We compared dentition status and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders in 142 women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA, ages, 40 to 69 years) and 143 women of similar age without RA. The RA group had significantly fewer remaining teeth than the non-RA group. Number of decayed, missing, and filled (DMF) teeth, number of edentulous subjects, and number of subjects with complete and removable partial dentures were significantly higher in the RA group. Among RA subjects, 1.4% had unprovoked TMJ pain, 4.9% had pain on mouth opening, and 14.8% noted difficulty with opening. In the RA group, TMJ tenderness was elicited in 92%, clicking in 12.7%, and crepitus in 35.9%, representing a significant excess occurrence of crepitus. The prevalence of TMJ disorders was 67.6% in the RA group and 32.9% in the non-RA group; degenerative joint disorders were particularly frequent. TMJ disorders correlated with Steinbrocker stage and the duration of RA.
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