Definition Swollen gums are abnormally enlarged, bulging, or protruding. Alternative Names Swollen gums; Gingival swelling Considerations Gum swelling is quite common and may involve one or many of the triangular-shaped bits of gum between nearby teeth. These sections are called papillae. Occasionally, the gums swell significantly, blocking the teeth completely. Common Causes Gingivitis Infection by a virus or fungus Malnutrition Poorly fitting dentures Pregnancy Sensitivity to toothpaste or mouthwash Scurvy Side effect of a drug such as Dilantin or phenobarbital
Reader Question: What is Bisphosphonate-Associated Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ)? How common is ONJ, and what are its risk factors?
Not a day goes by when these questions do not come up. It appears that a significant amount of lawyers’ advertisements as well as newspaper and magazine articles have raised public opinion and thought on the matter. Recent news coverage focuses on new lawsuits against Merck, the maker of Fosamax (alendronate sodium) , for causing deterioration of the mouth and exposure of the jaw bone. Here is a summary of the information I have been telling my patients as well as what has been released by the American College of Rheumatology.
Intravenous Bisphosphonate There are 368 cases of bisphosphonate-associated ONJ published between 1966 and January 31, 2006. Sixty percent of cases occurred after oral surgery for dental extraction or other dentoalveolar surgery, whereas the remainder occurred spontaneously, some in patients wearing dentures. Most ...
Recently, many patients have come to me, concerned regarding the risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw secondary to Fosamax. As many rheumatoid arthritis patients suffer also from osteoporosis, it is reasonable to discuss this issue which has been appearing in newspapers across the country.
Osteonecrosis refers to bone death; the bone involved cannot repair itself because it lacks the normal blood supply. There have been hundreds of cases reported of osteonecrosis of the jaw in patients taking bisphosphonate drugs, of which Fosamax is one. While many of the cases occurred in cancer patients on intravenous bisphosphonates, there have been reports of osteonecrosis in women who have had teeth pulled and are also taking Fosamax.
Osteonecrosis of the jaw can lead to infection and destruction of the jawbone, leading in turn to disfigurement of the face. It is for this reason that patients on drugs such as Fosamax need to have aggressive preventive dental care, and should be warned of the ...
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