Blood Thinners & Dental Procedures

Blood thinners.Millions of people regularly take anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications (sometimes called “blood thinners”) to help prevent heart attack and stroke, and to manage a variety of medical conditions including cardiac arrhythmia and stent placement. While these drugs have proven, life-saving benefits, they can also cause side effects such as increased bleeding. So it may be a cause for concern if you're taking one of them and you need to have a dental procedure.

Anticoagulants are among the more widely used pharmaceuticals today, particularly for heart patients. Some common prescription anticoagulants include heparin, warfarin (Coumadin and generics), clopidogrel (Plavix) and dabigatran etexilate (Pradaxa). Regular aspirin and NSAIDS (like Advil) also have anticoagulant properties. The purpose of anticoagulant medications is to keep the blood from clotting (clumping together) as readily as it normally does; this reduces the chance of a clot forming inside a blood vessel, which could lead to a stroke or heart attack.

If you are taking one or more of these medications, it will take longer for any type of bleeding to stop. For some dental or surgical procedures, that's a factor that must be considered. The most important thing you should do is inform your dentist right away if you are taking any kind of anticoagulant or antiplatelet medication — especially if you have just started taking it. The name and dosage of your medication will be noted in your records, and your cardiologist (or other specialist) will be consulted if necessary, to determine what's best for you.

Having Dental Work with Blood Thinners

While each patient is different, there are some generally accepted guidelines for having dental work while taking anticoagulant medications. If the drug is being taken on a temporary basis (after knee replacement, for example) then the safest choice might be to put off non-essential dental procedures. However, in many cases it's entirely possible to have needed work done while taking anticoagulants. In each situation, the risk of increased bleeding must be balanced against the chance that going off the medication could cause more serious problems.

A number of studies have shown that for many common dental procedures — cleanings, fillings and restorations, for example — it's safer to continue taking anticoagulant medications than to stop, even temporarily. That's because it is generally possible to control bleeding with local measures (such as biting down on gauze), using hemostatic devices and minimally invasive surgical techniques. Scheduling dental work for early in the day and allowing plenty of time for rest afterwards also provides an opportunity to control any bleeding that does occur.

More Complex Procedures

In some cases, more extensive dental procedures such as tooth extraction or implant placement may be recommended for people taking anticoagulants. As always, the potential risks and benefits of stopping the anticoagulant medication must be carefully weighed. To help in the decision-making process, one or more diagnostic blood tests, such as prothrombin time (PT) or International Normalized Ratio (INR), may be ordered. Then a judgment can be made, based on the test results and on clinical experience.

While it's extremely rare for common dental procedures to cause potentially life-threatening complications, it makes sense to take as few chances as possible. That's why you should tell us about any medications you may be taking, including herbs and vitamins. While taking anticoagulants doesn't prevent you from having dental work, it's important to share information about your medications so you can get the best results from your treatment.

Related Articles

Oral Surgery and Blood Thinners - Dear Doctor Magazine

Oral Surgery & Blood Thinners If you are taking blood thinners — including aspirin — it's important to let your dentist know. These medications (also called anticoagulants) prevent the blood from clotting normally and therefore can make bleeding during dental procedures more difficult to control. However, precautions can usually be taken so that needed procedures can still go forward... Read Article

Contact Us

Send us an Email Today!

Testimonials

Read what our clients says about us.

  • "Great experience every time I visit. They are honest and want to address all concerns. The staff is phenomenal!!"
    Chris Montoya
  • "Can't recommend this place enough! Dr Haddad is very knowledgeable and straightforward, and the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful. Everything is transparent in terms of insurance, pricing, and scheduling. If you need dental care I would look no further than this office!"
    Wilson Chung
  • "AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME"
    damond Benjamin
  • "Great service and great people. Very friendly and professional. Always have a good experience with them. Would highly recommend them."
    Matt Schmid
  • "Very caring staff to girls like me who are terrified of going to the “dentist”."
    Marilynn Easterday
  • "Dr. Haddad, Hygentist and office staff are wonderful. I trust this dentist. He is kind and very knowledgeable."
    Cindy Caucci
  • "Great dentist, strongly recommend. I will never change doctors now. Found the first dentist to make cavity removal painless and FAST!"
    Alex Cas
  • "Great staff and experience each visit!"
    Nick Hussey
  • "Extremely kind staff that makes you feel welcome! A great "going to the dentist" experience."
    Kellie McCarty
  • "The dentist is great and makes you feel confident with his quality of work. The staff are the great !!!!My son doesn’t have a phobia anymore of going to the dentist. Definitely recommend this office."
    Korea Corley
  • "I've been seeing Dr. Haddad for many years and after a short split due to insurance reasons, I have returned. My experience has always been great and his work cannot be compared to others. He is hands down the best dentist in the area. I must add that the staff is always friendly and helpful, too."
    Danielle B
  • "Always a great experience. Timely, professional, knowledgeable, and friendly staff. You could not ask for a better dental experience!"
    David C.

Our Location

Find us on the map

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Office Hours

Monday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

1:00 pm-8:00 pm

Wednesday:

11:00 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

8:30 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 am-2:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed