Blood Thinners & Dental Care

Senior Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
October 3, 2020

handful of blood thinners on blue background

Is it safe to go through with a dental procedure if you’re taking blood thinners for any reason? After all, certain treatments, such as extractions and gum surgery, as well as cleanings, can lead to bleeding. What if you’re taking a blood thinner and it’s hard to stop the bleeding? That’s a frightening scenario!

To learn more, check out the info below. With a better understanding of the effects of blood thinners on dental care, you’ll know what to expect. 

Weighing the Risks: Should You Change the Way You Take Your Medicine?

Your dentist will weigh the risks based on the type of blood thinner your doctor has prescribed. For example, if you’re taking an anticoagulant like warfarin or apixaban, or you need to take an antiplatelet like aspirin or clopidogrel, you may not need to change anything about your routine prior to undergoing a dental treatment. That’s because the risks of not taking these medications as prescribed are likely to be greater than bleeding that might occur from the dental procedure. 

Also, if your dentist determines that bleeding can be controlled rather easily, he or she will probably tell you that it’s fine to continue taking your medications as you normally would. 

On the other hand, if you’ve been diagnosed with other health problems that boost the odds of excessive bleeding, the risk might be too high. And the risk might also be too great if you’re taking other medications that can increase bleeding. In these cases, your dentist might want to talk to your doctor about what steps need to be taken to keep you safe while working on making your teeth and gums as strong as possible. 

In the end, it all depends on various factors, such as:

  • The medications that you’re taking
  • Any other conditions that you’ve been diagnosed with
  • The risk of bleeding associated with the procedure you need 

No matter what, your dentist should work with your doctor to determine if you need to change anything about the way you take your medications, even if it means just altering the timing of your doses to reduce the risk of excessive bleeding. 

Always Let the Dentist Know About Your Blood Thinners!

It’s important to let your dentist  know if you’re taking any medications, including any type of blood thinner, and if you’ve ever experienced complications from taking your prescriptions. 

In addition to disclosing the medicine you take, it’s also wise to let him or her know about your medical history. That way, he or she can take your overall health into consideration too. Plus, this information can shed more light on why you need to take blood thinners, and if you need to take them for a short span of time or if you need them for the long run.  

With the help of all of these details, your dentist can tell you how to proceed if you’re planning on having your teeth cleaned or you need any type of treatment, from fillings and root canals to extractions and implant surgery, that can cause bleeding. 

If you do need to change anything about the way you take your blood thinner, your dentist and doctor might recommend:

  • Not taking the medicine before the procedure
  • Changing the type of blood thinner you’re taking
  • Changing the dose that you’re taking
  • Changing the time of day that you take your dose

Don’t Stop Using a Medication Unless You’re Told to Do So

The good news is that you may not need to change a thing if you’re taking blood thinners and need a dental treatment. In fact, stopping use of the medication might be far more risky, especially since your dentist can use various strategies to stop any bleeding that occurs. For example, socket packing, pressure, and stitches might all be used to keep everything under control. 

Ultimately, every patient is unique, so your dentist can work with your doctor to figure out the benefits versus the risks of taking blood thinners before an oral health procedure. The key is to be upfront about your health so your dentist has all of the info necessary to give you the right advice on how to proceed. 





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