Are you taking bone density drugs for osteoporosis? Your dentist wants to know.

These days, many doctors prescribe bone density drugs (bisphosphonates) as a way to prevent bone mass loss and counter the effects of osteoporosis. If you’re taking them for your own osteoporosis, be careful. And if you’re planning on having any dental work done, make sure to tell your dentist about them – they can affect your health in more ways than you may realize.

FDA concerns

Recently, the FDA released a public safety notice about theadverse effects of long-term bisphosphonate use. In fact, they have found that there is a risk of a rare type of thigh bone (femoral) fracture in people who take these drugs. As a result, although they haven’t ruled against the use of bisphosphonates as a bone density enhancement drug or doubted its efficacy, they do recommend that patients use it selectively and consult with their
dental surgeons before taking it.

Clinical studies have established a relationship between high-dose intravenous bisphosphonates and osteonecrosis (ONJ) of the jaw in cancer patients. Osteonecrosis is bone death caused by poor blood supply to the area. After a while the bone can collapse; if the condition isn’t treated, the joint will deteriorate and can develop into severe arthritis. Other possible adverse side effects associated with osteoporosis medication include ulcers of the esophagus, upper GI irritation, irregular heartbeat, skin rashes, muscle pain and low calcium in the blood.

Talk to your dentist

Unfortunately, many patients don’t inform their dentist what medications they’re on, which can create serious (and completely preventable) health risks during dental surgery. If you’re taking bisphosphonates or are considering them as a treatment option, tell your dentist – ESPECIALLY before any invasive procedures such as tooth extractions or dental surgery.

The more information you share, the easier it is for your dental team to help you maintain your oral – and general – health.

If you have any questions about bone density drugs or about our office and our approach to your overall health, please call us or visit our office. You can get in touch anytime at 905 637-5463 (KIND) or at We’d love to hear from you.






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