Osteonecrosis of the Jaw





Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a condition where the bones of the jaw do not heal properly and portions of the bone can be lost. Osteonecrosis can occur in patients who are taking certain kinds of medications. These include medications used to treat osteoporosis called bisphosphonates. Bisphosphonates are used to help increase bone density in patients suffering from osteoporosis. They act on the bone cells to help increase bone formation. Due to their mechanism of action they can however affect how bones heal after boney surgeries. This can lead to the development of osteonecrosis or non-healing bone in a surgical site. This is called bisphosphonate osteonecrosis of the jaw.


Patient who are taking bisphosphonate medications for osteoporosis or cancer treatment can be at risk of developing osteonecrosis after any oral surgical procedure. The condition can be painful and very hard to treat. Secondary osteomyelitis or infections of the bone can develop in sites of osteonecrosis complicating the condition. Treatment for osteonecrosis can require additional surgery and or long-term antibiotic therapy could be required either orally or via an intravenous route.


If you are preparing to have any oral surgery notify your surgeon if you are taking these medications and any other supplemental medications. Your surgeon will determine your risk of developing this condition based on the length of time you have been on the medications and the complexity of the surgery. They may recommend that you stop these medications for a period of time before and after the surgical procedure. Your surgeon will follow your healing after the surgery to make sure that osteonecrosis does not develop. Click this link to find out more!

Copyright Dr. Robin Gallardi 2017

Copyright Dr. Robin Gallardi 2017

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