Bone damage from cancer and osteoporosis drug can be predicted by X-rays, study finds

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Not many of us will have heard of bisphosphonates, drugs that have been found to cause a rotting of the jawbones. 
Bisphosphonates are fortunately not in very many drugs – rather, they tend to be in drugs for the treatment of breast cancer and bone cancer and in drugs given to individuals at risk for osteoporosis. 
According to Dr Kishore Shetty, lead author of the March/April General Dentistry report, dentists and oncologists are now using X-ray to monitor patients’ jawbones. So-called “ghost sockets” indicate that permanent damage to the jawbone is possible unless preventative measures are taken. 
Dr Shetty said: “The good news is that even though these ghost sockets may occur, by using radiographic techniques we can see that the soft tissue above these sockets can still heal.
“Because jawbones have rapid cell turnover, they can fail to heal properly in patients taking any of the bisphosphonate drugs. It’s very important for patients to know about complications from dental surgery or extractions. Since these drugs linger in the bone indefinitely, they may upset the cell balance in how the jaws regenerate and remove unhealthy bone.”
If you are taking any bisphosphonates, the Association of General Dentistry advises that you let your dentist know. 
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