A Word of Caution for Bone Disease Patients in Richmond

Nov 30th, 2012 | By | Category: General Dentistry, Patient Education

Bone DiseaseMilk does a body good because it contains calcium that your bones need to grow and remain strong (among other essential minerals and nutrients). As we grow older, however, we can begin to lose bone faster than our bodies can make it. Disease and infection, such as bone cancer and osteoporosis, can also affect your bones, making them too weak to support the weight they were meant to and causing them to fracture or break much easier than they should. There is hope for patients suffering bone disease in the form of bisphosphonates—a class of drugs that prevent bone loss and the progression of some malignant bone diseases. However, care must be taken when anticipating bisphosphonate treatment. Richmond dentist Dr. Stefan Moiceanu explains why you should secure your oral health before undergoing treatment for bone loss.

What are Bisphosphonates?

Our bones contain living tissue cells that allow them to regenerate and continuously grow throughout our lives. To maintain your body’s equilibrium, there are also bone cells called osteoclasts that actively dissolve old bone tissue to make room for the new bone. In the case of malignant bone disease, your bones dissolve faster than they regenerate, leaving them weak, brittle, and extremely vulnerable. Bisphosphonates help prevent the loss of bone mass by bonding to your bone’s surface and interrupting osteoclasts. The drugs incorporate themselves into these cells to disrupt their function and stop them from dissolving your bone, allowing bone production to continue while decreasing the rate of loss.

BRONJ—A Devastating Side Effect

While bisphosphonates are excellent allies in the fight against bone loss, there have been reports of a side effect known as Bisphosphonate Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (BRONJ). Characterized by a section of jawbone that has died and been exposed for more than eight weeks, BRONJ is considered a side effect of bisphosphonate use, though its exact cause remains unknown. The frequency and duration of bisphosphonate use is a major risk factor for BRONJ; however, 60% of BRONJ cases consist of patients undergoing dental procedures (such as tooth extraction, periodontal surgery, dental implant placement, etc.) while taking the drugs. If you have any form of bone disease and are planning on starting bisphosphonate therapy, visit your Richmond dentist for a comprehensive exam and take care of any procedures you may need before your treatment starts. To learn more, or to schedule your dental consultation, contact our Richmond, CA dentist office by calling 510-758-7222. Located in Richmond, we proudly serve families from Berkeley, San Pablo, Pinole, Benicia, Vallejo, and the surrounding communities.

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