what is TMDBy Risto Hurme, DDS

For over 30 years, with a special focus on treating TMD disorders, we try to educate as much as we can about TMJ, with case histories, articles, and other sources of information. TMD has been implicated in movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease

Could Parkinson’s disease actually be an advanced stage of TMD (Temporomandibular Jaw Disorder)?  In a 2011 amazing, conference, members of the medical and dental professions, and patients, came together to share information that perhaps TMD and PD are related. Since then, more research has been completed

The Parkinson’s/TMD connection is a subject addressed in the books below, which are classics, written by doctors, geniuses all, who were way ahead of their time. They may have been written quite a while ago, but they are favorites of mine and still relevant today, and excellent sources of information:

Killing Pain Without Prescription, 1980, by Harold Gelb, DMD

The Dental Physician, 1977, by Aelred C. Fonder, D.D.S.

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, 1939, by Dr. Weston A. Price

For his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Dr. Weston A. Price spent nine years traveling 150,000 miles, studying isolated/primitive peoples and their diets, then documented their deterioration after adopting our modern diet. What he originally found, anywhere in the world, were healthy, well-built people with no health problems, as long as natural laws were followed.

Dr. Price found no one with degenerative diseases like TMD or Parkinson’s, or cancer, or even muscle tightness in the neck and shoulders. They had all 32 teeth, and their teeth were straight. They had wide orthodontic arches, wide noses, and no cavities. Their condition changed rapidly, in just one generation, after trading posts introduced them to white flour, sugar, and processed foods. Children were born with severe malocclusions and cranial distortions, and ill health followed.

With a modern update on Dr. Price’s important work, Dr. Dwight Jennings brought up these facts:

1.    Our brains are getting smaller due to vertical growth patterns, resulting in long and narrow faces. The native peoples had horizontal growth and wide faces.

2.    Our upper jaws have moved back over the last 200 years by approximately 1 centimeter, deteriorating our airway.

3.    Our mouths are getting smaller and more over-closed, thus not providing adequate space for our tongues, compromising our airways and exacerbating neck and shoulder tightness and tension.

The above changes are very detrimental to our airway, also the skeleton is negatively affected, and the pelvis narrows, resulting in more cranial distortions through birth trauma.

In his book, The Dental Physician, Dr. A.C. Fonder described the effects of malocclusion, what he referred to as ‘the bad bite’, as it relates to general health. He called it “The Dental Stress Syndrome” and showed how it affected the entire body and all of its systems. With occlusal correction, he was able to eliminate 80 – 100% of all symptoms of Parkinson’s, epilepsy, CNS problems, headache, sinusitis/respiratory problems, bad posture, GI and gynecological problems.  His results were presented at several international congresses – over thirty years ago.

The last of these geniuses, and the only one still living, lecturing, and treating patients for over 50 years, is Dr. Harold Gelb. His phrase, “If your jaw joint is off, you can kiss the rest of your health goodbye!” is well known, for good reason. In his book, Killing Pain Without Prescription, he clearly explains step by step what happens to people with misaligned jaws. He states that birth trauma is the #1 cause of malocclusion and the resulting TMD. “You can see it in their faces!” One eye is higher than the other, one eye is smaller, there is a higher ear, higher shoulder, higher pelvis on the same side of the body. Dr. Gelb is also the author of two textbooks, Head, Neck and TMJ Pain and Dysfunction, 1977 and New Concepts in Craniomandibular and Chronic Pain Management, 1994. All of the above-mentioned books should be required reading for anyone in the healthcare field!

If your car was in an accident and its frame was bent, wouldn’t you straighten out that frame? If there were a flood that eroded part of your home’s foundation, wouldn’t you have that fixed to support the structure? If your child was born with severe cranial distortions resulting in severe malocclusion (due to our modern diet and lifestyle – a poor foundation!), wouldn’t you want to correct your child’s foundation?

Both TMD and Parkinson’s disease are treatable to a certain degree. Prevention is preferable for both and that starts even before birth with the parents’ health! See

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