Dentists are a part of a patient’s medical care team, and at All Coast Dental in Pacific Beach, we’re proud to say that we conduct oral cancer screenings. Patients battling cancer know they can rely on our services, but to ensure everything goes well for them, patients should be aware of how sharing information with us will help them to avoid osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ).
ONJ is a term used to describe the death of jaw bone tissue. When a tooth is extracted, the jaw bone at the base of the socket is briefly exposed to air before the socket clots over. This is usually only a problem if the patient is on bisphosphonate medications. Bisphosphonates are anti-bone resorption drugs given to people with osteopenia or who are undergoing chemotherapy. Almost all cases of ONJ occurred in cancer patients taking heavy doses of bisphosphonates intravenously.
It is important for patients to fully inform us of all the medications they are on. ONJ can be treated by scraping decayed material and applying anti-biotic rinses, but it is best for people who are anticipating needing dental extractions to coordinate care between their dentists and oncologists.
Drs. Julie and Joseph Boulos operate All Coast Dental at 2180 Garnet Ave, Suite 1-K, Pacific Beach, California, 92109. To schedule an appointment, call 858-270-4904 or visit All Coast Dental and fill out a contact sheet.