Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a prevalent rheumatic disease, which can cause severe damage to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and possibly the functions of the stomatognathic system. The aim of yhis study is to evaluate the masticatory function and impact on quality of life in elderly patients with RA with involvement of the TMJ. For this, forty volunteers aged over 60, partially or totally edentulous, will be selected and divided into two groups: (1) with RA and TMJ injury (experimental) and (2) without RA (control). New dentures will be made for elderly people who have unsatisfactory usual prostheses (Vigidi, 1987). The objective variables are the masticatory capacity (MC), the pattern of jaw movement and the maximum bite force (MBF). For CM, an artificial test material will be used together with a system containing 10 sieves coupled in a shaker. The index will be calculated as the percentage of crushed material smaller than 2 mm. The pattern of movement during mastication will be performed by tracing the path mandibular using a cinesiograph. MBF will be determined by the adding of the peak force exerted on clenching isometric for 7 seconds in the molar region, bilaterally. The quality of life of elderly patients about their oral health status will be evaluated by applying the OHIP-14. The salivary flow in the two groups will be controlled by unstimulated saliva test. Data will be analyzed by statistical test. It is hoped that volunteers with AR, have reduction of CM, MBF, and have changes in the trajectory of jaw movement during mastication, as well as changes in quality of life and self-rated oral health.
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