Clinical and radiographic evaluation of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis: Report of a case

Authors

  • Sally A. Zifer DDS,

    1. Second-year Resident in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Medical College of Georgia, 1459 Laney Walker Blvd., Augusta, GA 30912–1210. Since then, she has completed her residency (June, 1993) and currently resides in Fairview Park, OH
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  • Deirdre R. Sams DDS, MS,

    1. Assistant Professors in MCG's Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Oral Diagnosis & Patient Services, and Pediatric Rheumatology
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  • Brad J. Potter DDS, MS,

    1. Assistant Professors in MCG's Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Oral Diagnosis & Patient Services, and Pediatric Rheumatology
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  • Rita Jerath MD

    1. Assistant Professors in MCG's Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Oral Diagnosis & Patient Services, and Pediatric Rheumatology
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Abstract

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory disease of the synovium which may lead to proliferative and degenerative changes in the body's joints, including the temporomandibular joint (TM Joint). Although the exact etiology of rheumatoid arthritis remains unknown, it is suspected that the disease is often initiated by an infectious organism, or by genetic and/or environmental factors. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is a chronic disease of childhood with a spectrum of joint involvement and associated systemic and other organ involvement. Five percent of all rheumatoid arthritis patients are children. In the United States, approximately 150,000 children are affected by IRA. With upper limb involvement, routine oral hygiene procedures become difficult. Dental evaluations/screenings may not be included in the initial team assessment of these patients until the TM Joint is affected; however, prior to this time, the patient may have had years of poor oral hygiene which could contribute to severe decay and early tooth loss. This case report describes the oral health status of a child with polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and the specific recommendations for dental management.

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