Orland Park’s Dr. Cynthia Wong is an experienced provider of orthodontic care to people with all sorts of health conditions. One of the issues in children which has the biggest impact on the structure of their jaws and teeth is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JNA). Care for these patients requires collaboration between orthodontists and oral surgeons.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder which causes the body to attack its own joint lining. When the joints swell, the bones can become deformed under pressure, particularly in children. Among the affected joints is the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects the lower jaw to the head. Problems in the TMJ can lead to pain, teeth grinding, difficulty opening the mouth, and clicking sounds when the mouth moves. In children with JNA, it can also cause the lower jaw to become deformed, resulting in overcrowding of the front teeth and an open bite.
Orthodontic treatment for people with JNA varies on a case-by-case basis and is done in response to which part of the head an oral surgeon operates on. In some cases, headgear or functional appliances may be used to relieve pressure from certain areas. People with rheumatoid arthritis are especially vulnerable to gum disease and need to be careful to keep braces very clean. If they are having difficulty using non-motorized brushes, we can help them to find alternatives.