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Blood Thinners and Dental Procedures

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What is an anticoagulant? Anticoagulants are a class of drugs that work to prevent the coagulation (clotting) of blood…in other words it’s a blood thinner. Typically patients with heart issues, stroke, and or blood clotting issues are on blood thinners. Some common blood thinners include Coumadin, Heparin, Xarleto, Pradaxa, and Eliquis. These medications are necessary to sustain the individual’s health…but don’t come without side effects of their own. Common side effects of blood thinners include increase increased bruising and bleeding. We are frequently asked if a patient should discontinue their anticoagulant medication prior to dental care. The answer is NO. Quite simply, it’s not worth the risk! Your dental professional will work closely with your physician to ensure that all necessary precautions are taken.

Bleeding can occur from the simplest of tasks including brushing and flossing. We encourage our patients to use a soft bristled toothbrush and to brush gently in a circular motion. Don’t forget the floss! Floss gently, taking the time to go below the gums and remove any plaque and debris.

Bleeding following dental procedures can be prolonged. Some of the common dental procedures that are associated with bleeding include dental cleanings, periodontal therapy, tooth extractions, and biopsies. Dental professionals are trained to care for extreme bleeding. If bleeding continues after leaving the dental office, direct pressure is recommended.

Dental injury and blood thinners are often the cause of bleeding as well. A simple fall can not only create large bruises but bleeding can occur as well. It is important to control the bleeding and follow your physician’s instructions concerning the bruising.

Please discuss any concerns you may have about dental care and blood thinners with your dental professional.

And as always,

Keep smiling, sharing, and caring

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