One important drug that is often left off the medical history form at the dental office is aspirin (ASA, Ecotrin®, Empirin, Easprin, and Measurin). The reason appears to be that over-the-counter medications like aspirin are so widespread that the perception of their potency is often underrated. When we are asked about taking any medications, most of us instantly think about prescription medications and waiting in line at the pharmacy. We are much less likely to think about the bottle of aspirin we picked up at the supermarket.
Aspirin is a potent drug that is used for a wide variety of conditions. The primary function of aspirin is to reduce pain, swelling and fever. Aspirin is often used to ease the discomfort associated with toothache and headache, reduce the risk of a second heart attack, relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and other medical uses. Despite its importance, one important side effect of aspirin is that it can increase bleeding. This is of critical importance to any doctor who is performing a surgical procedure.
This includes your dentist when providing certain types of treatment. The dental procedures expected to cause bleeding include dental extractions, deep dental teeth cleaning procedures under the gum-line, gum surgery and biopsies. The daily use of aspirin can cause excessive and prolonged bleeding during and after these procedures. It is also important to remember that aspirin used in combination with other blood thinners, such as Coumadin® (warfin sodium), Ticlid® (ticlopidine), and Persantine® (dipyridamole) can increase bleeding even more than aspirin alone.
In some cases, aspirin should be avoided for at least one week prior to dental procedures that are expected to cause bleeding. The decision to alter your aspirin intake should be made with the consultation of your family doctor (or specialist) and your dentist. You should always include any over-the-counter drugs on your dentist's medical history form, especially aspirin and aspirin containing compounds.
Remember, only a dentist can diagnose your dental problems and offer the right treatment plan for you. If you need a dentist, call us at 1-866-970-0441 to be connected with one today.