Illustration of skull with TMJ circled in red

TMJ Treatment

The headaches, facial pain, and other symptoms of a TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder can be agonizing.

Unfortunately, many sufferers do not realize the relationship between their bite and these painful symptoms of TMD.

Dr. Timothy Kelly in Albuquerque, NM, is an expert in this area who can correct your bite in a way that helps you achieve lasting relief...

Illustration of skull with TMJ circled in red

What Is a TMJ Disorder?

The temporomandibular joints connect the jawbone to the skull. There is one temporomandibular joint located on each side of your face. These jaw joints are complicated structures that involve interactions with bone, cartilage disks, facial and cranial muscles, and nerves.

A TMJ disorder (TMD) refers to a dysfunction that affects the normal movement and use of the jaw. The term "TMJ disorder" can actually refer to several conditions that cause pain and inflammation in the temporomandibular joints and surrounding tissues. Temporomandibular joint disorders can make it difficult to bite, chew, speak, and make certain facial expressions.

TMJ disorders are more common than you think...

us tmj prevalence

According the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Symptoms of a TMJ Disorder What Are the Common Signs?

Temporomandibular disorders can have many different symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms people experience when they suffer from TMD include:

  • Popping or clicking when closing or opening the mouth
  • Stiffness or locking of the jaw
  • Fatigue of the facial muscles
  • Jaw pain or soreness
  • Damaged teeth

The interaction of the jaw joint with different muscles, nerves, and surrounding structures of the cranium can also lead to:

  • Tension headaches
  • Migraines
  • Eye pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Dizziness
  • Ear pain
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Sore neck and shoulders

If you experience any of these symptoms of a temporomandibular disorder, be sure to speak with a dentist as soon as possible.

Man holding jaw
The symptoms of TMD can be surprisingly widespread.

TMD Risk Factors


  • Anxiety and depression
  • Sleep apnea
  • Chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia
  • Extensive dental treatments
  • Gender (TMD is more common in women)

Do You Suffer from TMD? Book Your Consultation Today

If you experience any symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), it's crucial that you visit a dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment. It is possible that dental health issues are causing a disruption in your bite and the normal function of the jaw.

Since 1981, Dr. Kelly has dedicated extensive time and resources to becoming a TMJ disorder expert. He can provide an accurate diagnosis and determine if his treatments can help you. If your needs are more complex, he can refer you to another trusted physician who can explore other treatment options.

To begin your journey toward relief and a better quality of life, send our practice a message online or give our office a call at:

(505) 256-1770

Dr. Kelly
If you want to overcome painful TMD symptoms, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kelly in Albuquerque, NM.

"Always Happy, Polite, and Respectful." Quality Dental Care in Albuquerque, NM


Jim Baca


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Always on time, professional, friendly, and using latest tech for pain-free visits.

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Valerie Villa-Lopez


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Love that the Dr. and staff are always happy, polite, and respectful. Wonderful environment!

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Individualized Treatment for TMJ Problems "The Results Can Literally Last a Lifetime."

TMJ disorder treatment is highly individualized. Dr. Timothy Kelly uses advanced 3-D imaging technology to diagnose the underlying cause of the patient's TMD symptoms. By restoring the proper function of the temporomandibular joint, he can provide results that last for a lifetime.

Treating TMJ Issues Three Primary Steps

TMJ is a complex condition, and no two cases are exactly alike. If a series of diagnostic tests at our Albuquerque, NM, office reveal that your TMJ discomfort is the result of a misaligned bite, your treatment plan could involve:

Natural Pain Relief

If you experience symptoms of a temporomandibular disorder, it is best to avoid overuse of the jaw muscles by eating soft foods, cutting food into small bites, and avoiding chewing gum and other chewy or sticky food. Ice and OTC (over the counter) ibuprofen are the first recommended treatments for acute pain in or around the TMJs. We try to avoid using pharmaceuticals at all costs.


Splint Therapy

If a bite discrepancy is discovered, Dr. Kelly might suggest an orthopaedic splint to align and stabilize the mandible (lower jaw). This is a diagnostic tool that initiates healing, and patients often begin to feel an improvement soon after they start using it. Many notice a decrease in headaches and neck pain, and say that they sleep better. It usually takes eight to 12 weeks of full-time splint wear to allow your body to adapt and get to a stable joint position of the TMJs.

Permanent Treatment

Permanent treatment to maintain this ideal jaw position can now be discussed. By having an understanding of how the healthy chewing system functions, we can design a specific plan to maintain your health and comfort. This may include orthodontic treatment, adjusting the bite, and repairing any damaged teeth. Surgery is usually not necessary, and is typically only warranted in acute injury situations such as whiplash.

Dr. Kelly's Approach


If you experience TMJ pain or any TMD symptoms, a thorough diagnostic process by a trained dentist is a must. By using a variety of diagnostic tools, Dr. Kelly is able to understand the complexity of each patient's case, leading to accurate diagnoses and custom treatment of the temporomandibular joint and surrounding structures of the cranium and jaw.

Get the TMJ Treatment You Need Speak with a TMD Expert

Clenching, grinding, trauma, and other factors can have a negative effect on the health of your temporomandibular joints. Dr. Kelly has the experience and the technology to accurately diagnose and treat TMJ problems.

To speak with a TMJ expert about your symptoms and possible treatment options, we encourage you to contact our practice online or call our office in Albuquerque, NM.

Give Us a Call Today

(505) 256-1770

"I've Been Going to Dr. Kelly for 34 Years." A dentist deeply committed to Albuquerque, NM


Kathy Nielson


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Excellent care and bedside manner. Great staff also. Highly recommend!

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Helene Eckrich


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I’ve been going to Dr. Kelly for 34 years. He is a very good dentist. Melissa, the hygienist is excellent also!

I refer them when asked!

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smiling woman in dentist's chair smiling woman in dentist's chair

Wisdom in TMJ Treatment


Keep in mind that the key to successful TMJ treatment is not the materials or technology - it's the education and experience to understand the problem and develop a pathway to health. Dr. Kelly in Albuquerque brings 40 years of dental health experience to each patient, and has an in-depth knowledge of the anatomy of the TMJ.

TMJ Disorder Solutions

As an expert in TMJ dysfunction, Dr. Tim Kelly in Albuquerque, NM, is uniquely qualified to help you find a solution that can provide long-term relief. Possible treatments that our practice can provide for this complex condition can include:
Oral splint

Biologic Orthopaedic Positioner

This device, also called a splint, isn't a treatment per se; instead, it is an important means of finding the proper position of the lower jaw. This custom device fits comfortably over the teeth to gently reposition the jaw and relieve strain on the TMJs. It is regularly adjusted over the course of two to three months to find the ideal jaw position. Once Dr. Kelly determines the correct position, he can recommend treatments that will help to achieve a permanent change that no longer requires wearing the splint device.

Dental crown

Corrective Dental Treatment

Corrective dental treatment that improves the bite and its relationship to the TMJs can only be attempted after a correct diagnosis is established and proven as the cause of the symptoms. This type of TMJ treatment is considered non-reversible and may include braces and other orthodontic treatments, adjusting your bite with the use of restorations such as dental crowns, and replacement of tooth form using crowns, bonding, and other restorative dentistry solutions.

Custom Nightguard

Custom Nightguard

If you suffer from bruxism, Dr. Kelly may create a custom nightguard for you to wear while you sleep. A night guard is a simple plastic retainer that is molded to your teeth. The nightguard prevents direct contact between the upper and lower dental arches. This reduces the strain on the jaw joint if you clench your teeth during the sleep. The nightguard also reduces the wear and tear on your teeth caused by bruxism. Nightguards may be used in combination with other TMD treatments.

Oral surgery

Jaw Surgery

Surgical intervention is usually only necessary in very complex cases that cannot be resolved with more conservative solutions. If Dr. Kelly determines that he cannot provide lasting TMJ relief through solutions such as orthodontics or custom restorations, he can refer you to trusted colleagues who can help determine if surgery is absolutely necessary.

A Five Star Dentistry Experience Patient-Centered Care for the People of Albuquerque, NM


Christina Ely


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This is a very professional office with a kind, caring staff and doctor. I recommend it highly.

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Pete Pino


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Today I had work done. I am thankful to Dr. Timothy Kelly and his very efficient assistant for the congeniality and professionalism displayed. Then again, these traits are always evident in all my visits with Dr. Kelly. Thank You!

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Dr. Timothy M. Kelly

Timothy M. Kelly, DMD, PA

Timothy M. Kelly, DMD, PA, has been in practice in Albuquerque, NM, for over 40 years. He provides a wide range of cosmetic, restorative, and general dental services, with a special emphasis on the treatment of TMJ disorder. Some of our most popular services include:

To request an appointment with Dr. Kelly, please fill out our online form or call (505) 256-1770.

Contact Us Today

"We believe that every patient has infinite worth and should be treated with dignity and respect. We are dedicated to educating, creating awareness, and empowering people to make treatment choices that are consistent with their own beliefs, needs and desires." Dr. Tim Kelly

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Albuquerque Office

1441 Carlisle Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87110

Open Today 7:30am - 4:30pm

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