The topic of this post is anticoagulant drugs and how they can affect your dental surgery procedures.
The first time you go to a dental office you are always asked to fill out some forms. Some of the information that you are asked to provide is your medical history. It is important for the dentist to know if you are healthy, or if you have health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems etc… It is also important to provide a list of all the medications that you are taking, since some medications may cause problems with procedures done by the dentist. Let me give an example:
Many mature adults take daily anticoagulant medicine to prevent a stroke caused by a blood clot. A blood clot could travel through the circulation and cause an obstruction not only in the brain, but also in other parts of the body, like the heart, the lungs, the legs, etc…
There are many drugs currently used for this purpose, with names like Plavix, Xarelto, Pradaxa, and others, but the most commonly prescribed is called Coumadin (the generic name is Warfarin). Since these medications affect the coagulation of the blood, the person taking it is likely to bleed more and longer than normal, and they need to make the dentist aware that they are on this medication.
When a person taking an anticoagulant needs an extraction or some surgical procedure, they need to consult with their physician in order to modify or stop the anticoagulant therapy about a week before their dental procedure in order to get their clotting ability back to normal to avoid bleeding during or after the procedure.
Other substances that have anticoagulant effects are natural remedies such as ginger, fish oil and vitamin E. It is prudent to discontinue these a week before any dental surgery.
One more related drug that is very important to mention is Aspirin. Many individuals today take a daily aspirin, and aspirin also has anticoagulant properties. It should be discontinued one week before the dental surgery.
So whenever you go to your dentist for a surgical procedure, please update your health history with a list of all the medications you are taking (prescription and non-prescription) and this will help him (or her) plan your procedure in the safest way possible.