Bone loss is a serious issue for cancer patients and the aging. Bisphosphonates promote an increase in bone growth, as well reduce further bone loss, which is why doctors prescribe this drug therapy to sufferers of osteoporosis. Even though the drugs successfully fight bone loss, patients do experience some side effects. In rare cases, taking bisphosphonates is linked to the onset of a serious dental affliction known as BRONJ. How can BRONJ be prevented? Your Mansfield dentists Dr. Blair Jones and Dr. Seth Harris are here to explain BRONJ.
When a doctor diagnoses bone loss, patients usually take bisphosphonates orally or through an IV. The drug then attaches itself to Osteoclasts, which can dissolve bones. Once attached, the bisphosphonates increase bone growth and stop bone loss.
What is BRONJ?
Bisphosphonate Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw, or BRONJ, occurs when portions of a patient’s jawbone die and remain exposed for over eight weeks. The early symptoms include inflamed gums and tooth loss. Doctors divide BRONJ into three stages based on severity. Stage one occurs with exposed bone, but no inflammation or infection. Stage two begins once infection begins, leading to pain and inflammation. Stage three includes bone fracturing, in addition to pain and inflammation.
How Can I Prevent BRONJ?
Patients developing BRONJ after taking bisphosphonates remains a rare occurrence. Healthy dental habits are the best way to prevent BRONJ. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy through preventive measures, such as brushing and flossing, is very important. Regular checkups allow your dentist to watch for early warning signs of BRONJ. By catching the problem early, the dead portions of the jaw are removed and antibiotics prescribed to stop BRONJ from getting worse. The best defense against BRONJ is good dental hygiene and regular checkups.
Schedule an Appointment with Your Mansfield Dentist Today!
Receiving bisphosphonate drug therapy? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Jones or Dr. Harris. You can reach our Mansfield dentist office at (817) 259-1357. We happily provide restorative dentistry to patients from Mansfield, South Arlington, Kennedale, Southeast Ft. Worth, Alvarado, Midlothian, the 76063 zip code, and surrounding neighborhoods.