Case-Based Review of Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ) and Application of the International Recommendations for Management From the International Task Force on ONJ

International Task Force on Osteonecrosis of the Jaw

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

57 Scopus citations


Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) has been associated with antiresorptive therapy in both oncology and osteoporosis patients. This debilitating condition is very rare and advances in diagnosis and management may now effectively reduce the risk of its development and offer valuable treatment options for affected patients. This paper provides a case-based review of ONJ and application of the International Task Force on ONJ (referred to as the “Task Force”) recommendations for the diagnosis and management of ONJ. The Task Force was supported by 14 international societies and achieved consensus from representatives of these multidisciplinary societies on key issues pertaining to the diagnosis and management of ONJ. The frequency of ONJ in oncology patients receiving oncology doses of bisphosphonate (BP) or denosumab is estimated at 1%–15%, and the frequency in the osteoporosis patient population receiving much lower doses of BP or denosumab is estimated at 0.001%–0.01%. Although the diagnosis of ONJ is primarily clinical, imaging may be helpful in confirming the diagnosis and staging. In those with multiple risk factors for ONJ for whom major invasive oral surgery is being planned, interruption of BP or denosumab therapy (in cancer patients) is advised, if possible, before surgery, until the surgical site heals. Major oral surgery in this context could include multiple extractions if surgical extractions are required, not simple forceps extractions. ONJ development may be reduced by optimizing oral hygiene and postoperatively using topical and systemic antibiotics as appropriate. Periodontal disease should be managed before starting oncology doses of BP or denosumab. Local debridement may be successful in disease unresponsive to conservative therapy. Successful surgical intervention has been reported in those with stage 3 disease; less severe disease is best managed conservatively. Teriparatide may be helpful in healing ONJ lesions and may be considered in osteoporosis patients at a high fracture risk in the absence of contraindications. Resumption of BP or denosumab therapy following healing of ONJ lesions is recommended, and there have not been reports of subsequent local recurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-24
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Clinical Densitometry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017



  • Bisphosphonates
  • denosumab
  • diagnosis
  • management
  • osteonecrosis of the jaw

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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