There is a large percentage of people living to much riper old ages than ever before. Approximatley 40 million people are aged 65 and older. With the large Baby Boomer generation heading into their sixties and seventies, this number continues to grow. Age brings certain common medical conditions like osteoporosis which weakens bones and increases the risk for fractures. Osteoporosis affects more women over 80 than any other demographic category, but it can affect men and younger women as well. Doctors often treat osteoporosis with a class of drugs called bisphosphonates. As is common with many pharmaceuticals, bisphosphonates have serious side effects. Use of the drugs can even cause a dental condition called Bisphosphonate Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw, or BRONJ.
What is BRONJ?
Bisphosphonate medicine causes symptoms which develop in three stages:
Stage 1: Jawbone is exposed which creates very disconcerting feelings for the patient suffering the symptoms.
Stage 2: The exposed areas of the jawbone swell up with soft tissue inflammation and possibly signs of infection.
Stage 3: In addition to Stage 1 and 2 symptoms, BRONJ creates localized pain and potential loose teeth. The dead area which has been exposed in the mouth for more than 8 weeks in a patient taking a bisphosphonate drug can result in long term side effects and the need for invasive treatment.
Is BRONJ Preventable?
One key to preventing BRONJ is the timing of your dental care. Many patients opt for dental work while on the bisphosphonate drugs and then develop BRONJ shortly after.Therefore, you may wish to complete needed dental work prior to beginning osteoporosis treatment. Communicate your treatment dosage, frequency, and method of administration (IV or oral) to your dental team. Make sure you continue your regular brushing and flossing routines at home during treatment. Also, conduct regular self-exams while taking bisphosphonate medication.
Schedule an Appointment with your Sheridan Dentists
Are you concerned with your dental health now that you’re taking prescription medication for osteoporosis? Are you in need of any comprehensive dentistry services. If so, please email or call the Grinnell Street Dental office in Sheridan, Wyoming, at (307) 672-7576. Your brand new, beautifully bonded smile is just around the corner.