Zometa clarification

Hi, can anyone clarify something for me? I went for my dental review, now I’m not one for going to the dentist but was told my teeth were fine but there is some gum disease there. Then a couple of days later I got an infection so had to go back and am now on antibiotics (a weeks worth).
Now I get the connection between teeth and gums but the doctor says it’s the jaw that can be affected by zometa but the nurse has put off starting zometa because she says zometa can affect the gums. Ultimately it is my decision whether to start it or not and to wait for the antibiotics to finish is fine but I’m confused. Obviously I will do everything I can to improve the gums but is it the jaw or the gums it affects? Or both?

Hello sprout78, Probably best to read the information sheet for Zometa

Listen to both your dentist and nurse as both will have experience of patients taking this medication. I’ve just seen my dentist (who warned me off Zometa in favour of weekly tablets as he said it’s less harsh on the body). My teeth were fine but gums not so saw the hygienist and will see her again. Hope this helps. Love Tulip x

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Thankyou, I have the leaflet. I don’t think my dentist knows too much about it. I sent the leaflet to her too. What tablets are you on? I haven’t been told about an alternative.

Hello Sprout78, I’m not on any tablets at the moment but the oncologist suggested Ibandronate . I couldn’t take those as I cannot swallow tablets so my only alternative is Binosto which is the water soluble version of Alendronic acid. However I’ll be discussing my osteopaenia with my GP next week when we will decide between Binosto or a higher strength vitamin D. Love Tulip x

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Hi sprout78, I am about to start zoledronic acid too (first one tomorrow!) and was advised that I’ll need to take good care of both teeth and gums to avoid the possible jawbone issue. My dentist has recommended I see her every 3 months or so and go to the hygienist regularly. The only other advice from the dentist was to keep my calcium up. If I find out any more I will post back on here and would love to hear if you get any more guidance too. I must admit I find this possible side effect a little terrifying, but my dentist did say it is rare to occur. Hope all is going well with your treatment.


Thankyou for your reply. I will look after my teeth and gums. I feel like my dentist doesn’t really know about it. Was told I would be given calcium too. I’ll let you know if I get any more guidance. Good luck tomorrow!

I have my third zoledronic acid on 4 Jan. Six months ago I got an abscess on the back of my gums near the back of my mouth. I am now 68 years old and have been going to my dentist every six months during treatment. I had another dental appointment after my GP gave me antibiotics for the abscess and I had a small amount of plaque between my two back molars which she then removed, which she said was the cause of my abscess. I looked at the dental x ray and it looked like there was a big gap between my molar and the nerve but she said it was very small in reality. That reassured me a lot. It’s very rare to get any problems. I am rigorous about using floss, dental sticks and all sorts of brands of interdental brushes which come in different sizes according to the width of gaps. I clean my teeth with an electric tooth brush or a hand one for variety twice a day and floss in between. It’s improved my dental hygiene remarkably. I never worry about bad breath or deposits on my teeth!

The tablet version of zometa has other side effects. It can cause cancer of the oesophaegus so it’s not such a great alternative. I will be half way through my IV infusions after 4 Jan 2022. Some research in Europe suggests 4 treatments are as good as 6 so I may stop after 4 but it’s not been as bad as I expected.

The infustion itself only takes about ten mins. Blood test has to be done a few weeks ahead to make sure you have enough calcium etc I think. My first one made me feel a bit fluey but I still managed to drive to a supermarket and back, and it was only about two days taking paracetamol and having the odd afternoon nap. Next one was no symptoms. I am hoping the next one will be a breeze too.

My biggest problem with it has been a cold treatment room with nobody being remotely interested in me, as most people have chemo there and they have to be in for much longer than ten minutes. Also they didn’t record the appointment details I was given six months ago even though I was given the date then, so I have got annoyed with their appointment system.

If I hadn’t gone on 4 Jan I would have had to have another blood test as it has to be soon before the iv infusion. I am against pointless extra blood tests but zometa is unusual so the staff don’t seem to know much about it, even though I am having treatment at Guy’s in London and it’s a centre of breast cancer excellence. It’s also a huge hospital with many kinds of cancer being treated and it’s in London so maybe that’s why information isn’t always recorded as it should be.

I love London but it’s ever changing. with a name like sprout you need to be careful at christmas. Stay away from boiling water and chestnuts. That’s the best advice I can give really on any topic here.

Best wishes Seagulls

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NB I got antibiotics from the GP for my abscess, gums get bad due to food being lodged between teeth and plaque forming. That then helps loosen tooth and maybe allow bacteria in, or zometa chemical that then weakens jaw.

Americans have good teeth cos they floss like mad. I met some of them at University and one of them asked if it was all right for her to floss while we were chatting together. I felt I really couldn’t say no! But I realised I was out of my comfort zone. That was when I was 18 or 19.

I have come to extreme dental hygiene very late but better late than never! I am a paragon of dental cleanliness now. People in a match factory in London who used phosphorus to make them got Phossy Jaw in the 19th century but they had no idea that it was due to this. I had good teeth I still have good teeth for a 68 year old - but no thanks to my poor dental hygiene in the past… Seagulls

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Thankyou, so much. You have been very informative. Yes flossing makes such a massive difference. I’m convinced it wasn’t a thing when I was a kid! Definitely will keep on top of everything when I start the zometa.
I am going to the chemo lounge once a month for goserelin injection so hopefully will have zometa on one of those days. Unfortunately goserelin I found really painful, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue with it. I have however found numbing cream very effective! So all being well I will start the zometa in January. Zometa is only for post menopausal women and without goserelin I am not.
Thanks for the Christmas advice :grinning: my boyfriend bought me a teddy last year and we named him sprout, that’s where I got my name from. Incidentally I don’t like sprouts. Haha

Dear sprout

thank you very much for your very informative message too. I was premenstrual last time I had breast cancer, but I didn’t take my tamoxifen as I was a rebel and I had a 0.9 cm tumour, grade 1 with no lymph nodes involved. This time I had a 2.6 cm tumour, a lymph node next to it which had cancer in it which they said had metastazised. I also had radiotherapy to that breast as I had a segmental mastectomy where they cut out the area around the tumour only. This time it was a mastectomy and immediate reconstruction and I am way past the menopause at age 68 now, 67 when diagnosed last year in June. I was working in the old days and I decided to leave work at 58 and I have not worked since. I don’t have children and I had paid off my mortgage by then by keeping making lump sum payments every time I saved up or had a bonus at work. That makes me extremely lucky financially at least. Due to my not brilliant prognosis this time, I also have attendance allowance but you can only get this if you are over retirement age. My husband is looking after me overnight, but he’s now in a surgical boot from an achilles tendon injury, and is also waiting for a prostate op in early February 2024. It’s one thing after another. But as my husband reminds me, mustn’t grumble. Seagulls

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