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Jaw Necrosis from long term use of Zometa

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2009

I hope that someone can help me get more info on the treatment of jaw necrosis. I had been taking zometa as part of my cancer treatment for about 8 years when I first started having problems. I noticed what I thought was a piece of tooth coming through the gum on my inside lower jaw, under my back molar. It didn't bother me, so I ignored it until my dentist questioned it. After finding out that it was necrosis of the jaw, and that it was actually a piece of dead bone working its way through the gum, my doc took me off the zometa. A couple of months ago, the piece of bone came out, like a losing a tooth. It left a depression or hole where the bone was, and part of the roots of the molar are visible. That doesn't bother me so much. Its the swollen, spongy and tender gum all around the area that is so painful. I have tried different topical treatments for pain, and also antibiotic mouthwash. The pain recedes but keeps coming back, and the swelling never goes away. Right now, it is so painful that I can hardly eat. My dentist referred me to a gum specialist. I am hoping that someone else will have already dealt with the red tape of medical profession, and can tell me how to get this covered under my medical insurance. None of the periodonist that I have contacted so far, deal with medical insurance. I don't have very good dental insurance, and I beleive that an issue of the jaw bone caused by the treatment of cancer, should be covered as a medical claim, not a dental claim. I am on disability and don't have the money to pay huge dental bills that I am sure will mount up for gum grafts or whatever else they might say. I just read on the discussion board about oxygen treatments and am interested in hearing more about that also. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

hodgkoid2003's picture
Posts: 94
Joined: Apr 2009

It's not much, but when you head into those specialty areas, the one's not covered by the general practitioner where you tread the line between dental, optical or whatever, this happens often when each want to push the burden off on the other.

Bottom line, if it's not covered under your dental, then it should definitely be covered by your medical. And your doctor should be your best advocate and if needed, assist you with a letter to your insurance carrier. But first, you may want to make the call to your insurance, ask to speak to a manager. Explain the situation, not just about what happened, but how it is tied to your past. This is where your doctor's support comes in.

It'll still be an argument, but what can it hurt, especially if by some chance, your insurance covers...

Paul E. (Hodgkoid2003)

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2009

Thanks for the advice. It sounds like good advice. I will call and talk to my insurance carriers first. It will no doubt be an argument, but everything seems to be lately when dealing with medical bills.

Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2009

Just read your blog and wondered if you could give us an update. Any luck with your medical insurance company paying for detnal work?

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