Providing Better Smiles to Calgary & nearby areas of Alberta

Menopause becomes part of a woman’s life. Many women worry about osteoporosis and will visit their doctor for treatment options to prevent that from occurring.

There have been many forms of medication in the past that were prescribed for these bone conditions. For the last decade or so, the major drug of choice has been some form of Bisphosphonates drug. Examples include Floramax, Boniva, Actonel, Didronel, and Reclast. Some of these drugs are also used to treat other bone diseases like Paget’s Disease, as well as some forms of cancer. These drugs do wonders for maintaining the bone levels of women in their postmenopausal years.

However, there are always side effects with any drug we take and it is important to know those serious side effects, especially on medication that is taken on a daily basis for long periods of time.

Bisphosphonates are no different. The drugs work by affecting the bone cells, called osteoblasts and osteoclasts, which means they slow or stop the natural process that dissolves bone tissue, resulting in maintained or increased bone density. So why is all this important for your mouth and jaws?

For those who take the Bisphosphonates, there is a risk of what is called osteonecrosis of the jaw.

Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a condition in which the bone is dying. For patients who take the pill form, it is important to understand that based on the information currently available, the risk for developing bone osteonecrosis is low. Preventing osteonecrosis of the jaw is very important to dentists when treating patients during oral surgery, tooth extractions, gum and bone disease, dental implants, and root canals. The best form of treatment is prevention. You are likely at low risk, but it is important for us to know you are on these medications so we can make sure you maintain a good clean bill of dental health. So, when your dentist asks if you are on any new medications, let them know.

If you think you will be on a Bisphosphonates drug in the near future, or if you already are on one, give us a call so we can do a thorough dental examination and treat any conditions you may have early, to avoid any need to worry about osteonecrosis of the bone.