According to guidelines published in this month’s Journal of the American Dental Association (ADA), patients taking oral bisphosphonates, a type of drug used to treat osteoporosis, osteopenia, and Paget’s disease of bone, should be aware of potential risks when undergoing certain dental procedures.

The ADA believes that dental patients who are taking oral bisphosphonate drugs when undergoing procedures that involve the jaw bone, such as tooth extraction or placing implants, should discuss the risks with their dentist and should consider alternative dental therapies.

The ADA recommends that a comprehensive oral evaluation be carried out on all patients about to begin therapy with oral bisphosphonates (or as soon as possible after beginning therapy), and that patients on these drugs be educated about maintaining oral hygiene, which is the best way to prevent oral diseases that may require dental surgery.

The ADA notes that dentists, generally, will not need to modify dental treatments based solely on oral bisphosphonate therapy.

[EurekAlert, August 5, 2006]