Cristina Iordache, Cristina Angela Ghiorghe, Magda Ecaterina Antohe, Irina Esanu, Codrina Ancuta
The aim of our study was to identify potential relations between temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pathology (signs and symptoms) and disease activity, disability and impairment of quality of life in patients with inflammatory rheumatic conditions. We performed a cross-sectional observational study in a cohort of consecutive patients with inflammatory rheumatic disorders (IRD) and TMJ-related arthritis, attending at least once the outpatient rheumatology department between 2005 and 2007. 152 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 55 with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) met the eligibility criteria (IRD with TMJ involvement at the time of examination) and were recruited for this study; supplementary, 33 healthy controls also featured signs and symptoms related to TMJ involvement and qualified to be included in the study. TMJ complaints were recorded by a regular questionnaire examining the following items: spontaneous muscle pain, muscle pain during use of the jaw, articular pain, difficulty in opening the mouth. In all cases we evaluated disease activity and disability according to internationally validated instruments specifically designed for each disorder or with a common destination. TMJ involvement is commonly reported in patients with RA and AS account for high levels of disability and impaired health-related quality of life. TMJ arthritis significantly correlates with disease activity and disability, not only in RA but also in AS, requiring a complex management.