Osteonecrosis

Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), also known as Avascular Necrosis or Asceptic Necrosis is a condition in which the jaw bones become dead and become exposed to the insides of the mouth. It is a rare condition that may affect both the upper and lower jaw bones. It causes disruption of blood supply to the jawbone which may cause the bone to break and poke through the gums.

Symptoms

You may not show any symptoms for weeks even though you may have ONJ. It only becomes evident when the bone starts showing off the gum tissue.

    • Swelling, pain and infection of gums

    • Loose tooth

    • Heaviness or numbness in jaw

    • Drainage of gum pus

    • Gums that do not heal

    • Exposed bone poking through gums resembling broken teeth

Causes:

ONJ is usually seen after a radiation therapy to head or neck or after taking biphosphonate medications. A tooth extraction which is left uncovered or trauma to the jaw that has not healed may sometimes cause ONJ. Other possible causes include

    • Infection

    • Steroid treatment

    • Blood related disorders or anaemia

    • Poor oral health

    • Chemotherapy

    • Gum disease or tooth decay or tooth extractions

Treatments

ONJ is a condition that cannot be completely cured. It can only be controlled. At Dr. Mukul Dhabolkar’s Dental Clinic our dentists have been successful in controlling the condition using medications, mouth rinses and removable mouth appliances. In rare cases, surgery may be suggested. Minor dental work may also be necessary in some cases to remove the sharp edges of protruding bone.

Practising good oral hygiene coupled with regular visits to the dentists goes a long way in lowering your risk of ONJ. In case you plan to go for biphosphonates treatments inform your dentist who can take appropriate measures to keep the situation under control. For more details fix an appointment with our dentists today.