My concern is that physical damage will be done to what I imagine is a frail jaw. The anethesia will be local.

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You’ll want to talk to the dentist or oral surgeon about this for specifics, but in general, risks for a tooth extraction include complications such as infection, prolonged bleeding, swelling, nerve damage, jaw fracture, sinus damage, damage to nearby teeth, incomplete extraction, and, last but not least, dry socket. Because of advanced age, which by itself is associated with slower healing, weaker immunity, and slightly weaker bones, the risks for dental extraction complications are a bit increased, though not be as bad as it would be for someone who smokes, has diabetes, major organ failure/dysfunction (in heart, lung, liver, kidneys), etc. The risk for jaw fracture/damage would be somewhat higher if actual osteoporosis or osteopenia were present. What is even more important to know is if bisphosphonates (medications for osteoporosis) are being taken due to the risk for osteonecrosis occurring after a dental procedure. If there are reasons to believe a dental extraction may be high risk, it is preferable to have an oral surgeon do the extraction.

Hope this helps a bit. If you have further questions about this topic or others, feel free to contact me directly (see my profile for details).

Best wishes,
Vik Rajan, M.D.

The information provided above is FOR EDUCATIONAL USE ONLY, and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE MEDICAL ADVICE/OPINION, is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or disease, and is not a substitute for the medical evaluation and advice of your (or your loved one’s) primary care physician or other medical professional. While striving to be factual and exact, no warranties are made with regards to the accuracy of the information provided above. You are always advised to talk with your (or your loved one’s) doctor about any health concerns that you have and about any of the information provided above. Sole reliance on the information provided above is not advised and would be solely at your own risk and liability.
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wish more doctors would post on this site. Thanks. When my family member had to have dental extractions done and she was taking Fosamax, the dentist and the oral surgeon required a blood test. I think it was called CTX or something similar. The blood lab had never heard of it and had to look into it . Any comments re requiring this test?
Also if they are on aspirin and Plavix or prescription blood thinners, there is the issue of whether it is necessary and safe to stop them and for how long to stop them.
With one extraction, there was some bruising and swelling of the face due to oral surgeon having trouble getting an 70+ year old tooth out. A prior extraction was easier b/c the tooth was very decayed. So, it depends case by case. If you do proceed with it, ask in advance after what you need to do after so you can have supplies handy,
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