Osteonecrosis of the jaw and its implications for osteoporosis therapies

Kirtan Ganda, Markus J Seibel



Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) is a rare adverse event related to the use of antiresorptive therapies in patients with osteoporosis. However, the benefits of treatment outweigh the risk of developing ONJ.

Key Points

  • The frequency of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) is one in 10,000 to 100,000 patients treated with antiresorptive therapy for osteoporosis.
  • Risk factors for ONJ include the duration and dose of antiresorptive therapy, poor dental hygiene, corticosteroid use and invasive dental procedures.
  • The benefit of preventing an osteoporotic fracture often far outweighs the small risk of ONJ.
  • In the setting of osteoporosis, most cases of ONJ are mild and represent delayed mucosal repair for which no specific treatment is required.

    Picture credit: © SPL/Lawrence Lawry.