Medical History Mysteries: Osteoporosis and Dental Treatment—Bisphosphonates

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welcome to Mysteries of medical historywhere we dissect the medical history of our patients and find the best way to treat them from the dental chair.

Last week, we talked about patients with osteopenia and osteoporosis, and what their medical history might look like.

In this episode, we will look at patients who have advanced forms of osteoporosis and are taking bisphosphonates. What do we need to know about bisphosphonate treatment in dentistry, what are the dental considerations, and how can dental professionals help alleviate some of the issues?

Bisphosphonates are the original drugs to treat bone cancer. They reduced bone turnover and were anti-angiogenic. The problem is that certain bones in the body need to be renewed (especially the mandible, maxilla and femurs) and they are highly dependent on the blood supply. Bisphosphonates cause constant microdamage to accumulate in the internal architecture of the jaw and femur bones, and eventually these microfractures cause the bones to collapse. Sometimes osteonecrosis occurs, which makes infections more likely. But dental professionals can have a positive influence on the health of these patients.

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Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Through the magnifying glasses newsletter, a publication of Endeavor Business Media Dental Group. Read more articles and to subscribe to Through the magnifying glasses.

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