Osteoporosis And Braces

Certain conditions make it hard or even impossible to receive orthodontic treatment. Conditions that affect your bone are almost always suspect to this sort of problem, as teeth are anchored in bones, and applying pressure to teeth that are anchored in an inflamed, reduced, or otherwise compromised jawbone may cause more damage than it is worth, and some of that damage may be irreversible or constitute a long term problem. One condition that can make it difficult to get braces is osteoporosis, and the drugs prescribed to cure it, biphosphonates, also can make orthodontic treatment impossible.

Osteoporosis and Biphosphonates

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become porous, and thus problems with the teeth are likely to arise. Such bones can break and bend into a pathological state very easily, as they no longer have the flexibility or the sturdiness of healthy bone material. The other problem is that biphosphonates, the drugs that are usually prescribed to treat osteoporosis, cause a condition known as osteonecrosis of the jaw, or ONJ syndrome. ONJ syndrome is a condition in which small portions of the upper and lower jawbone become necrotic and die.


The teeth that are in these portions of the jaw are loose and can fall out, and if pressure is exerted, the pain can be excruciating, not to mention that the jawbone can become damaged. The other problem is that if you are undergoing bisphosphonate treatments for any reason (you can get them as  apart of cancer treatment, and a host of other things besides osteoporosis, after all), and you get an extraction or an implant or any sort of oral surgery, the jawbone may not be able to heal and that may trigger the onset of necrosis. In this way, certain orthodontic treatments are simply off limits. If you were going to use the new anchoring orthodontic dental implants, or if your treatment plan needed some teeth to be pulled, you may have to wait until after your osteoporosis has been cured and you no longer need to take biphosphonates in order to get your plan done.

The Good News

The good news is that not all orthodontic treatments are off limits. If you are looking to get orthodontic treatments that do not involve the use of surgical techniques or of dental implants, than you may very well be likely to be able to receive treatment. However, you must mention to your orthodontist that you are taking biphosphonates. This is very significant information for an orthodontist, for the reasons mentioned above. If your orthodontist knows that you are taking biphosphonates, they may adjust the torque and the angle of the brackets appropriately, and thus not cause your jawbone any problems.  

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