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Your physician may recommend that you take Fosamax or another oral bisphosphonate to treat your osteoporosis. However, before you begin treatment you should be aware of the warnings set out by the American Dental Association.
What is Osteonecrosis?
Osteonecrosis occurs when there is a loss of blood supply to the bone. It can occur in any bone but bisphosphonate drugs have been linked to osteonecrosis of the jaw bone. This condition leads to a dead jaw and that presents many dental and medical problems for the patient. The condition is very painful and very difficult to treat. However, the best chance for treatment comes when the disease is diagnosed early. The condition is diagnosed through use of MRI and CT scans. Often, by the time that it is diagnosed, painful and expensive multiple surgeries are the only treatment available and those surgeries are not always effective. Some experts recommend that patients taking Fosamax avoid tooth extractions and other major dental treatments while taking the drug in order to help prevent the progression of this condition.
The American Dental Association Warning
The American Dental Association warns that bisphosphonate medications may cause osteonecrosis or dead jawbone disease. The American Dental Association recommends that a patient tell his or her dentist if the patient is currently taking oral bisphosphonates or has taken oral bisphosphonates in the past year. The dentist should then screen for osteonecrosis and jawbone loss. The dentist should also inform the patient about symptoms of osteonecrosis so that the condition can be detected as early as possible if it develops.
What Are The Symptoms of Osteonecrosis?
The American Dental Association describes the following symptoms as possible indicators of osteonecrosis that should alert a patient to a potential problem:
- pain, swelling, or infection of the gums or jaw
- gums that are not healing
- loose teeth
- numbness or a feeling of heaviness in the jaw
- exposed bone
Patients who exhibit one or more of the symptoms described above should immediately contact their dentist to determine the cause and a treatment plan. They should also contact their physicians and discuss whether their current osteoporosis medication should be continued or whether another treatment is available that would be as effective as and safer than the current treatment.
What To Do If You Take Fosamax
It is important that you do not wait for symptoms to develop to talk with your physician and your dentist about whether Fosamax is the right treatment for you. Your dentist may be able to tell you if you are at risk of developing osteonecrosis and your physician may be able to provide with options that will decrease your risk of developing this painful and hard to treat condition.
Also, if you have developed osteonecrosis and you are taking oral bisphosphonate medication then you might be entitled to join a dead jaw class action suit or to file an individual Fosamax lawsuit in order to recover damages for your pain, suffering and dental bills.