1725 South New Hope Road
Gastonia, North Carolina 28054

TMJ/TMD Therapy


TMJ/TMD, Myofacial Pain, and Bite Disorders

Dr. Kelly has received extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of disorders that involve the bite and problems of the joints and muscles of the jaws. He has studied at the Pankey Institute which considers healthy bite relationships a priority before all other dentistry. He maintains active study in the Atlanta Tanner Study Club, whose mission is to develop talent in understanding bite relationships, alleviating the symptoms of poor bites, and the significance of a proper bite on the teeth, joints and muscles of the head and neck.

The Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ) is one of the most complex moving parts of the human body. Its function is dictated by joint shape and health, the disk, many muscles of the bite, the shape of the teeth, and the nervous system that controls motion as they come together and move past one another. If any part of this system does not coordinate with the others, patients can experience a wide variety of problems classified as Temporo-Mandibular Disorders (TMD).

Common problems include:

  • Clenching
  • Grinding Habits (Bruxism)
  • Popping Joints
  • Locking Jaws
  • Sore Facial Muscles
  • Sore Joints
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Loss of Sleep
  • Neck Soreness
  • Worn Teeth
  • Loose Teeth
  • Sensitivity
  • Gum Recession
  • Cracking Teeth
  • Tooth Fracture
  • Bone Loss
  • Uneven Jaw Opening

TMD is often mistaken for other illnesses including sinus problems, ear infections, and “stress headaches” among others. It is often treated to relieve symptoms with little long-term affect on the cause by the medical community. A physician’s recommendation of “see your dentist” is sometimes not enough. A dentist well trained in the diagnosis and treatment of TMD and myofacial pain (pain of facial muscles) is typically the first and best place a patient should go. TMD is often a gray area between medical and dental insurance reimbursement, however treatment is often affordable and even considered a value to those who suffer. Dr. Kelly utilizes appliance therapy, conservative tooth reshaping called equilibration, and sometimes dental restoration to stabilize many conditions. He sometimes uses physical therapy as an adjunct and in severe and rare disorders of the joint refers to a surgeon if the joint is severely damaged. He rarely has to use medicine to find relief for his patients, by treating the cause rather than the symptoms.

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American Dental Association           American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry            Pankey Institute Alumni