, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 31-38
Date: 29 Mar 2008

Osteonecrosis of the jaws and bisphosphonates

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Osteonecrosis of the jaws associated with bisphosphonate therapy was first identified in 2003 as a condition typified by exposed bone that does not heal after 8 weeks. Other signs and symptoms, such as pain and infection, may or may not be present. There is a strong need for consensus on a case definition for this condition. This condition has occurred primarily among cancer patients treated with the aminobisphosphonates zoledronic acid and pamidronate. The etiology of this condition remains unknown; however, oral disease and trauma appear to be important risk factors. This condition appears to be rare in metabolic bone disease and Paget’s disease, with an estimated prevalence of approximately 1 per 100,000 person-years. Thus, the benefits of bisphosphonate therapy appear to outweigh the risks. Recommendations have been established for the oral health management of patients with a history of bisphosphonate therapy.