Background Damages in body joints are commonly associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In dentistry, the temporomandibular joint, if impaired by RA, might affect the patients' mandibular movements and, consequently, their quality of life.
Objectives The aim of this study was to evaluate the mandibular movements and the oral health quality of life (OHQL) of the elderly with RA.
Methods Partially or completely edentulous subjects (aged 64±4 years) were divided into two groups: an experimental group, consisting of 12 elderly with RA and therefore temporomandibular disorder (TMD); and the control, consisting of 12 elderly free of RA and TMD. The Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders (RDC/TMD) was used to diagnose arthralgia, arthritis, and arthrosis in the RA individuals. Mandibular movements were evaluated using the electromagnetic method of jaw tracking. OHQL was evaluated by applying the Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14) questionnaire, which evaluates dimensions involving social, psychological and physical aspects. Data concerning the mandibular movements were submitted to ANOVA and Tukey's test (P<0.05), while those regarding OHIP-14 were analyzed by Mann-Whitney test (P<0.05).
Results The individuals in the experimental group showed the lowest values for sagittal (P=0.0088) and vertical aperture (P=0.0116), lateral mandibular deviation (P=0.0109), and right (P=0.0103) and left (P=0.007) laterality. OHIP-14 results obtained for the RA and TMD individuals revealed the highest impact on oral health in the following dimensions: physical pain (P<0.001), psychological discomfort (P<0.001), psychological disability (P<0.001), functional limitation (P=0.005), physical disability (P=0.003) social disability (P=0.02) and social disadvantage (P=0.02).
Conclusions The presence of RA involving temporomandibular joint reduces the mandibular movements and negatively impacts the quality of life of the elderly.
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Disclosure of Interest None declared