Blood thinners interfere with the body’s ability to form clots, which is a concern for oral surgery procedures. But that doesn’t mean patients on these medications can’t get the treatment they need.
For an experienced oral surgeon, the greater risk of excessive bleeding that comes with blood-thinning medication is manageable. If you take aspirin, heparin, warfarin or any other antiplatelet or anticoagulant drug, you can safely undergo oral surgery. However, to prevent complications and give yourself the best chance of enjoying a problem-free recovery, we recommend that you do the following.
Tell Your Oral Surgeon
Your oral surgeon will ask you to provide a list of any medications you currently take. Make sure to put your blood thinner on that list — and don’t forget about vitamins, herbal remedies and over-the-counter drugs, as some can affect the clotting process.
Other factors can also affect your surgical treatment plan, so your surgeon will want to review your medical history. Share all your health information on your patient registration forms, and leave nothing out, even if you don’t think it has a connection with your current issue.
Trust Your Oral Surgeon
Blood thinners work to stop or slow down the formation of clots. Knowing this, you might assume you should stop taking yours before getting oral surgery. However, it isn’t wise to make that decision without talking to your oral surgeon first.
Uncontrollable bleeding is quite rare, even in patients on blood thinners. For the vast majority, techniques such as pressure, socket patching and suturing allow for proper post-surgical clotting. And on the off chance your surgeon thinks you may need to stop taking your blood thinner, they’ll talk it over with your doctor.
Take Care After Oral Surgery
Every patient — not just those who take blood thinners — can take steps to keep post-surgical bleeding to a minimum. Your oral surgeon will likely recommend that you:
- Bite down firmly on the gauze pack to apply constant pressure on the surgical site, replacing the gauze as needed until the bleeding stops.
- Steer clear of straws, hot beverages and foods that are hard or crunchy for the first few days after oral surgery.
- Refrain from spitting, smoking and using other forms of tobacco during the recovery period.
Follow all your oral surgeon’s instructions on aftercare, and your risk of complications will be quite low. But if you develop a problem or have any concerns about how you’re healing after oral surgery, you can and should call your surgeon’s office to ask for advice.
The professional team at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is accustomed to treating high-risk patients, and our board-certified oral surgeons understand the precautions to take. You’ll be in good hands with us — we’ll do everything we can to prevent complications and ensure you enjoy a smooth and easy recovery.
If you’re taking a blood thinner and you may need oral surgery, contact our Richmond, Indiana, office and schedule a consultation today.