Oral Medicine & Pathology Center

Osteonecrosis of the Jaw

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Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) can cause serious complications. However, learning about prevention and early treatment can make a difference. Treating osteonecrosis is among the many superior services Parish Sedghizadeh, DDS, MS, offers. Schedule a visit at Oral Medicine & Pathology Center in West Hollywood, California, for an oral health evaluation. Call or request an appointment online today.

What is osteonecrosis?

Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) is a condition that involves the loss or destruction of your jawbone. The condition is rare but serious. 

ONJ stops the blood supply to your jawbone, causing very small breaks that ultimately lead to the total collapse of your jaw. The damage can also result in tooth loss.

What are the symptoms of osteonecrosis?

If you suffer from ONJ, you might experience:

  • Loose teeth
  • Loss of teeth
  • Pain in your jaw
  • Infection in your gums
  • Swelling in your jaw 
  • Numbness in your jaw
  • Drainage
  • Exposed bone where you’re missing gum tissue

Symptoms don’t always show up right away. Sometimes, you might not experience any issues for the first few weeks or even months. However, when you keep your routine oral health checkups, problems can be caught early on, getting you into treatment right away.

What causes osteonecrosis?

You can develop ONJ for various reasons, including:

  • Radiation to the head or neck
  • Chemotherapy
  • Steroids
  • Infection
  • Blood disorders
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Tobacco use
  • Gum disease
  • Clotting issues
  • Osteoporosis 
  • Cancer

Another cause might be from a tooth extraction that doesn’t heal properly, resulting in trauma to your jaw, leading to ONJ.

How is osteonecrosis treated?

Though there is no cure for ONJ, Dr. Sedghizadeh offers advanced, conservative treatments that can help manage it. Treatments might include antibiotics, medicated mouth rinses, and limited debridement.

It’s possible that your condition may require dental work, but this is not the initial form of treatment.

How can osteonecrosis be prevented?

You can lower your risk of developing osteonecrosis by practicing good oral hygiene. Dr. Sedghizadeh advises you to brush your teeth with a soft-bristled brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. You should also keep your routine-scheduled professional teeth cleaning appointments.

Also, if you have a problemed tooth that can be saved, it’s best to have endodontic treatment rather than choosing to have a dental extraction. This can reduce your exposure to developing ONJ.

To schedule an evaluation of your oral health, or if you have reason to believe you’re suffering from osteonecrosis, book an appointment by calling the office or using the online tool today.