Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) involvement is a frequent feature in cross-sectional prevalence studies among patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). In this followup study, patients were reviewed after 5 years to study the course of TMJ involvement in relation to disease characteristics.
Children with JIA from a previous study on TMJ involvement were included. A rheumatologic evaluation including the 6 parameters of the JIA core set and an orthodontic evaluation including an orthopantomogram (OPT) were performed. OPTs were scored according to Rohlin's grading system (grades 0–5).
The overall prevalence of patients with condylar alterations decreased from 49% to 40%. Improvement of the alterations was seen in 69% of the initially affected condyles, and consequently improvement was seen in 83% of the initially affected patients. Normalization of the alterations was seen in 67% of the improved condyles, and consequently in 44% of the patients. This proves that the condyle has a regenerative capacity. Improvement was related to low disease activity and a less extensive therapeutic regimen.
In patients with JIA, condylar alterations can improve and even regenerate. Condylar improvement is associated with a low disease activity.