Bone density issues have become a real concern for people as they age. The reason for this is not entirely understood. Genetics, nutrition, and the fact that we live such long lives in modern times all have something to with whether or not you might maintain ample density of bone structure. No matter how many calcium supplements you take, bone loss is a reality for many people as the years march on. For women with severe osteoporosis, doctors sometimes prescribe a category of drugs called bisphosphonates. While these medications are an amazing solution for bone loss issues, there can be serious dental health side effects on rare occasions. Katy dentist, Dr. Colin Lathrop has rarely seen cases of Bisphosphonate Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (BRONJ) but it is certainly worth familiarizing yourself with.
Bone cells are also known as osteoclasts. Bisphosphonates cling to the surface bones and bind with osteoclasts. This stops the process of bone deterioration in osteoporosis. With bisphosphonates, bone density improves and alleviates the high risks for bone fractures which are often seen in older people. Benefits of this class of drugs are still released over years in your body, even if you have stopped taking them. This sounds great, as many osteoporosis (as well as some cancer patients) can free their mind of concerns and fear over sudden fractures as a result of weakened bones.
What is BRONJ?
Bisphosphonate Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (BRONJ) is a very unpleasant side effect of bisphosphonates which causes part of the jawbone to die. Symptoms include localized pain, swelling of the gingival tissues, loosened teeth, and most shockingly, exposed bone. The good news is that BRONJ is not very common, but if you experience a cluster of any of those symptoms and you have been taking bisphosphonates, immediate medical intervention is essential. By visiting Dr. Lathrop prior to starting any drug therapy with dental related side effects, you can ensure that you have a clean bill of dental health. We may want to see you more often than the regular six month checkups to ensure no symptoms of BRONJ are starting to pop up.
Visit your Katy, TX Dentist
Dr. Colin Lathrop is an experienced and widely respected family dentist serving patients in the 77494 area. Patients can contact Dr. Lathrop at 832-437-3849 to schedule an appointment or a consultation.