Conservative Treatment with Occlusal Appliance for Temporomandibular Disorder Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Kim, Young-Ae ;
  • Kim, Kyung-Hee ;
  • Ok, Soo-Min ;
  • Ahn, Yong-Woo ;
  • Jeong, Sung-Hee
  • Received : 2016.11.21
  • Accepted : 2016.12.10
  • Published : 2016.12.30


Purpose: This study is designed to analyse etiology and bone pattern at the first visit using cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) and to evaluate the treatment outcome of conservative treatment in temporomandibular disorder (TMD) patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Methods: One hundred condyles in 50 subjects with RA were chosen among the patients who presented to the Department of Oral Medicine of Pusan National University Dental Hospital, diagnosed as TMD. Condylar bone changes were classified by normal, erosive bony change, proliferative bony change and combined group (erosive bony change+proliferative bony change). They were treated conservatively with physical therapy, medication, behavioral therapy and/or occlusal stabilizing splint therapy. After 3 months on average, patients were re-evaluated with regards to subjective symptoms and the clinical findings were investigated. Results: TMD patients with RA have behavioral contributing factors such as parafunctional habit. The results that analyse bone pattern at the first visit using CBCT proliferative bony changes group (32.6%) were more common than erosive bony changes group (15.2%). In comparison between unilateral and bilateral bony change in temporomandibular joint, the ratio showed no significant differences. After 3 months of conservative treatments, pain, noise, limitation of motion (LOM) were markedly improved regardless of occlusal splint therapy. However only LOM was significantly improved through occlusal splint therapy during 3 months. Conclusions: TMD patients with RA had similar behavioral contributing factors and characteristics of CBCT images shown in general TMD patients and also similar response to conservative treatment so it is difficult to differentiate. Therefore when TMD patients show symptoms corresponding to clinical diagnostic criteria of RA at the first visit, serological testing should be conducted and through this, early diagnosis and treatment of RA should be initiated.


Arthritis, rheumatoid;Cone-beam computed tomography;Conservative treatment;Temporomandibular joint disorders


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Supported by : Pusan National University