Purpose: In recent years, numerous cases of bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaw have been reported involving both intravenous and oral therapy regimens. The majority of these cases have involved intravenous bisphosphonates. Subsequently, drug manufacturers and the US Food and Drug Administration issued warnings about possible bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaw. The American Dental Association and the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons assembled expert panels to formulate treatment guidelines. Both panels differentiated between patients receiving bisphosphonates intravenously and those receiving the drugs orally. However, the recommendations were based on limited data, especially with regard to patients taking oral bisphosphonates. We wanted to ascertain the extent to which bisphosphonate-associated necrosis of the jaw has occurred in our dental implant patients. We also wanted to determine whether there was any indication that the bisphosphonate therapy affected the overall success of the implants as defined by Albrektsson and Zarb. Patients and Methods: We identified 1,319 female patients over the age of 40 who had received dental implants at Montefiore Medical Center between January 1998 and December 2006. A survey about bisphosphonate therapy was mailed to all 1,319 patients. Responses were received from 458 patients of whom 115 reported that they had taken oral bisphosphonates. None had received intravenous bisphosphonates. All 115 patients were contacted and informed about the risk of bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaw. Seventy-two patients returned to the clinic for follow-up clinical and radiological evaluation. Results: A total of 468 implants were placed in the 115 patients who reported that they had received oral bisphosphonate therapy. There is no evidence of bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaw in any of the patients evaluated in the clinic and those contacted by phone or e-mail reported no symptoms. Of the 468 implants, all but 2 integrated fully and meet criteria for establishing implant success. Implant success rates were comparable for patients receiving oral bisphosphonate therapy and those not receiving oral bisphosphonate therapy. Conclusions: Guidelines for treatment of dental patients receiving intravenous bisphosphonate treatments should be different than for patients taking the oral formulations of these medications. In this study, oral bisphosphonate therapy did not appear to significantly affect implant success. Implant surgery on patients receiving bisphosphonate therapy did not result in bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaw. Nevertheless, sufficient evidence exists to suggest that all patients undergoing implant placement should be questioned about bisphosphonate therapy including the drug taken, the dosage, and length of treatment prior to surgery. For patients having a history of oral bisphosphonate treatment exceeding 3 years and those having concomitant treatment with prednisone, additional testing and alternate treatment options should be considered.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Oral Surgery