The reason why Dr. Lechner is concerned about osteoporosis medication.
Since the early 1970’s, medication has been used to slow down the breakdown of bone diseases such as osteoporosis and metastatic bone cancer. These treatments are in a category called bisphosphonates
which retard the function of osteoclasts cells. There are different names for the drugs in this category, and many of them are taken in the form of a pill.
In a healthy body, osteoclasts absorb old bone to extract calcium from bones when the body needs it. Also, it enhances body growth and removes dying bone. Osteoclasts send out chemical messengers to other cells called osteoblasts, which hastens the process of bone formation. In a healthy body, this process is precisely turned and allows healing throughout life called remodeling.
The osteoclasts break down bone faster than the osteoblasts can rebuild new bone. The objective of bisphosphonate treatment is to reset the balance between osteoclasts and osteoblasts. They function fairly to reduce pain and suffering that can come from catastrophic fractures of the spine, wrist, and hip. This is related to osteoporosis and minimizes the danger of high levels of calcium in the blood which can develop in people who have metastatic bone cancer. Therapeutic dosages of treatments can be prescribed, but there is no way to prescribe bisphosphonate drugs due to the harmony of bone remodeling that exists in the healthy individual.
Bisphosphonate medications can have a rare but severe side effect called bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis. It is related to the jaw osteonecrosis;
this takes place after dental implant placement. Alcohol abuse, malnutrition, periodontal disease, and smoking is one of the major contributing factors.
This rare side effect can reduce the quality of life of people suffering from it. Also, dentists are concerned about extracting teeth in individuals that use bisphosphonate treatment. This has drastically affected the way dentists prescribe medications for these set of people. For example, sealing the root stumps and performing root canal therapy
at the gum line is a good medication over-extraction in these patients. Just like other medications, it is wise to discuss with your physician and Dr. Lechner.