TMJ and Parkinson’s – What’s the Connection?

In article published by the Parkinson’s Resource Organization there is a belief that most movement disorders such as Parkinson’s, Tourette’s, and Dystonia’s are due to a TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problem. So, what’s the connection?

When you thoroughly examine and screen patients suffering the effects of Parkinson’s or Tourette’s for any underlying jaw joint problems what has been discovered in many cases is that the disc inside the jaw joint has slipped out of place. This slipped disc effectively ‘pinches’ the nerves in the joint and causes them to send strange signals to the brain, thus leading to the tics or shakes the patient is experiencing. This most often occurs in older patients in the form of Parkinson’s as the teeth wear down or are lost which leads to a collapse of the jaw bone into the jaw joint.

In order to determine if the jaw joint (TMJ) is the source of the problem, a thorough examination of the head/neck region including range of motion measurements is done. Then an MRI of the jaw joints is ordered to confirm what we already suspect – a slipped disc is the culprit.

If the radiologist finds that the discs are slipped, then we are able to treat the TMJ disorder with a dental appliance that effectively props up the jaw joint into a more open position, which alleviates the pressure on the disc. That is the basic concept with treating TMJ disorders – get the pressure off the disc in the joint.

In many cases, a dental appliance will work extremely well in reducing and eventually eliminating the shakes and tremors, but in some extreme cases, the disc is already too damaged or unstable and surgery may be indicated. Success is measured by how effective the disc is put back into position and how much the tremors and shakes have been reduced. This certainly makes more sense that taking drugs!

If you or a loved one are suffering the symptoms of TMJ, Sleep Apnea, Snoring, OSA, or any other sleep-related breathing disorder, call The TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Montana, we are here to help!

Call and make an appointment today! We are the experts on these conditions and we will provide you with the very best care. improving quality of life one patient at a time.

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