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Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect The Jaw

Can I Get Arthritis On My Jaw Heres The Answer

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis? | Johns Hopkins Rheumatology

Do you often experience a dull aching or throbbing pain in your jaw? Its difficult for anyone to escape a disturbing ache, especially if youre going through aging.

If you can relate to this, know that you are not alone. We have seen many patients suffer from TMJ pain so much so that we have noticed many cases link to one sourcearthritis.

In this article, you will learn how arthritis can cause TMJ pain. Also, we will introduce you to our trusted Plymouth-based TMJ chiropractor so you can find out what is in store for you.

What Is The Cause Of Tmd

While many people believe that clicking of the TMJ is a cause, there is no scientific evidence that clicking alone causes disorders. For reasons unknown and like RA, issues with the TMJ are more common with women.4 While no definitive connection has been made, the trigeminal nerve serving much of the head passes very near the joint and may be involved in symptoms.5

Treatment Of Tmj Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a complex disease affecting multiple organ systems. For this reason, a whole-body approach to treating rheumatoid arthritis is usually adopted and its common for several medical professionals to be involved in the overall care. A team approach to rheumatoid arthritis is the norm, with a rheumatologist leading the team. Good coordination of care is one of the best things we can do for rheumatoid arthritis patients, explains Bradley Eli, DMD, MS, a specialist in orofacial pain and TMJ disorders.

Using medications to slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis is a central aspect of treatment. The rheumatologist will typically be the one directing the medication strategy. There are specialized medicines used to fight rheumatoid arthritis, including disease modifying antirheumatic drugs and other biologic medications.

For pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to be effective for rheumatoid arthritis of the TMJ.

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Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect Your Jaw

Rheumatology Arthritis

Rheumatology arthritis is an autoimmune disease caused by an overactive immune system. This inflammatory condition affects your joints and causes severe pain and inflammation. Seeking medical help immediately is very important if you are diagnosed with rheumatology arthritis because this autoimmune condition can lead to joint damage and immobility.

One important thing you need to note is that rheumatoid arthritis can affect your jaw also. When it affects your jaw, you will experience stiffness, tenderness, and severe pain when you chew your food. In advanced cases of rheumatoid arthritis, the joint may make noises when moving and it will be very painful.

What Are The Warning Signs

Arthritis in Jaw or TMJ: Types, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

If you are noticing pain near your ear while eating or chewing, its time to take a closer look. You may hear clicking in your jaw, or even a locking sensation where you cant seem to open your mouth comfortably. As this progresses, these pains and sensations will occur whenever you have any sort of RA flare-up.

As time goes on, if this pain is left untreated, you could see more severe symptoms. The pain will increase and become more frequent, and swelling will begin. If the swelling persists, you have the potential to dislocate your jaw, leaving you unable to eat or breathe properly. With that being said, this disease should not be taken lightly!

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Diagnosis Of Jaw Joint Problems

If your jaw hurts or doesnt feel right, see your dentist. Theyll ask about your symptoms and if you have any health problems or long-term medical conditions. Your dentist will then check your head, neck, face and jaw.

They may:

  • press around your jaw to see if its tender
  • ask you to move your jaw in all directions to see how well you can move it
  • ask where and when your jaw feels sore as you move it
  • listen for clicking noises
  • look inside your mouth to see if you have any problems with your teeth or gums
  • ask if anything triggers your jaw problems
  • check if you grind your teeth or bite your nails because both of these can cause jaw problems

Your dentist can usually diagnose jaw joint problems just by examining your jaw. But sometimes they may want to check if part of your jaw joint is out of place or if you have any signs of arthritis. They may refer you to a specialist doctor such as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. You may need to have some tests and scans to check your jaw joint, including:

Rheumatoid Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis

Many people confuse rheumatoid arthritis with osteoarthritis due to their similar symptoms, but the two diseases are caused by different factors.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Whereas rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes joint malfunction due to inflammation, osteoarthritis is a mechanical disease brought on by the destruction of joints through wear and tear.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, with approximately 27 million Americans over the age of 25 having been diagnosed with it. Osteoarthritis is also most commonly seen in people middle-aged to elderly and is the top cause of disability in those age groups, though it can also appear in younger people who have sustained joint injuries.

With osteoarthritis, the cartilage, joint lining, ligaments, and bone are all affected by deterioration and inflammation. When the cartilage begins to break down due to stress or changes in the body, the surrounding bones slowly get bigger and begin to fail.

Osteoarthritis is a slowly progressing disease and occurs in the joints of the hand, spine, hips, knees, and toes. Furthermore, risk factors of this disease most often stem from lifestyle or biological causes, such as:

  • Obesity

Osteoarthritis sometimes occurs alongside rheumatoid arthritis or other disease, such as gout.

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How To Treat Jaw Pain

Unfortunately, there is no officially accepted medical specialty or accepted standards of care for TMD. According the non-profit TMJ Association, treatments may include eating soft foods, ice and heat packs, pain medications, exercises, relaxation, side sleeping, avoiding chewing gum, dental splints, and limited cortisone injections. They highly recommend avoiding treatments that cause permanent changes in the jaw or bite. Surgery is not recommended because of lack of scientific evidence.11

How Doctors Can Help

TMJ Explained | Jaw Pain Causes & Symptoms

If you suffer from TMD, your doctor may prescribe medication. Anti-inflammatories and pain relievers can help alleviate inflammation and pain. Muscle relaxants may help relieve any pain that is associated with a clenched jaw. Tricyclic antidepressants, which are historically used for depression, have been found to also have some affect against chronic pain.

Your doctor may prescribe mouth guards or oral splits to reduce jaw pain and help with jaw alignment. Physical therapy may also be used.

When these methods do not work, your doctor may consider surgery. There are a number of surgical procedures that might be helpful which include minimally invasive procedures from injecting small amounts of fluid to open jaw surgery to address problems with the joint.

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Treatment Options For Rheumatoid Arthritis And Jaw Pain

Anti-inflammatory creams such as Feldene or Nurofen applied on the jaw can provide temporary relief. Its not uncommon for TMJ patients to be referred to an orthodontist who will try to manage the condition with the help of various dental appliances, splints, physical therapies, and orthodontics. In addition to the above, hot fomentations, ice packs, and mouth exercises can improve prognosis, as can a variety of self-help strategies.

Ways In Which Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects The Jaw

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a conditionthat causes problems such as pain and inflammation in the joints. When theconditions spread and affect the jaw, it often causes tenderness, pain, andstiffness while chewing. When this condition advances, the joint can be painfuland can even make noises during movement.

The involvement of jaw in rheumatoidarthritis is common in many people and the condition is not often controlledwell. Even though the estimate of prevalence of this condition varies widelybetween 2 and 88 percent of people having rheumatoid arthritis, only a fewpeople experience its symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis mostly affects the jointsin a symmetrical way which makes people notice its symptoms on both sides ofthe jaw.

As rheumatoid arthritis can affectthe jaw, it is important to know about its symptoms, diagnosis, and ways torelieve jaw pain associated with it.

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How To Relieve Arthritis Pain In Jaw

There are two simple exercises that may be useful for TMJ patients or people with TMD. But you must never do these exercises if the joint is inflamed. Wait till the inflammation settles down before embarking on these routines. Also, prior starting these exercises, make sure you first warm up your facial muscles for a few minutes with a warm compress.

Rheumatology Arthritis And Jaw

Pin on Chronic Illness

This autoimmune condition mainly affects your hands, knees, and wrist. However, in some cases, rheumatology arthritis also affects your jaw. The condition may cause severe pain and inflammation in your temporomandibular joint, which is also called the jaw joint. The problem with rheumatoid arthritis in the jaw is that it will restrict you from eating, drinking, speaking, and even sleeping. The rheumatology symptoms can interrupt the development of the jaw in children.

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Other Causes Of Tmj Pain

  • Jaw Injury acute trauma to your jaw and the muscles surrounding it is one of the leading causes of TMJ pain. The injury could be due to accidents, including slips, falls, and vehicle accidents.
  • Genetics if any of your parents or close relatives have TMJ pain, you are most likely to also suffer from it as you age.
  • Poor Posture maintaining a poor posture can have a lot of adverse effects on your body. Having TMJ pain can be a result of it. The joints on your jaw are very finely balanced, and poor posture can cause them to misalign, lock, or cramp. This increases your risk for pain.
  • Arthritis psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis

About Jaw Joint Problems

Your jaw joint connects your lower jaw to your skull. It allows your mouth to open and close so you can speak and chew. Lots of muscles and ligaments help your jaw move up and down, from side to side, and backwards and forwards.

If you have a problem with your jaw joint or the muscles around it, this is usually called temporomandibular jaw disorder. Some doctors also call it myofascial pain disorder.

Up to seven in every 10 people in the UK have a problem with their jaw joint at some point in their lives. You can get problems with your jaw at any age, but its most likely to happen when youre aged between 20 and 40.

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What Can I Do If I Have Jaw Problems

Please inform your dentist, dental therapist or hygienist, if you are experiencing any of these problems:

  • Pain on opening wide
  • Limited opening
  • Difficulty accessing the back of your mouth when brushing

If there is limited opening or discomfort, this will need to be managed with shorter dental appointments or rest during particular treatments.

Lifestyle changes

There are a number of self-help measures that can help improve TMD, including:

  • Resting the joint by eating soft food and avoiding chewing gum.
  • Holding a warm or cold flannel to the jaw after doing a few gentle jaw-stretching exercises.
  • Avoiding opening the joint too wide.
  • Massaging the muscles around the joint.
  • Relaxation exercises to relieve stress .
  • Not resting your chin on your hand.

TMD exercises

There are two main exercises which may be useful . Your dentist can explain which will be of most help to you. It is important to warm up your facial muscles for a few minutes with a warm compress before starting your exercises.

Exercise 1
  • Open your mouth slowly.
  • Curl your tongue upwards so that the tip of your tongue is touching the back part of the roof of your mouth.
  • Close your mouth slowly, keeping your tongue in the above position. Repeat this sequence 10 times, 2 3 times daily.
Exercise 2

The Melbourne TMJ Centre website has some good pictorial examples of these and other TMD exercises.


Rheumatoid Arthritis And Characterization Challenges

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This is an ambitious study designed to evaluate the characteristics of TMJ in early onset RA and in subjects at risk for RA, said Don L. Goldenberg, MD, emeritus professor of medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, and a member of the PPM Editorial Board.

However, Dr. Goldenberg does not feel that the study provides enough insight to prompt clinicians to be alert for specific issues. He noted that a TMJ diagnosis is subject to various interpretations, and, in this study, the number of subjects and, therefore the statistical differences were too small to use as a foundation for making conclusions.

The vast majority of individuals with TMJ do not have jaw joint pathology and this includes subjects with RA, Dr. Goldenberg said. One of the reasons that the estimates of TMJ in RA are so varied is because some studies focus on those RA patients with jaw pathology, whereas other look at patients with clinical TMJ, he explained. In RA early onset or at-risk subjects, the majority of subjects who complain of TMJ symptoms will not have any jaw pathology, but the TMJ symptoms reflect increased generalized pain, including the 20% to 30% of subjects who would meet criteria for fibromyalgia, he noted.

  • Kroese JM, Volgenant CMC, Crielaard W, et al. Temporomandibular disorders in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis and at-risk individuals in the Dutch population: a cross-sectional study. RMD Open 2021 7**:**e001485. doi: 10.1136/rmdopen-2020-001485
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    Ways To Relievepain In The Ra Joint

    Controlling the condition itself isthe first step to reducing pain in the RA joints. Rheumatologists mostlyprescribe medications for preventing the damage occurring in the tissue and forslowing down the progression of the disease.

    The intake of medications thatincludes steroidal and non-steroidal drugs helpsreduce the pain and inflammation caused in the jaw.

    Since the medications on rheumatoidarthritis generally slow down or stop the progression of the condition, itreduces the symptoms of the condition and prevents permanent damage of the jawjoint.

    The common medications that are usedin relieving the symptoms of this condition include corticosteroids,disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, and biologic medications.

    Certain exercises for the jaw canalso help to relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Always speak to yourdoctor to get to know about the type of exercises that can be the best for you also know about the frequency of doing those exercises as overdoing can worsenthe symptoms. Keep in mind to always warm the jaw muscles up to prevent injuryof the jaw.

    The immediate symptoms of jaw paincan be helped using home remedies. However, sticking on to home remedies arenot enough for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Prolonged pain and inflammationcan lead to permanent damage to the tissues even with mild symptoms thereforetaking the medications prescribed by your doctor is very important and shouldnot be avoided.

    Rheumatoid Arthritis And Your Jaw

    Inflammation in your temporomandibular joint can be very painful, and since RA attacks the joints, TMJ disorders are a common complication.

    Symptoms of TMJ disorders include:

    • Jaw pain
    • Tenderness in the neck, shoulders, and around the ear
    • Facial swelling on one side
    • Difficulty chewing, or discomfort when biting down

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    What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis

    RA is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease. The bodys immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues around the joints, causing inflammation that can make it difficult to move the joints that are being attacked. The disease commonly affects hands and knees, but any joint is susceptible, meaning the jaw joint can also be affected. Usually, this happens in later stages of the disease.

    Explaining Arthritis In Jaw Or Tmj

    Rheumatoid Arthritis &  Jaw Pain

    Not everyone knows that their jaw joints or the temporomandibular joints can also be a target of arthritis. The pain that comes with jaw arthritis can vary from mild to severe. Even worse, the symptoms can aggravate over time when left untreated.

    Sharp pain can cause difficulties and suffering for those with arthritis in the jaw. Even the simplest tasks, such as opening up the mouth or chewing, can become super difficult for patients.

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    When To See A Doctor

    If you have jaw pain, its a good idea to see your dentist or doctor to find out the cause. The earlier you treat arthritis or TMJ issues, the better the prognosis. Catching arthritis early may help prevent damage to your jaw.

    Your healthcare provider will request your medical history and physically examine your jaw. Theyll also ask about your symptoms and may order a blood test.

    To help diagnose the cause of your jaw pain, your healthcare provider may order imaging tests. These may include:

    • an X-ray of your jaw
    • a CT scan to get a better look at your jaw bones and joint tissue
    • MRI to see if there are issues with the structure of your jaw

    Treatment for jaw arthritis will depend on the type of arthritis you have and its severity.

    In general, the goal of treatment is to:

    • prevent further jaw deterioration
    • maintain your jaw function

    As yet, theres no treatment to reverse the damage of jaw arthritis.

    A 2017 review of studies about jaw arthritis reported that initial conservative measures resolved pain symptoms in of people with jaw arthritis. These measures included:

    • jaw rest

    Research On Rheumatoid Arthritis

    In the last decade, much research has been conducted to increase our understanding of the immune system and what makes it malfunction. There have also been new therapies developed to help treat the disease. Some of the topics of intense research include:

    What are the genetic factors that predispose people to develop rheumatoid arthritis?

    Some white blood cells, commonly known as T cells, are important in maintaining a healthy and properly functioning immune system. However, scientists have discovered a variationcalled single nucleotide polymorphism in a gene that controls T cells. When the SNP gene variation is present, T cells attempt to correct abnormalities in joints too quickly, causing the inflammation and tissue damage associated with RA. The discovery of SNP may help determine peoples risk for getting RA and might help explain why autoimmune diseases run in families.

    At conception, twins have an identical set of genes. So why would only one twin develop RA?

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