Haven’t heard of Bisphophonate-Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (BRONJ), a medication-related jawbone decay? You’re not alone. It was identified just a few years ago, and patients interested in cosmetic dentistry may not know that it can disqualify them for dental implants.
“Older women who are on medication for osteoporosis have a lower chance of success with implants,” says Joliet, IL, cosmetic dentist, Gabriella M. Paolucci, DDS. Used to treat a variety of conditions including osteoporosis and osteopenia, oral bisphosphonate therapy has the opposite effect on the jawbone in some cases.
“It causes jawbone decay and breakdown in a small percentage of the population. Patients who need implants have to go off the medication for a full year before an implant can be placed,” Dr. Paolucci says.
If you’re on medication to treat osteoporosis, or bone density loss, make sure to discuss it with your cosmetic dentist before undergoing a smile makeover that could require dental implants. If you’re at risk, you can request serum testing, which is routinely performed for patients on bisphosphonate therapy. “You can always try and restore what’s been lost,” Dr. Paolucci says. “Taking calcium magnesium citrate, for example, can help restore bone loss.”
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