How do I prevent osteonecrosis of the jaw?

Osteonecrosis (osteo means "bone" and necrosis means "death of") of the jaw can happen in certain “at risk”people who have dental procedures such as extractions or implants. You are more at risk  if you are taking a class of drugs called the bisphosphonates, especially the intravenous formulation. There are some things you can do to prevent this from happening:
  • Consult your dentist about how to maintain good oral hygiene. This can reduce your risk of infection and osteonecrosis.
  • Make sure your dentist properly adjusts your removable dentures. This can help reduce the risk of harm to the soft tissues in your mouth.
  • Have your teeth cleaned professionally at regular intervals.
  • Make sure your dentist knows about any pain or signs of infection you may have.
  • Discuss with your dentist any alternatives to implants or extractions,
It’s not possible to say who will develop osteonecrosis of the jaw (also called ONJ) and who will not. In some patients who have been treated with certain osteoporosis medications called bone-modifying agents, ONJ has been reported.
ONJ is a rare, but serious condition that can cause severe damage to the jawbone. Most people (94 percent) diagnosed with ONJ are patients with cancer who are receiving or have received repeated high doses of certain osteoporosis medications through an intravenous infusion. If you are taking one of these medications for treatment of osteoporosis, your chance of developing ONJ is unknown. However, researchers agree that the chance appears to be very small.

Tell your dentist if you are taking one of these drugs. Your dentist will show you good oral hygiene practices, as well as monitor your oral health while you are being treated.

Continue Learning about Osteonecrosis

What are the symptoms of osteonecrosis?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
There may be no symptoms in the early stages of osteonecrosis. Over a period of months, as bones beg...
More Answers
What should I know about caring for someone with osteonecrosis?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
If you are caring for someone with osteonecrosis, you will need to be aware of their symptoms. You w...
More Answers
What is osteonecrosis (avascular necrosis)?
Francisco J. Borja, MDFrancisco J. Borja, MD
Avascular necrosis, also known as osteonecrosis, is a painful condition that occurs when the blood s...
More Answers
What causes osteonecrosis (avascular necrosis)?
Karen L. Gorton, PhD, MS, RNKaren L. Gorton, PhD, MS, RN
Avascular necrosis (or osteonecrosis) is defined as a lack of blood flow which causes tissue death. ...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.