Unlike the common form of arthritis that comes from gradual wear and destruction of the cushions between your bones, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that can attack any joint in your body, including your temporomandibular joint.
If RA attacks your temporomandibular joint, TMJ symptoms may result. Fortunately, TMJ treatment may help to control symptoms like jaw pain to improve your quality of life.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder. That means that your immune system, designed for attacking invading tissue, begins to attack your own body. In RA, the most common targets are your joints, but technically any body tissue may be affected. The result is painful swelling and degradation of the joint cushions, which then leads to bone wear that is even more painful and causes irreversible damage.
How Common Is TMJ in RA Sufferers?
Although we have good figures for many of the conditions that seem to overlap with TMJ, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), no large-scale studies have been done on TMJ and RA. However, several small-scale studies have been conducted, suggesting that the rate of temporomandibular joint involvement in RA may be from 76–93%. Studies typically use a combination of physical examination and radiography to determine the extent of temporomandibular joint involvement in RA.
How TMJ Treatment Can Help
RA must be treated as an autoimmune disorder, and TMJ treatment can’t necessarily prevent degradation of the temporomandibular joint. However, TMJ treatment can help manage symptoms like jaw pain and others, and using an oral splint may help position your jaw properly so that better healing may occur between RA attacks.
To learn how TMJ treatment can help in your case, please call (303) 691-0267 at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado in Denver for an appointment.