Medication-Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw

Also know as MRONJ, this disease is an adverse bone reaction , particularly in the upper and lower jaws, consisting of progressive bone destruction. Patients are usually under current or previous treatment with medications with antiresorptive and/or antiangiogenic medications. Antiresorptive medications manage cancer-related conditions, osteoporosis, and osteopenia. Antiangiogenic medications interfere with the formation of new blood vessels, mitigating the effects of certain tumors.

Since 2003, the effects of MRONJ have been recognized and has been associated with the following:

  • Current or previous treatment with antiresorptive or antiangiogenic medications
  • Bone exposure or communication (intraoral or extraoral) in the jaws that persist for a time period greater than 8 weeks
  • No obvious metastatic disease or radiation treatment to the jaws

It is important to realize that MRONJ may also be confused with other clinical conditions. The oral and maxillofacial surgeon is uniquely qualified to clinical assess and treat such conditions.