1:00 PM EDT, June 1, 2011
Sharon Wyatt is best remembered as a beautiful actress who starred in 12 seasons and 14,000 episodes of the daytime soap General Hospital.
But today, Sharon Wyatt looks nothing like her former self. When INSIDE EDITION met Wyatt for our interview, she had stitches that stretched from ear-to-ear and a drainage tube protruded from her neck.
The 58-year-old actress says trouble began when a test revealed she had osteoporosis. Her doctor prescribed a popular bone density drug, safely taken for the treatment of post-menopausal women. But following a routine root canal procedure, Wyatt's gums became infected and wouldn't heal. Wyatt had developed osteonecrosis, or dead bone disease, which forced her to have half of her jaw bone removed. A titanium plate is screwed into where her jaw used to be.
"It's like a nightmare," Wyatt said.
Miami facial surgeon Dr. Robert Marx, a leading expert in dead bone disease, says the jaw is a prime target. Marx told INSIDE EDITION that taking a bone density drug for osteoporosis can improve bone density, but taking it longer than five years can, on rare occasions, make bone brittle.
"It's like chalk. Chalk is very dense, but it's very breakable," Marx said.
The drug maker points out that millions of women have taken the drug without suffering any complications, and that dead jaw bone disease may be the result of dental procedures, poor oral hygiene, or infection.
But Wyatt isn't convinced. She hired attorney Tim O'Brien and filed a lawsuit.
"Nothing I could have done," Wyatt says, "It happened. It just happened to happen to me. I'm the one who got struck by lightning."
As a former soap star, Sharon Wyatt is putting a brave face on a devastating condition.