Despite bone cancers like osteoporosis being treated with medication for years there is still a cause for concern. Dentist’s like myself understand this so we are very cautious about how we handle patients taking such medication. Below I explain the reasons why osteoporosis medication is a cause for concern in our field and why you should make sure your dentist knows what medication you’re on right away.
What are osteoporosis medications?
Osteoporosis is typically treated with drugs known as bisphosphonates. Bisphosphonate medications work by evening out the balance between your osteoclasts and osteoblasts.
Osteoclasts break down decaying bone while osteoblasts work in tandem to rebuild new bone. This destruction and rebuilding process is hindered in patients afflicted with osteoporosis.
Typically this medication eases the pain and suffering caused by osteoporosis, but can only be prescribed to help alleviate symptoms. Using this type of medication to try and restore the osteoclast and osteoblast balance seen in healthy individuals is not possible. Bisphosphonates are also used to help maintain how dense your bones are and reduce the chance for bone fractures. If that’s not all, osteoporosis also leads to high calcium levels in the blood which bisphosphonates help circumvent.
So why should my dentist be concerned?
Bisphosphonates sometimes have a side-effect, albeit rare, known as bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis. This type of osteonecrosis is located in the jaw, also known as jaw osteonecrosis, which results from dental implants. Alcohol abuse, drugs, and smoking are usually contributing factors as well in the development of bisphosphonate osteonecrosis.
People diagnosed with this side effect usually experience an increase in pain and suffering. As such, dentists have opted to look towards other treatment options to help such patients. Root canal therapy is often used as an alternative that has been seen to help patients.
If you are concerned about your osteoporosis medication and dental treatments schedule an appointment with Dr. Aerni to the best options available to you.