Why Your Dentist Should Know You’re On Blood Thinners

Should Your Dentist Know You're On Blood Thiners

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase before, “You can’t change one part of the body without affecting the whole.”

Even in the world of dentistry, we see this inseparable interconnection from the mouth to the rest of the body. Changes done in your mouth have systemic effects because work done in your mouth doesn’t just stay localized to just this area. Likewise, we also see that changes elsewhere in your body, such as taking medications, can have effects when it comes to your oral health and dental treatment. Blood thinners are one of those medications that have such risks.

What Are Blood Thinners And What Do They Do?

You’ve likely come across a question or two about blood thinners on your medical history. Blood thinners are medications that are taken to prevent blood clots from forming in veins, arteries, or the heart. Some patients are on blood thinners because of a past history with a heart attack or stroke. While there are several different options when it comes to blood thinners, here are a few common ones:

  • Aspirin
  • NSAIDS (Advil)
  • Warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Heparin
  • Clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • Dabigatran Etexilate (Pradaxa)

What Are Blood Thinners’ Benefits And Side Effects?

Blood thinners work to keep your blood from natural clotting which is how they help to eliminate heart attacks and strokes. While this is great news for those at risk of heart attack or stroke, it can also quickly become a concern when having certain dental work done.

Naturally, without medication, the body is able to stop bleeding following an invasive dental procedure. It does this by forming a clot that prevents too much blood from being lost. On the other hand, taking blood thinners keep the body from being able to clot. Even small cuts and bruises will bleed a lot more. Therefore, dental work while on blood thinners can become risky and concerning.

What Should I Do If I Am Taking Blood Thinners?

The most important thing is that you talk to your dentist about being on blood thinners. It is important for your health that you inform your dentist of such medications because it can cause serious complications during and after dental procedures. Recommendations for you will be unique in that your treatment will depend on your body, what dental procedures are needed, and how much medication is being taken.

Is It Safe To Receive Dental Work While Taking Blood Thinners?

Blood thinners and dental work are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Some people may need blood thinners only for a few months while others may need them for long term. If you are someone who only needs them for a few months, then your dentist may suggest waiting on your dental treatment until your physician has safely taken you back off from them. This again is dependent on many other factors such as the urgency of dental work needed and how invasive the procedure is. For more details on the specific dental work that Castle Rock Dental offers, please click here. We suggest then talking to your dentist about any concerns there may be for blood thinners and this dental work.

If you are on blood thinners for long term and in need of more invasive dental work, such as a tooth extraction or dental implant placement, your dentist will consult with your physician to see what they recommend. Physician recommendations are also on a case-by-case basis when it comes to blood thinners and dental work. A physician may have their patient stop taking the blood thinner for a short time so that they can have dental procedures done, but again this is usually a decision made by your physician. Dentist do not usually recommend a change in your blood thinner medication without consulting your doctor.

If your physician recommends continuing the blood thinner because there is too high of a risk of heart attack or stroke, then they can work out a safe treatment plan with your dentist. It is likely that this plan will use alternative ways to slow and control bleeding. These additional steps usually involve gauze, hemostatic devices, and maybe an anesthetic with a vasoconstrictor to help minimize bleeding.

Whether you’ve been on blood thinners for days or years, it is important to talk about it with your dentist. When it comes to having any dental procedures done, our team at Castle Rock Dental is here to guide you in choosing what is the safest option for you. Your safety is important to us, so we coordinate with your physician to find the safest solutions for you to get your dental work done. Call our office today at (406)252-1852 or contact us with any other questions that you may have or to schedule your consultation.

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