Blood Thinners and Dental Procedures

Blood Thinners and Dental Procedures

Dental Treatment and Blood Thinners

People all around the world take blood thinning drugs (antiplatelet or anticoagulant) to maintain the consistency of blood and prevent blood clotting. Chocked veins are often followed by severe consequences including heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia, and blood pressure. Although doctors prescribe these drugs to patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases, long-term use of blood thinners has side effects like increased bleeding. It may be a matter of concern, particularly if you need to go through some surgery or dental procedure.

Anticoagulant is one of the most commonly used blood thinning drugs, prescribed by cardiologists all over the world. Common anticoagulants prescriptions include dabigatran etexilate, heparin, clopidogrel, and warfarin. These medicines keep the cholesterol levels in the bloodstream low and facilitate proper supply of blood to all vital organs. Clots in blood vessel stress the heart, thus increasing the chances of heart attack or severe strokes. These drugs don’t reduce the percentage of platelets, but make the blood thin enough to flow through fine vessels. However, this reduced consistency can be dangerous in case of deep wounds or surgeries.

If you are taking blood thinner, you must tell your dentist before any surgical procedure

For major dental treatment and surgeries, it is an important factor to be considered. Informing your dentist about the blood thinning drug you are taking, can help the dentist take precautionary measures for preventing excessive bleeding during surgeries. The dentist might consult your physician/cardiologist to discuss changes in your dosage and determine the best combination of medicines for you.

There are some accepted guidelines for having surgeries while using blood thinners or anticoagulant medications

Although treatment strategies vary with the health condition of the patient, there are certain standard guidelines for patients who use anticoagulant medications and need dental surgery. If the person is using blood thinner for temporary period, then it is recommended to put-off major or unnecessary procedures for a while. However if the person is taking medicines on permanent basis or the dental work cannot be delayed, the probability of bleeding must be reduced by using other medications. In certain cases going off anticoagulant medications can lead to grave circumstances.

For dental procedures that do not involve cutting — like fillings, whitening, or cleaning — it is relatively safer for the patient to continue using blood thinners than to give up the medication completely. That’s because, there are a number of local measures (like using gauze) which can be applied to control bleeding. Moreover, surgeons make sure to adopt less invasive methodologies while treating patients using blood thinners. Doctors also schedule surgery sessions in a way that patient gets plenty of time to rest.

There are many considerations for extensive procedures

Sometimes, patients using blood thinners need major dental surgery or procedure like implantation, extraction, or root canal. As always, the benefits and potential risks of stopping the blood thinners must be analyzed and weighed. Dentists might require conducting a series of blood tests to determine the consistency of the blood, and prescribe some pre-treatment medication to the patient.

Although it is very rare in dentistry to cause critical or life threatening complexities, it is important to inform the dentist about blood thinners before going for a dental procedure. Not only about anticoagulant medications, but you should also discuss with the dentists about every medicine you are taking. While people using anticoagulant medications can have dental work, dentists recommend patients to share their health record with them.