Anticoagulants and your dental procedures
The first time you go to a medical or dental office, you are asked to give some information. Part of that information is your medical history. In your medical history form, the dentist asks you if you have any health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems and many others that may affect your treatment. You are also asked to list all the medicines that you take. Many of these medicines have effects that need to be taken into account when the dentist will be doing a dental procedure. Let me give you an example.
Many adults are prescribed an anticoagulant which is a drug that interferes with the formation of a clot. This is done in order to prevent a clot that might cause an obstruction in the blood vessels of the heart or the brain, for example, which may result in a heart attack or a stroke.
There are many drugs that are used for this purpose, but the most commonly used is Coumadin, (the generic name is Warfarin).
Since these drugs interfere with the coagulation of the blood, a person that needs any type of dental surgery or an extraction, and is on anticoagulant medication, needs to inform the dentist before making an appointment, in order to consult with the physician and determine if the anticoagulant can be titrated to reduce the chances of bleeding during and after the dental procedure. Generally the dose is titrated to an INR value of 2.0 to 2.5 checked a day or two before the appointment.
Other products that have anticoagulant effects are ginger, fish oil, vitamin E, and aspirin. Many persons take a daily aspirin, and this should also be considered as anticoagulant therapy.
So keep a list of all medications you take, whether they are over the counter or not, and inform your dentist before your appointment of any anticoagulants you take to avoid the risk of complications from bleeding.
Carlos Boudet, DDS DICOI
West Palm Beach Dentist