Medications that prevent the formation of blood clots
A ‘Blood thinner’ is the common name used for medications which prevent the formation of blood clots. Blood-thinners do not really thin the blood. They prevent it from clotting. They are given to people with an increased tendency for thrombosis (blood clot formation) inside blood vessels or to prevent the formation of further clots in those who have had them before.
Since the 1980s, aspirin has been used as a preventive treatment for heart attacks and strokes. Aspirin has an anti-clotting effect and is used in long-term, low doses to prevent heart attacks, strokes and blood clot formation in people at high risk for developing blood clots.
Certain blood thinning medications are used to treat patients with atrial fibrillation, the heart’s two upper chambers fibrillate or beat out of normal rhythm, deep venous thrombosis, clotting in the deep leg veins and pulmonary embolism blood clots moving into the lungs. Warfarin have also been routinely prescribed for patients who have artificial heart valves. Warfarin or similar medication can cause bleeding. To avoid this, patients who take this type of medication have routine blood testing to monitor their clotting ability through specific blood tests.
Heparin is used to prevent blood clot formation and to enhance the body’s ability to break down existing blood clots. Heparin works immediately at the site used to prevent clotting.
Dental Treatment for Patients on Blood Thinning medication, Medication which interferes with blood clotting
Blood thinners do not affect most dental procedures. However, blood thinners can have an effect on blood clotting during dental surgery. Depending on the medication, the dosage and the extent of dental surgery, specific protocols are in place in the Beacon Dental Clinic to manage patients who take medicine which affects their ability to stop bleeding in surgery. The low does aspirin use for blood thinning is rarely a concern.
Patients taking blood thinners and medication which interferes in Blood Clotting Surgical Dental Treatment
In the past, dentists used advised their patients to stop taking their medications a few days before having their teeth extracted or having other surgical procedures in the mouth.
The advice today is there are specific protocols, dependent on the drug and the dose, and they should not be stopped without specific patient instruction for most dental procedures. However, as with any dental surgery, a medical pre-treatment review is managed, prior to surgery.
The Beacon Consultants Clinic has several associated medical colleagues who manage preoperative medication management for dental treatment interventions.