Antiresorptive treatment-associated ONJ

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Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) is a severe complication of therapy with antiresorptive agents (e.g. bisphosphonates and denosumab), which are used to manage bone metastases from cancer, to reduce the incidence of skeletal-related events. Available data indicate that 0-27, 5% of patients exposed to antiresorptive agents may develop ONJ, depending on the number of infusions and the duration of therapy. Besides antiresorptive therapy, a number of risk factors for osteonecrosis have been identified. Oral surgical procedures, tooth extractions and infection to the jawbones are considered the main risk factors for developing ONJ, when receiving antiresorptive therapy. However, a growing number of patients develop ONJ without apparent risk factors, raising concern for other predisposing factors. Jaw bone necrosis may be irreversible, resulting in a chronic disease with negative impact on the quality of patients’ lives. The role of risk reduction strategies like meticulous dental screening and optimal oral hygiene is fundamental for preventing development of ONJ. ONJ is usually treated conservatively to relieve the symptoms and manage jaw bone necrosis. In certain cases, surgical intervention is required. Future research should emphasize individual predisposition to ONJ, more effective preventive measures and more efficient therapeutic procedures.

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