Osteoporosis refers to a medical condition characterized by the brittleness of bones due to loss of bone density. The older one gets, the higher their risk of suffering from this condition. Research shows that dental x-rays are effective in identifying people with low bone density, which is one of the signs of osteoporosis. Since the majority of people visit their dentist more often than they see their doctor, your dentist in Sterling Heights, MI may be in the best position to spot the possibility that you could be suffering from osteoporosis. For those who already know that they have this condition, there are many implications for your oral health.
Notify Your Sterling Heights Dentist
If you are taking any medication for osteoporosis, inform our team at Dental One Care. This is vital because some of those drugs that you are taking could affect your dental health.
For example, the medicines that are given to strengthen bones (drugs called antiresorptive agents) have been linked to a rare complication called osteonecrosis of the jaw. This condition causes serious damage to the jaw and the jaw plays an important role in keeping your teeth firm.
Some antiresorptive agents are given to cancer patients to combat the tendency of high amounts of calcium to float in their blood. The more of these medications that you take, the higher your risk of developing dental problems.
How Antiresorptive Agents Affect Dental Treatment
The vast majority of patients who have been diagnosed with osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) are cancer patients that have received repeat doses of antiresorptive agents. Only 10 percent of people develop ONJ while taking low doses of antiresorptive agents as a treatment for osteoporosis, so you can see how important it is for you to inform your Sterling Heights dentist if you have cancer, osteoporosis or any other condition for which you are taking antiresorptive agents.
If your doctor recommends antiresorptive agents as part of your treatment, let your dentist know. Have this discussion with an expert at Dental One Care in Sterling Heights as soon as you can after starting the treatment so that an appropriate plan can be made to maintain your dental health during your treatment.
Keep Visiting Your Dentist
Under normal circumstances, it isn’t necessary to put off undergoing dental treatment while on antiresorptive agents. The odds of getting ONJ are very low. However, leaving a dental condition untreated poses a bigger risk of serious complications. Dental One Care experts recommend that anyone undergoing cancer treatment using antiresorptive agents should postpone undergoing any invasive dental procedure, such as dental implant surgery.
If there is a chance, talk to your dentist in Sterling Heights before you begin taking antiresorptive agents as a treatment for cancer. Your dentist will examine you and treat any dental disease that you have before you commence cancer therapy.
In the same vein, it is advisable that you tell your doctor or oncologist if you recently underwent any dental treatment. They will assess the situation and design an appropriate treatment plan that will give you the best outcomes.
Symptoms of ONJ
There are many signs and symptoms of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). These include the following;
- Infection, swelling or pain in the jaw or gum.
- Recently treated or injured gums that aren’t healing as expected.
- Loose teeth.
- A feeling of heaviness or numbness of the jaw.
- Exposed bone tissue.
When you observe any of those signs or any others, contact us at Dental One Care immediately. One of our experts will examine you and make an appropriate diagnosis or refer you to another specialist to start osteoporosis treatment.
As you can see, osteoporosis is a condition that can have serious implications for your dental health. It is therefore important for you to do everything possible to prevent this condition from developing. Our friend, Dr. Green, a dentist in Parker, CO, states that preventive measures include having a balanced diet (rich in vitamin D and calcium), exercising regularly, quitting smoking and consuming alcohol in moderation.
For more information on how your dental health can be safeguarded if you have osteoporosis, contact Dental One Care in Sterling Heights. We shall partner with you on your journey to maintain peak dental health.