Blood Thinners

By Dr. O. Karnakova

One of the most common types of drugs that can cause abnormal bleeding are blood thinners.
These classification of drugs are used for treating patients who have a type of heart or blood vessel disease, poor blood flow to the brain, atrial fibrillation, heart valve surgery, or other congenital heart defects. Blood thinners decrease the risk of a stroke or heart attack by reducing the formation of blood.

There are two main types of blood thinners. Anticoagulants, such as warfarin (Coumadin) or heparin, work by increasing the length of time your body takes to form a blood clot. Antiplatelet drugs such as Aspirin or Plavix prevent platelets in your blood from clumping together to form a harmful clot.

Patients who are taking blood thinners need to fully understand the effects of these drugs. The medication interferes with the body's normal clotting mechanism to stop bleeding. This comes as a particular concern for dentists who need to perform procedures that cause bleeding. Some of the common dental procedures associated with bleeding include: tooth extractions, implants, scaling and root planing, periodontal gum surgery, and biopsies.

It is important for patient's to correctly fill out their medical history along with a list of all medications. Please inform your dentist if you are taking any blood thinners so any precautions can be made between you, the dentist, and physician. Depending on the type of procedure, INR level, or clotting risks, your physician may inform you to do the following: continue taking the medication; change the dosage or type of medication; discontinue the medication prior to treatment. Do not under any circumstances alter or discontinue your medication without consulting your physician and dentist.

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