New treatment for jaw osteonecrosis around dental implants

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jaw osteonecrosis

Dental implants are a key treatment for tooth loss but can cause a variety of complications. One such complication is osteonecrosis, which can result from patients taking medications such as bisphosphonates for bone disease. Current treatments for osteonecrosis are not always effective. 

However, researchers from Yonsei University College of Dentistry in Seoul, South Korea, have reported their successful treatment of a patient using a new regimen—and published their findings in the Journal of Implantology.

The 85-year-old female patient presented with osteoporosis and a dental implant placed a year before that was causing her pain. The researchers’ examination revealed exposed and dead bone, swelling, redness and discharge around the implant site. 

The patient was first provided with a conventional treatment of chlorhexidine rinsing, antibiotics and analgesics, but experienced no improvement after three months. She was then given weekly injections of teriparatide—a hormone that promotes bone formation—for eight weeks and monitored for any side effects. 

During treatment, they tested the initial levels of C-telopeptide (CTx), a compound that is an indicator of bone turnover, and osteocalcin, a protein involved in bone formation.

The clinicians detailed numerous improvements seen throughout the treatment period and six-month follow-up. Notably, the dead bone disappeared, the wounds healed, the CTx level improved from 121 pg/ml to 294 pg/ml, and the osteocalcin level increased from 12.8 ng/ml to 18.5 ng/ml, all of which correspond to an increase in bone formation.

In most cases that have used teriparatide successfully to treat osteonecrosis, it was administered daily. However, the researchers in this case found that weekly administration helped mitigate possible side effects while still providing significant patient improvement without the need for surgery. 

This story was sourced from the Dental Tribune website.

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