Articles of Interest

View/Print this information as a PDF document.

Dead Jaw: Link Between Fosamax and Dental Services

An Overview of the Secondary Complications Associated with Osteoporosis Treatment

By Christine Cadena

Takeaways

  • Dead Jaw is a term used to describe the secondary condition involving the mandible, or jaw bone
  • Through research, it is believed, however, that the onset of Dead Jaws is a secondary condition to facial injury or dental procedures and may be attributed to the side effects associated with the use of a commonly prescribed osteoporosis medication, Fosama
  • To prevent the development of Dead Jaw, patients undergoing oral surgery or in need of dental services must be certain to advice their physician with regard to any prescription medications recently taken

For individuals suffering from osteoporosis and other debilitating bone disorders, seeking pain relief and improved health care is crucial to preventing falls and life threatening injuries later in life. For many osteoporosis patients, however, the use of prescription medications may be creating a greater life threatening oral health condition known as Dead Jaw. Understanding the origin, symptoms and treatment of Dead Jaw will provide osteoporosis sufferers with a more comprehensive understanding of the dangers associated with prescription medication treatment.

Dead Jaw is a term used to describe the secondary condition involving the mandible, or jaw bone. A secondary condition in which the jaw fails to heal properly following injury or an oral surgery procedure. When suffering from Dead Jaw, the osteoporosis patient will most often suffer from symptoms such as pain in the jaw, misalignment of teeth resulting in poor chewing capability and a noticeable change in facial appearance due to the deteriorated bone around the jaw area. Orally, the osteoporosis patient, when suffering from Dead Jaw following an injury or dental procedure, will complain of increased pain, inflammation, infection and bleeding of the gums. Most often, the osteoporosis patient will link the pain associated with Dead Jaw as a direct complication of dental or oral surgery services.

Through research, it is believed, however, that the onset of Dead Jaw is a secondary condition to facial injury or dental procedures and may be attributed to the side effects associated with the use of a commonly prescribed osteoporosis medication, Fosamax. Additionally, Dead Jaw has also been linked with an even greater number of patients exhibit these same symptoms following unrelated use of IV administered Zometa or Aredia.

Because Dead Jaw is linked to deterioration in the blood supply to the bone structure, the bone is no longer capable of maintaining integrity. Treating Dead Jaw, therefore, requires careful observation by an orthopedic surgeon as well as an oral surgeon to address the life care plan of the patient. Most often, patients will undergo surgery of the jaw and may require plates or other devices to rebuild the jaw bone. Some Dead Jaw sufferers will use blood pressure medications in an effort to reduce blood pressure, therefore, improving blood circulation to the affected bone.

To prevent the development of Dead Jaw, patients undergoing oral surgery or in need of dental services must be certain to advise their physician with regard to any prescription medications recently taken. Additionally, for patients treating for osteoporosis, careful consideration should be given before using such medications as Fosamax as the lifelong implications may lead to significant secondary health conditions such as Dead Jaw.

More Resources