Many people, especially women, are concerned with bone loss as they age. Over the years, general physicians have often prescribed a certain class of drugs called bisphosphonates to combat bone density conditions like osteoporosis. Intravenous bisphosphonates are sometimes used with certain types of cancer. In high potency forms, bisphosphonates have stopped cancer cells from growing in some patients. Unfortunately, powerful and affective drugs often come with side effects. Dr. Darlene Henry, your Kentucky dentist,  will talk about a condition that can defeats the very purpose of bone building medications called Bisphosphonate Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (BRONJ).

Bisphosphonate Drugs Explained

Bisphosphonate drugs adhere to the surfaces of bones directly beneath the osteoclasts (bone cells). These drugs bind with the osteoclasts and halt the process of bone degeneration. Bone density is then markedly improved, which eliminates the high risk for bone fractures that are often a concern as we age. The benefits seen from bisphosphonates have been seen for several years after the drug has last been taken. Cancer patients or women with osteoporosis can have weakened bones and diminished bone density. Bisphosphonate treatments allow people to go about life without worrying about easily fractured bones.

BRONJ Explained

Bisphosphonate Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (BRONJ) is basically the death of a portion of someone’s jawbone. Symptoms such as localized pain, swelling of gum tissueloose teeth, and the most obvious – exposed bone – are signs that you should get to the dentist immediately, especially if you have been administered bisphosphonate drugs. BRONJ isn’t a common occurrence, but it does happen. Medical intervention is imperative when signs are seen.

As with everything related to your dental health, prevention is ideal. If you are beginning bisphosphonate therapy, visit your dentist for a thorough checkup before you start using the drugs. Discuss your treatment plan with your dentist. You will need to provide the dosage information you’re your dentist may be curious to hear more about your reasons for taking the drugs. A likely recommendation from your dental team will be extra diligent oral hygiene and more frequent visits to the dentist to check in. Communication with your dentist might possibly allow you to enjoy the benefits of bisphosphonate drugs while saving yourself from having to deal with BRONJ.

Feel free to call our Kentucky dental office at (859) 344 – 8500 if you have questions about how any medications might be affecting your oral health. We gladly serve patients from Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, Taylor Mill, and surrounding communities.