What Is Osteonecrosis?
Osteonecrosis is a serious but relatively rare condition where bone cells in the jaw die due to a lack of blood supply. The bone then becomes exposed by an opening in the gums.
Symptoms of Osteonecrosis
Osteonecrosis of the jaw has complex and varied symptoms, but these are some of the most common:
- Oral pain and swelling
- Loosening of teeth
- Exposed bone appearing in the mouth
- Failure of the socket to heal after tooth extraction
- Poorly healing or infected gums
Causes of Osteonecrosis
One of the primary causes of osteonecrosis is tooth removal in patients taking antiresorptive calcium drugs. These drugs treat bone metastasis in certain types of cancer (primarily bone and prostate cancer) and osteoporosis.
This condition often receives conservative treatment with antibiotics, rinses, and oral painkillers. Oral debridement removes dead bone cells with gentle scrubbing. In many patients, the gum will grow under the dead bone in these areas.
If osteonecrosis of the jaw does not respond to conservative treatments, an oral surgeon may need to perform a procedure removing the dead bone, the teeth touching it, and a small area of healthy tissue. The bone will then regrow.
Platelet-rich fibrin treatment can encourage bone healing. This treatment includes growth factors that encourage bone regrowth and forms a protective covering for the exposed bone.
Why Choose Fullerton Oral Surgery?
Our practice combines a warm, friendly atmosphere with technically advanced equipment and treatment options. We have a highly skilled support staff. Our expert oral surgeon gives serious conditions special care.
Frequently Asked Questions About Osteonecrosis
Here are our patients' questions about this condition:
Is osteonecrosis surgery performed in the office?
In most cases, the oral surgeon performs this procedure in a hospital setting. The patient will need IV antibiotics after the procedure to prevent infection.
How many people have osteonecrosis of the jaw?
It is a relatively rare condition. Only 1 to 2 percent of patients who take calcium antiresorptive drugs will develop it, along with a small number of patients who develop the condition for other reasons.
Is osteonecrosis painful?
Yes, it is a painful condition for most patients. Prompt treatment can reduce your discomfort.
Are there any additional risks for osteonecrosis?
Patients taking antiresorptive drugs who undergo dentoalveolar surgery may be at a higher risk. Denture wearers may also have an increased chance of developing osteonecrosis. Smoking and diabetes can also contribute to the condition.
Do patients need follow-up treatment?
Yes, patients with jaw osteonecrosis will need to see the oral surgeon every few months to monitor for signs of recurrence and check on healing progress.
Call Fullerton Oral Surgery
Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a daunting diagnosis, but we can help. If you notice any symptoms, call our office at 714-525-1178 to make an appointment for a consultation.