ONJ Symptoms and Diagnosis
Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ) may remain asymptomatic for many weeks or months. While symptoms may arise on there own, generally symptoms develop after tooth extraction. Symptoms include:
Pain, swelling, or infection of the gums or jaw;
Gums that are not healing / dramatic gum loss;
Numbness or a felling of heaviness of the jaw;
If ONJ is suspected, tomographic or panoramic imaging may be performed to rule out other causes such as cysts or impacted teeth. Intraoral films can also be used to demonstrate subtle bone changes. Microbial cultures may also be used for a differential diagnosis for comorbid oral infections.
Tissue biopsy should only be performed if metastatic disease is suspected because the trauma from the biopsy may result in additional complications which are difficult to treat.
See Pictures of Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (Warning: Some may find these actual photos disturbing!)