Lady with TMJ pain

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.

TMJ Treatment Transformation

One of our patients, Helen Payne, suffered from headaches, dizzy spells, and balance problems for 25 years without knowing what was causing these problems. Our clinic found that the root of Payne's problems stemmed from TMJ misalignment. Once Payne's TMJs were in alignment, her symptoms subsided and her teeth were restored. 


Temporomandibular 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 joints. 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 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.



BOTOX® injections are a well-known treatment to correct cosmetic issues, such as wrinkles. However, BOTOX injections are also a noninvasive treatment option to help relieve painful TMJ symptoms. These injections work by relaxing tense muscles in the jaw. This relieves tension in the joints and muscles, which is often a major contributor to TMJ pain and associated symptoms such as headaches.

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.

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.

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.

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 joints and surrounding tissues. Temporomandibular joint disorders can make it difficult to bite, chew, speak, and make certain facial expressions.

Symptoms of a TMJ Disorder What Are the Common Signs?

Dental Damage

  • 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

Other Health Issues

  • Tension headaches or migraines
  • Eye pain or blurry vision
  • Dizziness
  • Ear pain or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Sore neck and shoulders

TMD Risk Factors


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

Treating TMJ Issues 3 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 mandibular orthopedic splint to align and stabilize the 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.

A 5-Star Dentistry Experience Patient-Centered Care for the People of Albuquerque, NM


Celia Klaus


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All the staff and Dr. Kelly are professional, friendly and very skilled. They always take great care of me and explain what treatments they will perform to care for my teeth. I highly recommend Dr. Kelly and his incredible staff.

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Joella Moats


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I don’t enjoy going to the dentist but Dr Kelly is very accommodating of my phobias and has been able to give me a pain free experience while they take care of my dental health. Thank you also to the pleasant staff.

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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, since 1981. 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

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