The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of rheumatic disease as a risk factor for temporomandibular disease (TMD). A total of 143 outpatients reporting symptoms indicating rheumatic disease at their first visit to the rheumatology clinic were included. We evaluated the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) with scintigraphic images, and standard questionnaires were administered for the symptomatic assessment for all patients. The patients were classified into ‘healthy controls’ or as per their diagnosis into ‘osteoarthritis’, ‘axial spondyloarthritis’, ‘peripheral spondyloarthritis’, ‘rheumatoid arthritis’, or ‘other rheumatic diseases’ groups. The patients were also differentiated depending on the presence or absence of axial involvement. The relation between the rheumatic disease type and findings at the TMJ were evaluated using statistical analyses. Axial spondyloarthritis, peripheral spondyloarthritis, and rheumatic arthritis patients showed significantly higher scintigraphic uptake at the TMJ compared with those in the control and osteoarthritis groups (axial spondyloarthritis: 4.5, peripheral spondyloarthritis: 4.5, rheumatoid arthritis: 4.09, control: 3.5, osteoarthritis: 3.4, p < 0.0001). Compared with patients without axial involvement, patients with axial involvement also showed significantly higher TMJ scintigraphic uptake (axial involvement: 4.24, without axial involvement: 3.50, p < 0.0001) with elevated symptomatic rates in TMD (axial involvement: 17.82, without axial involvement: 9.97, p < 0.005).
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