Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease that weakens bones and makes them more apt to break. As we grow older, the bones in our bodies lose their density and strength. May factors affect bone density including diet, physical activity, family history, hormones, lifestyle and certain conditions and medications. If you suffer from osteoporosis and you are taking medication for it, then this can affect your oral health. Drugs for this disease are known as bisphosphonates and they can sometimes lead to pain in the jaw bone following the removal of the tooth.
Research suggests that there is a link between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. Studies suggest that osteoporosis may lead to tooth loss due to reduced density of the bone supporting the teeth. Medications help reduce the chance of breaking bones by reducing bone loss and increasing bone density.Reports estimate that medications reduce the chance of breaking a hip by as much as 40-50% in people who have osteoporosis.
In some patients who have been treated with certain osteoporosis medications, a condition known as osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) has been reported. ONJ is a rare, but serious condition that can cause severe damage to the jaw bone. Most people diagnosed with ONJ associated with these medications are patients with cancer who are receiving or have received high doses through an intravenous infusion. While osteonecrosis of the jaw can occur spontaneously, it most commonly occurs after dental procedures that affect the bone or associated tissues for example, pulling a tooth.
Patients taking antiresorptive agents for the treatment of osteoporosis typically do not need to avoid or postpone dental treatment. The risk of developing osteonecrosis of the jaw is low. By contrast, untreated dental disease can progress to become more serious, perhaps even involving the bone and associated tissues, increasing the chances that you might need invasive treatment.
It may be beneficial for anyone who will be starting this treatment with antiresorptive agents to see their dentist before beginning treatment or shortly after. This way, you and your can ensure that you have good oral health going into treatment. The benefits of these medications greatly outweigh the low risk of developing ONJ. However, regular dental visit and excellent oral hygiene practices may be the best way to reduce your risk.