What Is Inflammatory Arthritis?
Arthritis is a name for a large category of conditions affecting many people in Detroit. What these conditions all have in common is that they affect the joints.
Inflammatory arthritis describes arthritis that involves inflammatory compounds, usually associated with the immune system. Infection sometimes causes inflammatory arthritis. However, most cases of inflammatory arthritis that attack your jaw joints aren’t related to infection. Instead, the types of inflammatory arthritis that most often attacks jaw joints are autoimmune inflammatory arthritis.
Autoimmune diseases occur when your immune system attacks your body. In autoimmune inflammatory arthritis, the immune system attacks your joints, though it might also attack other parts of the body as well. The three types of autoimmune arthritis that normally affect the jaw joints are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis that commonly affects the jaw joints. This type of arthritis typically affects synovial joints–joints filled with fluid and cushioned by a cartilage disc, such as the jaw joint. The immune system attacks the lining of the joint, causing painful swelling, joint damage, and eventually joint destruction.
Psoriatic arthritis is related to psoriasis. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the skin, causing rough red patches on the skin. Usually, people with this condition have psoriasis for years before developing arthritis.
We don’t know how commonly psoriatic arthritis affects the jaw joints. Perhaps 90% of people with psoriatic arthritis might experience jaw joint involvement, but it only causes symptoms in about a third of those.
Ankylosing spondylitis is inflammatory arthritis that most commonly affects the spine. Over time, the attacks lead to a fusing of the vertebrae, leading to inflexibility, a hunched posture, and pain. Ankylosing spondylitis also attacks the jaw joint in about a fifth of people with the condition.