If you have never heard of Osteonecrosis, you are about to get your lesson. Essentially Osteonecrosis is bone death, in this case of the jaw bone, caused by a lack of blood flow. Osteonecrosis is most often linked to exposure to chemicals, which early on were things like lead and mercury, but recently certain medications have caused a spike in cases. Cases can be treated in a variety of ways: from a simple diet and exercise plan, all the way to the removal of parts of the jaw bone itself.
Osteonecrosis of the jaw [ONJ] has been linked as a side effect of bisphosphonate therapy. According to Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard School of Dental Medicine: “Patients with multiple myeloma and metastatic carcinoma to the skeleton who are receiving intravenous, nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates are at greatest risk for osteonecrosis of the jaws; these patients represent 94% of published cases.” The frightening link is that biophosphates are also used to treat osteoporosis, and thusly open another avenue of patients that are at risk for ONJ. The Department of Internal Medicine, University of Manitoba published the following:
ONJ [osteonecrosis of the jaw] is an important adverse outcome associated with bisphosphonate therapy, and physicians prescribing pamidronate or zoledronate must be aware of the association between these drugs and this serious clinical entity. Failure to recognize the signs of ONJ can lead to unnecessary surgical procedures, which ultimately exacerbate the condition and impact quality of life.
If you feel that you may be at risk for ONJ, consider contacting a medical professional for more information.