Osteonecrosis of the jaw onset times are based on the route of bisphosphonate therapy

Kenneth E. Fleisher, Anu Jolly, Uma Deepthi Chippada Venkata, Robert G. Norman, Deepak Saxena, Robert S. Glickman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) has been reported to be associated with patients receiving bisphosphonate (BP) therapy. There are many reports that suggest that the time of exposure to BPs is a significant risk factor for ONJ and that the greatest risk occurs after dentoalveolar surgery. The aim of this study was to retrospectively investigate the duration of BP therapy and related events before the onset of ONJ based on an intravenous (IV) or oral route of administration. Materials and Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients referred to our institution to identify the onset of ONJ based on the exposure to BP therapy and associated triggers (ie, dentoalveolar surgery or spontaneous occurrence) based on the route of BP administration. Demographic data (ie, age, gender, and race), medical diagnosis related to BP therapy, and information as to whether the BP therapy was continued at the time of ONJ diagnosis were also collected. Results: We reviewed the records for 114 patients with a history of ONJ. We divided patient cohorts by route of BP administration, with 76 patients having a history of IV BP therapy and 38 patients having a history of oral BP therapy. The overall onset of ONJ was earlier in the IV BP group (median, 3 years) compared with the oral BP group (median, 5 years). There was no statistical difference in the duration to occurrence of ONJ associated with dental extraction compared with spontaneous occurrence for both the IV and oral BP groups. Conclusions: The median onset of ONJ for patients undergoing IV BP therapy occurs earlier than the median onset for patients undergoing oral BP therapy, and there was no difference in onset occurring spontaneously and after dental extraction. The significance of these findings suggests that patients who receive IV BP therapy should be closely evaluated after the initiation of BP therapy. The lack of evidence suggesting greater onset after dental extraction may provide clinical support for dentoalveolar surgery that is indicated for patients with a history of BP therapy. Research focusing on the clinical circumstances and physiologic events during early antiresorptive therapy may provide insight as to the critical risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-519
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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