For cancer sufferers and the aging, bone loss is a serious concern. Patients being treated for osteoporosis and bone cancer face a fragile skeletal system and pain. Bisphosphonate therapy offers an effective treatment to replenish bone strength. However, some doctors believe the use of bisphosphonates could lead to bisphosphonate related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ). Albuquerque general dentist, Dr. Mark Miller, explains BRONJ and its possible origins.
Patients take bisphosphonates orally or with an IV. The drug attaches to osteoclasts, the bodies that dissolve bone. Osteoclasts are disrupted and more bone results from bisphosphonate therapy. Those with bone cancer experienced less skeletal problems with bisphosphonates when used with chemotherapy treatments. Treating bone ailments with bisphosphonates has been beneficial for many, but in some cases, BRONJ complicates health. For some, poor oral health contributes to BRONJ before bisphosphonate therapy takes place. BRONJ has a greater chance of occurring if oral surgery needs go unnoticed before treatment with bisphosphonates.
BRONJ is diagnosed when jawbone is dead and exposed for more than eight weeks. Doctors are still unsure of how it occurs, but blood flow to areas of jawbone stops, causing osteonecrosis. Those who take bisphosphonates intravenously have higher instances of BRONJ than those who take them orally. Although the numbers of BRONJ cases are relatively low, the symptoms are serious. BRONJ in stage 1 features exposed bone. Stage 2 includes inflamed or infected soft tissue in addition to bone exposure. At stage 3, bone is fractured along with the symptoms of stage 2 BRONJ. Patients can treat BRONJ at early stages, or before it begins, by closely watching their oral cavity and communicating with their dentist.
If you plan to undergo bisphosphonate therapy, take care of any necessary oral surgery first. A routine checkup can help diagnose problems before they become complications. Call (505) 596-4479 to schedule an appointment with your Albuquerque dentist. Our 87112 dentist office, welcomes new patients of all ages from Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Edgewood, Corrales, Los Lumas, Tijeras, Mountain Air, Santa Fe, and Taos.
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