What is alendronate?

Alendronate is a medication from the bisphosphonate group, which is used to treat bone conditions like osteoporosis. It works by inhibiting bone resorption, helping increase bone density and reduce bone fragility. Alendronate is typically administered orally and can be prescribed in different doses and intervals depending on the patient’s condition.

 

Alendronate and jawbone

One of the primary concerns related to the use of alendronate is the risk of developing osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). ONJ is a rare but serious condition in which there is death of the bone tissue in the jaw or maxilla, typically associated with chronic bone exposure and impaired healing after invasive dental procedures.

 

Scientific Evidence and Important Considerations

Let’s examine the scientific evidence and important considerations to better understand the relationship between the use of alendronate and dental implant surgery:

 

  1. Risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw: Although scientific literature suggests a possible association between the use of bisphosphonates, including alendronate, and the risk of ONJ, it’s important to highlight that this risk is extremely low, especially in patients using the medication orally and at therapeutic doses for osteoporosis treatment.

 

  1. Duration of alendronate treatment: Studies suggest that the duration of alendronate treatment may be related to the risk of ONJ. Patients using alendronate for an extended period, typically exceeding 3 to 5 years, may have a slightly increased risk compared to those using the medication for shorter periods.

 

  1. Preoperative dental evaluation: Before undergoing any dental implant surgery, it’s essential for patients who are using alendronate to undergo a thorough dental evaluation. The dentist can assess the patient’s oral health, discuss the risks and benefits of implant surgery, and make appropriate decisions regarding treatment.

 

  1. Multidisciplinary treatment: In some cases, a multidisciplinary approach involving both the dentist and the prescribing physician of alendronate may be necessary. This collaborative approach can help minimize risks and provide a safe and appropriate treatment plan for the patient.

 

Should I be concerned?

While there is concern about the use of alendronate and the performance of dental implant surgery, it’s important to understand that the risk of developing ONJ is extremely low, especially in patients using the medication orally and at therapeutic doses for osteoporosis treatment. Preoperative dental evaluation and multidisciplinary treatment are crucial to ensuring the safety and success of implant surgery in patients using alendronate.

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