Bisphosphonates and Osteonecrosis

Several of my long time Long Island dental patients are taking Fosamax or Boniva to prevent further bone loss. No one wants to lose inches or suffer with broken bones. I prefer to manage with regular weight-bearing exercise, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and calcium supplements but this is up to you and your physician. There has been a lot of talk in the media about a rare condition called osteonecrosis of the jaw which has been linked to use of bisphosphonate medications.

It is important that you distinguish between the bisphosphonate medications (such as Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva) that are taken orally to treat osteoporosis and others (such as Aredia, Bonefos, Didronel or Zometa) which are administered intravenously as part of cancer therapy.

In rare instances, some individuals receiving intravenous bisphosphonates for cancer treatment have developed osteonecrosis of the jaw, or destruction of the jawbone. Still more rarely, osteonecrosis of the jawbone has occurred in patients taking oral bisphosphonates.

Patients currently receiving intravenous bisphosphonates should avoid invasive dental procedures if possible. The risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw in patients using oral bisphosphonates appears to be low, but be sure to let your dentist know if you use any bisphosphonate medication. It is up to you and your physician whether to modify use of the bisphosphonate medication before dental surgery procedures. The consensus is that good oral hygiene and regular dental care will help to lower your risk of developing osteonecrosis.download desperado dvd

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