Blood Thinners: Can You Still Get Your Teeth Cleaned?

Parkland Dental Clinic

Our Blog

Blood Thinners Can You Still Get Your Teeth Cleaned
Blood Thinners Can You Still Get Your Teeth Cleaned
You’ve likely heard that you should tell your dentist if you’re on blood thinners. These medications are commonly prescribed, and it’s important to understand why your dentist needs to know if you’re taking them. Here’s what you should know.

What are blood thinners?

Blood thinners are anti-coagulants, which means they prevent blood from clotting. This is extremely useful in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes in patients with heart disease. Similarly, people with a predisposition to blood clots will often take blood thinners to limit their risk of embolism, stroke and thrombosis. Patients recovering from certain types of surgery are also commonly prescribed this medication.

Why are blood thinners a concern?

While the two may seem unconnected, remember that dental work covers a wide range of interventions… Procedures such as teeth cleaning, removing a tooth, gum surgery or root canal treatment may result in bleeding and could put someone on blood thinners at risk of complications due to the potential difficulty in stopping an incision from bleeding.

When are blood thinners not a concern?

If you’re taking blood thinners, there are proven ways by which the risk of a complication can be avoided. Most often, the dentist will consult with your physician to get a sense of your “bleeding time” which is measured with a blood test. If the bleeding time is within a safe range, most dental procedures can be delivered safely by also taking precautions during the procedure to minimize bleeding.. This also goes for most cosmetic dentistry procedures such as getting a whitening treatment, veneers or other restorations. There’s no cause for concern because these procedures are non-invasive interventions and any minor bleeding can easily be controlled.

What to do if you take blood thinners

If you’re taking blood thinners and require dental surgery, precautions need to be taken. Each case is different but there are general guidelines, depending on your specific situation.

You only need to take them for a short period

If you take blood thinners on a temporary basis such as following knee surgery, dental work is usually postponed until you no longer need the medication.

You need to take them indefinitely

If you take blood thinners on a permanent basis, and your bleeding time is within a safe range, treatment can proceed as normal. If the bleeding time is high, other steps may need to be taken (in consultation with your physician). In general, reducing or stopping your blood thinning medication is avoided. Ultimately, the decision will have to take into account all pertinent factors, but it’s generally possible to ensure patients can receive the dental care they need without exposing them to undue risk.

Teeth cleaning and comprehensive dentistry in Red Deer

If you need dental work, trust the experts at Parkland Mall Dental Centre. Our dentists in Red Deer can help with all your dental needs, from teeth cleaning and restorations to root canals and extractions. Contact us today to find out how we can help or to make an appointment.