It is somewhat ironic that just as you decide you want to whiten and straighten your smile, you find that you might not be able to because of the medications you are taking. Medications to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis can negatively affect your decision to get adult braces. Known to your dentist as osteonecrosis of the jaw, or ONJ, this disease is caused by medications meant to prevent bone loss. Here is how your dentist can tell if you have the condition and how it affects your desire for adult braces.
Lesions in Gum Tissue or Exposed Bone
The most obvious sign that you definitely have ONJ is open lesions in your gum tissue that allow your dentist to see the bones of of your jaws. Jaw bone that is completely exposed and visible can also be an indicator of the disease. The biggest problem this stage of the disease presents is that the bone will be very brittle and have no healthy vascular circulation, both of which are vital if your teeth are so extremely crowded that you would have to have teeth removed before you could even get braces.
Broken Jaw or Breaks in the Jaw Bones
Whether the breaks in your jaw bones are visible to the naked eye or they are only visible on an x-ray, you cannot have any major dental work (like tooth extractions or root canals) completed before your braces are applied. Ironically, the link between bisphosphate medications (medications that build up bone mineral content) also seem to destroy the strength, life and health of your jaws and teeth. Your dentist cannot help your crowded teeth spread out and even out nor can he or she pull them to make room because the processes will fracture your jaw even more.
What You Can Do If You Have ONJ
Unless you get clearance from your doctor to stop taking your medications that prevent bone loss, adult braces are not an option for you. Even if you stop taking your medications so you can get the oral work and orthodontia done, you are taking great risks that the rest of your body could suffer multiple fractures from bone loss and lack of medications to treat your bone loss concerns. The younger you are and the newer you are to bone loss prevention treatments and pills, the more likely it is that you will still be able to get braces. But if you have been on such treatments for a few years or more, braces that involve tooth extractions in order to make room for the rest of your teeth are just not a valid option.
For more information, contact HG Orthodontics or a similar location.