In this blog we have previously discussed how prescription medications affect oral health. That’s why it’s important to inform the dentists at the Sacramento Dentistry Group about medicines you are taking, because it can influence treatment choices. For example, many medications used to treat osteoporosis are referred to by doctors as antiresorptive medications: Boniva and Fosamax are just a couple of them. Patients undergoing cancer treatment are often prescribed antiresorptive medications to counteract bone loss, a side effect of their therapy. Unfortunately, these pharmaceuticals have been known to cause a rare, but serious, oral condition called osteonecrosis (oss-tee-oh-ne-kro-sis) of the jaw bone, or ONJ. How do these medications affect the dental care you receive at the Sacramento Dentistry Group?
Dentistry and Osteoporosis Medications
First, inform us as soon as you begin taking antiresorptive medication or have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. It’s important for us to know any medications you take and at your semi-annual exam, we ask if you have any changes in your health or are taking different or additional medications since your last visit. The condition osteonecrosis can occur anytime, but usually develops after a serious dental procedure, like tooth extraction. Our dental professionals recommend coming in for a visit as soon as possible after you begin taking antiresorptive drugs. Our professional dental team can then give you the best oral care available and will create a dental treatment plan that takes your condition into consideration. Regular dental exams and cleanings do not need to be delayed or cancelled. And while the risk of developing ONJ is extremely low, patients may need to hold off on oral surgery or orthodontic treatment as a precaution. Discussions with your medical doctor will help cement the ideal course of treatment on both ends of the issue. Good communication is the key to receiving the best treatment!
Symptoms of ONJ
Some symptoms of ONJ (osteonecrosis of the jaw) include:
- jaw infection,
- persistent gum disease,
- pain and swelling
- teeth that are suddenly loose
- injured or recently treated gums that do not heal,
- jaw feels abnormally heavy or numb.
If you experience any of these symptoms while taking antiresorptive drugs, contact one of our Sacramento dentists for professional advice and counsel. Our staff cares about our patients’ health and well-being! You can reach us at 916-538-6900 or by going through our digital contact page on the website.