August 1st 2006
Cases of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) have been reported with an increasing frequency over the past few years. ONJ is most often identified in patients with cancer who are receiving intravenous bisphosphonate therapy but it has also been diagnosed in patients receiving oral bisphosphonates for nonmalignant conditions. The condition involves exposed bone of the maxilla or mandible. Although it is often associated with a recent dental surgical procedure, spontaneous ONJ can also occur. Patients commonly present with symptoms. Through case reporting and clinical experience, there is a suggestion that the incidence of ONJ in patients with cancer receiving intravenous bisphosphonates ranges between 1% and 10%. Management of ONJ focuses on maximizing oral health, conservative actions with mouth rinses, antibiotics, and avoidance of unnecessary invasive dental procedures. The currently available data on ONJ are reviewed here.