This is part two of the article sent to me by the AGD (Academy of General Dentistry). This particular snippet deals with the complications of bisphosphonates and an increased risk of jaw necrosis (jaw rot):
Breast cancer patients, individuals at risk for osteoporosis, and individuals undergoing certain types of bone cancer therapies often take drugs that contain bisphosphonates. Bisphosphonates may place patients at risk for developing osteonecrosis of the jaws (a rotting of the jaw bones), according to a case report and literature review that appeared in the May/June 2006 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.
Bisphosphonates are a family of drugs used to prevent and treat osteoporosis, multiple myeloma, Paget’s disease (bone cancers), and bone metastasis from other cancers. These drugs can bond to bone surfaces and prevent osteoclasts (cells that breakdown bone) from doing their job.
“Healthy bones constantly rebuild themselves,” explains co-author of the report Sally-Jo Placa, DMD, MPA. “However, since the jawbones have rapid cell turnover, they can fail to heal properly in patients taking any of the bisphosphonate drugs. Patients need to be aware of the possibility of complications from dental surgery or extractions.” Since these drugs linger in the bone indefinitely, they may upset the cell balance in how the jaws regenerate and remove unhealthy bone.
Current knowledge suggests that some of these effects can last up to 17 years! (Wow!) You can read the rest of the article here.
Hans Skariah, B.Sc., DMD
Promenade Court Dental Health Group
2233 Hurontario St., Mississauga, ON, Canada (in the Dome Building)