Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common inflammatory mediated arthritis that leads to joint damage and significant societal burden related to patient discomfort and treatment costs.1-5 Several studies have indicated patients with RA have an increased prevalence of periodontal disease than those without RA or with other forms of arthritis.2-6 Current understanding of the pathogenesis of RA lacks a clear picture of the autoantibody response and what stimulates it, particularly specific serum antibodies directed to citrullinated peptides, which are associated with smoking, disease severity, and periodontal disease (Figure 1). Previously, RA was thought to influence periodontal disease progress through a decrease in dexterity that led to an increase in etiologic factors secondary to poor oral hygiene, but despite similar levels of joint dysfunction, patients with RA demonstrate approximately three times higher rates of periodontitis than patients with osteoarthritis (OA).5,7 This suggests a potential underlying biologic mechanism of interaction between these two diseases.

Figure 1. Clinical and Pathological Features of RA.97

Figure 1 Chart showing the factors for RA

This course seeks to improve the dental care provider’s understanding of the interaction between periodontal disease and RA as well as aid in the clinical decision making to care for patients with RA in a dental setting.