Background Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) inflammation in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) may interfere with optimal joint and muscular function. Orofacial symptoms are common clinical findings in relation to TMJ arthritis in adolescence. Knowledge about their clinical manifestation is important for TMJ arthritis diagnosis, treatment choice and outcome evaluation.
Objectives The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate and describe the frequency, the main complaints and the localisation of TMJ arthritis-related orofacial symptoms. Additionally, the smallest detectable differences for minimal, average and maximal pain were estimated.
Methods Thirty-three patients with JIA and arthritis-related orofacial symptoms in relation to 55 affected TMJs were included in the present questionnaire study (mean age 14.11 years). All patient were asked to fill out an examination-questionnaire concerning: duration, frequency, localisation and characterise their orofacial pain. Duplicate visual analogue scale (VAS) assessments concerning average, maximal and minimal orofacial pain-intensity were carried out 45 minutes apart.
Results The majority of the patients were girls (31/34, 94%). Orofacial symptoms were seen most often during mastication and maximal mouth opening procedures. Persistent orofacial symptoms were rare. The TMJ area in combination with the masseter muscle region was the orofacial region where symptoms were most common. The smallest detectable differences for minimal, average and maximal pain were between 11 and 14 mm on a VAS.
Conclusions This study offers new knowledge about TMJ arthritis-related orofacial symptoms that may aid diagnosis and clinical decision-making. The findings also allow us to suggest that TMJ arthritis-related orofacial symptoms should be understood as a product of the primary TMJ inflammation in combination with secondary myogenic and functional issues.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared