Diagnosed With Osteoporosis? Here's What That Might Mean For Your Dental Health

If your doctor has diagnosed you with osteoporosis, you are probably aware of how the condition increases your risk of fractures. Did you know, though, that osteoporosis also affects your dental health? This is why you should always let your dentist know when you are diagnosed with this condition – and be aware of the following ways in which osteoporosis may impact your oral health and dental care.

You have an increased risk of tooth loss.

Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones, which most often effects the bones in the hips, spine, and wrists. However, it can also affect the jaw bones. Your teeth are anchored into your jaw bone, so if this bone weakens, you are at risk for losing your teeth. This risk increases if you also suffer from gum disease, which can weaken the ligaments that anchor your teeth into your jaw bone. Thus, it is vitally important to brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly to prevent gum disease if you have osteoporosis.

If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis by your regular physician, your dentist will want to regularly x-ray your jaw to watch for signs of deterioration.

Loss of jaw bone may mean you're not a candidate for implants.

If you lose a tooth as an osteoporosis patient, you may not be able to have it replaced with an implant. This is because implants must be anchored into the jaw bone, and as someone with osteoporosis, your jaw bone is not likely to be sturdy enough to support the implant. Your dentist will likely recommend a bridge or a denture as a solution for missing teeth.

Your medications may cause dental side effects.

Most patients with osteoporosis are prescribed antiresorptive drugs such as biophosphonates or denosumab. These drugs help stop the progression of the disease by preventing the body from resorbing the bone. Though side effects are rare, one potential side effect is osteonecrosis of the jaw. This is a condition in which portions of the jaw bone essentially die and begin to decay. Typically, this happens after a tooth is pulled or is lost.

If you are taking antiresorptive drugs for osteoporosis, it is vitally important to tell your dentist this information. That way, if you do lose a tooth or have one pulled, he or she can be on the lookout for osteonecrosis of the jaw. Symptoms of this problem include numbness or heaviness in the jaw and gums   that are not healing properly.

Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones throughout the body, including those in the jaw. Be sure to speak with your dentist and keep your regularly scheduled dental appointments if you have this condition. Contact a dentist, such as Maddalena Louis D.M.D., if you have more questions about implant dentistry.