Blood Thinners and Dental Implants
I treat many patients who take blood thinners on a regular basis. The concern with taking a blood thinner during implant treatment is continued bleeding.
The most common blood thinners are Aspirin, Warfarin (Coumadin), and Plavix. These blood thinners are taken for a variety of cardiovascular reasons. Coumadin and Plavix are the stronger medications. Aspirin is usually milder depending if it is 81 mg versus 325 mg. Some patients that have atrial fibrillation or artificial heart valves have to take these medications for life. Your doctor may advise you not to stop taking your blood thinner for any reason.
There are also other more modern blood thinner such as Xarelto and Pradaxa.
This does not mean you can’t have dental implants or bone grafting!
I actually prefer my patients to stay on the blood thinners during the surgical appointments. There are safe techniques that can be used to reduce and stop bleeding without discontinuing your medication. Most **basic** implant procedures do not cause that much bleeding. Some bone grafts/dental implant/extractions can cause severe bleeding. Often times, I will speak to your doctor in advance of the procedure. I usually will have you test your blood INR value in advance of the procedure to see how thin the blood is. The risk of “thickening” the blood could cause unwanted consequences.
Oftentimes, your medical doctor may want you to discontinue the blood thinner for a few days in advance of the procedure and generally restart that evening. Each case is very unique with unique risks and benefits.
Should you have to continue on the blood thinner for the surgery, you may experience some prolonged bleeding. The short amount of time that will last is well worth the long term benefits dental implants provide!
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