The Daily Mail, has broken with tradition and allowed a sensible piece of health reporting slip through the net. The article in Friday 2nd January “Jaw disease alert for women taking osteoporosis pills” does actually address an important issue.
Medications known as bisphosphonates have long been known to have a link with a potentially very serious condition called osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), although the risk is considered to be highest for patients taking the medication intra-venously and for patients undergoing treatment for cancer (especially chemotherapy). This article highlights the smaller but still significant risk for patients taking Fosamax and presumably other bisphosphonate oral medications.The article quoted in the paper can be seen in the Journal of American dental Association (JADA) and states that the overall number of cases is low (between 600-700 cases reported by the end of2006) with most related to IV administration. That said there is growing concern about oral administration and the advice seems to be clear that patients about to begin treatment in any form should seek a thorough dental examination first, with a view to completing elective treatment before the drug is administered. This is particularly relevant to patients with gum disease and possible dental infections as extractions appear to be a trigger for ONJ in bisphosphonate takers. StoneRock Dental Care is leading the way in preventive protocols for at risk patients using new “minimum Intervention” principles based around remineralisation of weakened enamel and dentine and home care techniques to ensure that everything possible is done to prevent the need for treatment in at risk patients.
If you are taking such medication or are about to and would like to discuss the implications with one of our dentists then please do not hesitate to contact the dental surgery on 01580 752202 and we will be happy to arrange an appointment.