Oral Surgeon and Recognized Leader in the Treatment of TMJ Disorders

Dr. William S. Kirk jr. DDSDr. William S. Kirk, Jr., DDS

Dr. Kirk’s patients benefit from his more than 30 years of experience in oral and maxillofacial surgery. Dr. Kirk’s practice provides patients with access to comprehensive oral surgery for both functional and cosmetic problems of the mouth teeth jaws and face including:

  • extraction of wisdom teeth
  • dental implants
  • corrective jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery)
Dr. Kirk’s offices are located in Charlotte, North Carolina.

At a time when many providers are moving into specialties related to cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Kirk continues to provide patients with expert consultation regarding the non-surgical and surgical treatment of temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, disorders.

Dr, Kirk is committed to providing patients with comprehensive care regarding correcting TMJ problems including surgery for significant TMJ disorders that can not be successfully resolved with non-surgical treatments. Dr. Kirk is also committed to the continuing education of dental and health care providers regarding surgical treatment of TMJ derangements and speaks and writes frequently for professional organizations both nationally and internationally.

Professional Organizations and Education

  • Past President, American Society of Temporomandibular Joint Surgeons, 2003-2005.
  • Fellow, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.
  • Diplomat, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency: Vanderbilt University,1978-1981.


Dr. Kirk regularly writes and publishes in technical and professional forums on topics related to TMJ disorders and the surgical treatment options.

1.  Kirk, William S. and Kirk, Benjamin S.:  “A Biomechanical Basis for Primary Arthroplasty of the Temporomandibular Joint”.  Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Clinics of North America, 18 (2006) 345-368.

Benjamin Kirk, MS, PhD. is a NASA aerospace engineer.  Basic engineering principles relative to the TM joint are introduced for surgeons to consider.  Examples of surgical disease and the biomechanical development of these problems are introduced to surgeonsAn extensive bibliography is available here as well. (91 references)

2.  Hall, HD, Indresano, AT, Kirk, WS, and Dietrich, MS:  “Prospective Multicenter comparison of 4 temporomandibular joint operations” :  Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 2005;  63: 1174-1179.

This is one of the few if not the only paper in the surgical literature that compares multiple surgical options with statistical analysis of results.  Conclusion is that improvement with surgery is statistically significant when applied to known levels of Wilkes derangement states.  There was a statistically significant improvement in both pain, dysfunction, and the ability to eat and function. Paper concludes that surgery, when appropriately applied, is predictable in outcome.  All procedures are effective based on degree of dysfunction operated at initial surgery experience.

3.  Kirk, W. S. :  “Sagittal magnetic resonance image characteristics and surgical findings of mandibular condyle surface disease in staged internal derangements” Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery,  1994;  52: 64-68.

Surgical photographs of levels of surgical disease are compared to MRI images of various stages of Wilkes derangements and other levels of surgical disease.

4.  Kirk, W.S. :  “Magnetic resonance imaging and tomographic evaluation of occlusal appliance treatment for advanced internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint”,  Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 1991, 49: 9-12.

This is a study that compares traditional x-ray studies with their MRI images when traditional “bite splints” are used.  These appliances are important in non-surgical management.  However, MRI shows that in advanced cases, a “splint” does not change the nature of a surgical problem.  Splints however are excellent in artificially increasing joint space and decompressing a diseased or injured joint.  They are necessary in surgical treatment to decrease loads in operated joints (decompression) during a period of healing.

5.  Kirk, W.S.:  “Morphologic differences between superior and inferior disc surfaces in chronic internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint” ,  Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery,  1990, 48: 455-460.

This is a pictorial study of TM joint tissue commonly found in advanced joint derangements.  Comparisons with normal joints are presented.

6.  Kirk, W.S. and Calabrese, D. K.:  “Clinical Evaluation of physical therapy in the management of internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint, 1989, 47:113-119.

Physical Therapy is an important component of non-surgical management.  This paper presents clinical outcomes with non-surgical treatment.  Only 29% of advanced Wilkes derangement patients improved to any significant degree with physical therapy.

7.  Kirk, W.S.:  “Risk factors of TMJ arthrotomy and arthroplasty:  a four to nine year evaluation of 303 surgical procedures. Journal of Craniomandibular Practice , 1998: 16 (3):  154-161.

This was a paper published looking at 4-9 year follow up of 303 TM joint operations.  Overall success in this group was 90%.  Goal of study was to evaluate risk factors that influenced initial surgical failures.  Four important categories of risk were identified.  Success is Wilkes stage specific.  Importance of evaluating all aspects of Wilkes III derangement discussed. This is the largest single group of surgical patients studied relative to arthroplasty. Overall success rates can improve if impingement states are effectively corrected along with disc/capsule repair procedures. (See reference #1).

Dental and health care providers are invited to learn more about TMJ disorders. Patients are encouraged to find out about TMJ conditions and treatment options. Contact our office for consultation regarding oral or maxillofacial surgery