Temporomandibular joint involvement in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis: a preliminary report

Shelly Abramowicz, Joshua M Levy, Sampath Prahalad, Curtis D Travers, Sheila T Angeles-Han
Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology 2019, 127 (1): 19-23

OBJECTIVE: Children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) are at risk for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) arthritis. This can lead to pain, limited mouth opening, facial asymmetry, and malocclusion. Our objective was to characterize patients with JIA and TMJ involvement in a single center.

STUDY DESIGN: This was a retrospective study of children with JIA evaluated at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Inclusion criteria were confirmed JIA and jaw complaints. Medical records were reviewed to document demographics, JIA information, age at first TMJ complaint, and involvement of other joints. Descriptive statistics were computed.

RESULTS: Majority of patients were white (mean age 13 years; range 5-18 years) with polyarticular rheumatoid factor (RF) negative or oligoarticular persistent JIA. Some were antinuclear antibody (ANA) positive, RF positive, or human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-B27 positive. Patients had involvement of other joints (e.g., fingers, knees, wrists). Of those with TMJ symptoms, 6 (10%) had TMJ arthritis.

CONCLUSIONS: In our cohort, 60 (10%) of patients were diagnosed with TMJ arthritis. In this population, patients who are female, white, RF negative, HLA-B27 negative, ANA negative, and polyarticular RF-negative subtype and have involvement of other joints have a higher likelihood of having TMJ symptoms. If a patient meets these criteria, careful evaluation of TMJs should take place.

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