuscular Dentistry in an implant course where I was told it was the secret to long lasting implants.  When I went to my first course I was surprised to be hearing about headaches, TMJ disorders, muscle physiology and complex medical systems.  I thought I was going to a course on dental implants.

Dr. Dayton Krajek who taught my first course was a Texas prosthodontist and he was talking about chronic pain and the Myomonitor, an Ultra-Low Frequency TENS machine.  I had severe pain despite multiple TMJ treatments and that day I felt like I had a hot poker going in my right ear and out my left eye.  I volunteered to have the unit placed on me and then my life changed!  Within a matter of minutes the severe pain I had been in for months stopped.  

At lunch they took the Myomonitor off and then it was put back on after lunch and within a minute or two I was back in severe pain.  I told Dayton, who looked and switched two wires that were misplace and I had instant relief.  My life was changed forever from that day on.  Relieving severe and chronic pain became a major focus of my career. 

I embraced the science of Neuromuscular Dentistry and took all the courses I could and learned from the greats.  I studied with Dr. Barney Jankelson the father of Neuromuscular Dentistry.  I have always asked question and at course I took with Dr. J after numerous questions he put his arm over my shoulder and said we needed to talk.  I spent the next 2 ½ days asking questions and learning from Barney.  The material being taught was just the tip of the iceberg.  

Neuromuscular Dentistry led me to a series of brilliant mentors including Bob Jankelson, Barneys son, Dr. Jim Garry who taught me about growth and development and more important the importance of airway and from Dr. Norman Thomas who was not only a dentist but a brilliant PhD Anatomist and Physiologist.  I learned the theory and science of Neuromuscular Dentistry and the power of the connections to every system of the body.  The combination of Neuromuscular Dentistry to create health and the cosmetics I learned from Dr. Mopper gave me the ability to create incredible smiles built on healthy physiology.

Learning like life is a journey and Neuromuscular Dentistry led me to Jim Garry who taught me about airway.  When Billy was 3 years old I recognized his airway problems due to what Jim had taught me.  The pediatrician didn’t understand my concerns but a 5 years old I was told Billy had ADD and ADHD, could not start kindergarten and that he needed to be a Ritalin for life.  

Knowledge Jim had given me led me to seek out a better solution.  I took Billy to Rush Medical School Sleep Disorder Center and he had a sleep study.  He had severe sleep apnea that was treated with tonsillectomy and orthopedic widening of his airway.  He became a straight “A” student and my life took a new turn.  Dr Rosalind Cartwright was his sleep doctor and within one year of meeting her I became an Assistant Professor at Rush Medical School and did research into jaw position and sleep apnea.  My research showed the similarities in neuromuscular jaw position between male sleep apnea patients and my mostly female TMJ patients.

I became an expert in the field of sleep apnea and Dental Sleep Medicine before the field even existed.  Dr. Cartwright wrote the first peer-reviewed articles on sleep apnea and oral appliances and I was in her lab.  I became friends with Charlie Samuelson who invented the first Tongue retaining devices for treating sleep apnea.  The first sleep appliances were developed by neuromuscular dentists, the modified Herbst by Jim Garry and the Aqualizer by a neuromuscular Lab tech Larry Glaze.

I was one of 20 dentists worldwide who started the Sleep Disorder Dental Society (SDDS) and was credentialed in Dental Sleep Medicine.  The SDDS eventually became the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and I became a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine.   I lectured extensive to the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and Anti-aging medicine and Anti-Aging dentistry and have a chapter on Anti-Aging Dentistry in a textbook of anti-aging medicine.

Treating TMJ patients led me to the study of acupuncture which led me to study Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction with Dr. Janet Travell.  It seemed almost magical how easily I could help people who had lived with severe pain for long periods of time. Dr. Travell again changed my life into new directions.  I joined the Academy of Pain Management and became a Diplomat.  

I found that as I got better at treating pain I was referred patients with more and more difficult pain problems.  Each patient became my challenge to find new answers.  I learned about SphenoPalatine Ganglion Blocks (SPG) because a patient brought me a book called “Miracles on Park Avenue” and wanted me to find a doctor who could do the SPG Block. There were none in the Chicago area but Jack Haden, a friend I knew from the Academy of Head Neck and Facial Pain taught me the technique.  

ICCMO, The International College of CranioMandibular Orthopedics, was founded by Dr. Barney Jankelson who insisted I join.  At ICCMO I was surrounded by an incredibly gifted group of neuromuscular dentists many of whom changed my life in various ways. Dr. Barry Cooper, a Past president of ICCMO, has the largest research study of neuromuscular patients in the world but more and more has become a close and trusted friend.   Barry pushed me to become involved in the TMD Alliance and this year I became the Chair of the Alliance of Tempormandibular Disorders.

Barry also persuaded me to do my first lecture on sleep apnea treatment to ICCMO which led me to lecturing to hundreds of dentists across the county on treating sleep apnea with oral appliances.  One of my students, my best student was Dr. Martha Cortes of NYC who called me one day and told me about the DNA Appliance and Dr. Singh.  I took her course and found much of what I knew to be impossible was possible.  Epigeneatic Orthodontics is still in its infancy but will change treatment of patients across many fields of dentistry sleep and pain.

Family is what life is about, my terrific children; Rachel and her husband Danny and Billy and his wife Stephanie and my incredible grandchildren Abby and Elly. 

I lost my wonderful wife Elise after 40 years of being together and her 20 year battle with breast and ovarian cancer.  I ran my first marathon at 62 in her memory less than a year later.

Anna and I were married November 2, 2014 and find it hard to believe how lucky I am to have her.  I now have additional lovely grandchildren Freya and Gunnar and their parents Henri and Deirdre.

Anna and I love to scuba dive and have been diving in Aruba, Bon Aire and Belize and we will soon start ballroom dancing lessons.  We have learned glass blowing together from one of Rachel’s friends and we both love to travel. Anna and I spent two weeks in Spain, Germany and Poland around an ICCMO meeting in Munich and I met her family in Warsaw.  We also spent and a week in Argentina where I gave a lecture in Buenos Aires at the ICCMO meeting on “Common Developmental Aspects of TMJ and Sleep Disorders” and spent 5 days in Bariloche and Patagonia. 

In January of 2015 Anna and I and all of our children and grandchildren spent a week together in Aruba. 

Delany Dental Care office exterior

Delany Dental Care

Delany Dental Care has been providing the residents of Gurnee, IL and all surrounding areas within Lake County, IL and beyond with cosmetic and restorative dental treatments since 1984. When you choose Delany Dental Care, you're choosing a practice that is affiliated with many prestigious organizations, including:

  • American Dental Association
  • Chicago Dental Society
  • Illinois Dental Society
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry

If you and your loved ones need high-quality dental care, we invite you to fill out our contact form or call us at (847) 623-5530.

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