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Bisphosphonate medications are used to prevent the loss of bone density and reduce bone resorption. They are usually prescribed to individuals with osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
Examples of bisphosphonate medications include:
If you are taking bisphosphonate medications - or if you will be starting them in the future - it is important to inform your dentist right away. Taking these types of medications may have an impact on your dental treatment, especially if you plan to have teeth extracted, a deep cleaning (scaling and root planing), or dental implants placed.
If you have yet to start bisphosphonate medications, alerting your dentist ahead of time will allow them to complete the treatment you need before you face the risks associated with taking bisphosphonates.
Bisphosphonates work by mimicking bone resorption inhibitors and destroying osteoclasts. Osteoclasts are cells that are responsible for bone resorption and dissolution.
This has proven to be successful in preventing fractures and increasing bone density, but it poses one considerable risk: bone healing is significantly impaired, and in some cases, prevented altogether.
Bisphosphonate medications also pose a large risk for causing the death of the jaw bone, a condition known as osteonecrosis. This occurs because bisphosphonates tend to accumulate in regions with a high bone turnover rate, such as the jaw. The accumulation of bisphosphonates may limit the bone’s blood supply, which has the potential to lead to osteonecrosis.
It is typically advised to avoid invasive dental treatment such as a tooth extraction while taking bisphosphonate drugs. If possible, it is recommended to salvage the tooth with a root canal and crown rather than having the tooth removed from the mouth.
If the tooth is unable to be restored with root canal treatment and requires extraction, the patient will be encouraged to:
Because Bisphosphonate drugs last in the bone for a considerable amount of time even after stopping the medication, it is typically not recommended for the patient to stop taking their bisphosphonate medication prior to tooth extraction. Instead, the dentist will work with their patient to promote the healthiest oral health possible to encourage healing and prevent osteonecrosis.
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To learn more about our services or to get scheduled for a consultation in our San Jose dental office, give us a call anytime at 408-478-9081.
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