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Oral Health Prev Dent. 2017;15(5):447-451. doi: 10.3290/j.ohpd.a38777.

Preventive Dental Treatment Workload/Costs to Mitigate Antiresorptive Bone Medication-related Osteonecrosis Risk.



To determine the extent of dental disease and associated treatment costs designed to mitigate the risk of medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaws (MRONJ) among older, socially disadvantaged veterans prior to physician's administration of antiresorptive medication for osteoporosis or malignant bone disease.


This prospective study based on over seven years (2008-2015) of data describes the type and volume of disease, treatment, work-load measures, and costs using Veterans Affairs databases.


One hundred fifty-two outpatients (94% male, mean age 69 ± 12 years) were referred by physicians for clinical/radiographic examination and treatment. Sixteen had a healthy dentition and 17 were completely edentulous with satisfactory prostheses. Three edentulous patients required prosthesis adjustment, 116 dentate individuals required restoration of carious teeth (mean 6.3 ± 5.7) and multiple quadrant (mean 3.1 ± 1.0) scaling/subgingival curettage. In the latter group, 75 required extractions (mean 6.0 teeth, range 1-23). Clinician's (dentist and dental assistant) costs for providing care and preventive education over the 7-year timespan came to almost $132,700.


Older veterans requiring initiation of antiresorptive bone medication harbor extensive, untreated dental disease requiring immediate treatment. An appropriate physician-to-dentist referral network and provision of oral care and patient education prior to initiation of medication can potentially moderate the risk of jaw osteonecrosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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