Many women are concerned with bone loss as they get older. Over the years, general physicians have started prescribing a certain class of drugs called bisphosphonates which are proven to combat bone density conditions such as osteoporosis. Intravenous bisphosphonates are prescribed for patients with certain types of cancer likely to lead to bone loss. In high potency forms, bisphosphonates have even stopped malignant cells from growing in some patients. Unfortunately, powerful and affective drugs often come with side effects. In the case of bone density drugs, this could prove disastrous to your dental health.
Bisphosphonates adhere to the surfaces of bones directly beneath you bone cells (osteoclasts). This class of drugs bind with the osteoclasts which halts the process of bone degeneration. Bone density is then improved, which eliminates the high risk for bone breaks and fractures that are so often a concern as we age. The benefits seen from bisphosphonate medications have been seen in patients sometimes several years after the drug has last been ingested. Cancer patients or women with osteoporosis often have weakened bones and poor bone density. Bisphosphonate treatments allow patients to go about life without worrying about easily fractured bones.
Bisphosphonate Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (BRONJ) is an unfortunate side effect of certain bone density medications. The death of a portion of jawbone is the result of this highly unpleasant reaction. Symptoms such as localized pain, swelling of gingival tissues, loose teeth, and exposed bone are all signs that you should get to the dentist immediately. If you notice these symptoms in conjunction with taking bisphosphonate drugs, take fast action. BRONJ isn’t a common occurrence, but it does happen, and the faster it is treated, the better prognosis.
About Shawn Hofkes, DDS
With advanced training in oral and maxillofacial surgery and certification in oral and IV sedation, Shawn Hofkes, DDS is qualified to provide comfortable, advanced dental care from our state-of-the-art dentist office in Cerritos, CA. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.