Blood Thinners

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Blood thinners.At Arbutante Dental in Spring Lake, MI, Joe D. Arbutante, D.D.S. and our team believe that people of all ages across Michigan deserve a lifetime with a perfect smile! As the leading family dentistry in the greater Spring Lake area, Arbutante Dental offers state-of-the-art cosmetic dentistry in a comfortable atmosphere, making your visit to see us a breeze. Our expert staff knows the importance of keeping all of our patients safe and healthy, which is why we aim to educate adults everywhere on certain medications that can put them at risk during oral surgery, including regularly taking blood thinners. 
Millions of people regularly take anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications (sometimes called “blood thinners”) to help prevent heart attack and stroke, as well as to manage a variety of medical conditions ranging from cardiac arrhythmia to stent placement. While these drugs have proven, life-saving benefits, they can also cause side effects, such as increased bleeding. Because of these side effects, it’s important to discuss your medications and medical conditions with us before receiving a dental procedure! 

Types Of Anticoagulants 

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, therefore reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack.

How Blood Thinners Affect The Body During Operation

If you are taking one or more of these medications, it will take longer for any type of bleeding to stop. 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. We will note the medication and dosage in your records, consult with your cardiologist (or another specialist) if necessary, and discuss the best treatment plan to meet your dental needs while keeping you safe and healthy.

Cosmetic Dentistry & Blood Thinners At Arbutante Dental 

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, we must balance the risk of increased bleeding 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 afterward also gives us an opportunity to control any bleeding that does occur.

More Complex Procedures With Your Spring Lake, MI Family Dentist 

In some cases, more extensive dental procedures such as tooth extraction or implant placement may be necessary. As always, the potential risks and benefits of stopping the anticoagulant medication must be carefully weighed. To help in the decision-making process, we may order one or more diagnostic blood tests, such as prothrombin time (PT) or International Normalized Ratio (INR), and make a judgment based on our clinical experience.
It's extremely rare for common cosmetic dental procedures to cause life-threatening complications. However, we never want to take a chance on your health. That's why we ask you to 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 keep us informed so we can help make the best decisions about your treatment!

Contact Your Spring Lake, MI Cosmetic Dentist Today! 

By offering in-depth experience and utilizing state-of-the-art technology, our staff at Arbutante Dental provides the families of Michigan with excellent dental care. We promise that our team can confidently diagnose your needs and provide a solution, all while taking your entire medical history and prescribed medications into consideration. For all of your questions or concerns about blood thinners and oral surgery, don’t hesitate to contact our office today. From all of us at Arbutante Dental, we can’t wait to help bring your brilliant smile back to life!