Temporomandibular joint arthritis in juvenile idiopathic arthritis: the forgotten joint

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2006 Sep;18(5):490-5. doi: 10.1097/01.bor.0000240360.24465.4c.


Purpose of review: This review explores the prevalence, clinical and radiographic signs, and treatment of temporomandibular joint arthritis in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Recent findings: Temporomandibular joint arthritis seems to be a more frequent manifestation in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis than previously believed, in part due to the paucity of clinical symptoms and poor sensitivity of conventional radiographs used for diagnosis. Antinuclear antibody positivity, early onset of disease, and presence of systemic or polyarticular disease are all risk factors for temporomandibular joint arthritis but may underpredict temporomandibular joint involvement in juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Magnetic resonance imaging enhanced with gadolinium is currently the gold standard in detection of temporomandibular joint arthritis, and treatment with intra-articular corticosteroids has been shown to be effective and safe, with minimal side effects.

Summary: Given the paucity of clinical symptoms in temporomandibular joint arthritis, detection of temporomandibular joint inflammation using contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging is essential for instituting appropriate therapy in a timely fashion. The use of intra-articular corticosteroids holds promise for control of temporomandibular joint inflammation and prevention of associated morbidities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / diagnosis*
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Temporomandibular Joint / pathology
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / pathology


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones