12. December 2011 09:46
As the early baby boomer generation begins retirement and the life expectancy of our population increases, the number of patients on prescription medication as well as supplements is also on the rise. This creates the demand for increased communication between patient, dentist, and other health providers.
One area of medications that can be a cause for concern is the anticoagulant category. Do you take medications like aspirin, Coumadin, Marfarin, Plavix, Ticlid to prevent a heart attack or a stroke resulting from a blood clot? These medications of course have the effect of making the blood less prone to clot and therefore decreasing the potential for heart attack and stroke.
This intended consequence however also has the effect of increasing the amount of time to control bleeding after certain dental procedures. Removal of teeth, periodontal surgery, and even some complex restorative procedures can potentially be problematic if a patient is on such medications.
Historically, patients were advised by their GP or Cardiologist to go off their medication for a period of days prior to the dental procedure to enhance their recovery. Recently there have been some studies that show the risks associated with stopping or reducing your medication (the increased risk of blood clot development) outweighs the consequences of prolonged bleeding after the dental procedure.
My advice to my patients is always to check with their primary physician to understand the risks and their doctor's opinion on medication alteration as it pertains to each individual's health condition.