Excessive bleeding can become a serious problem during any surgical procedure. In dentistry, the procedures most likely to cause bleeding include dental extractions, gum surgery, deep cleaning of the gums, biopsies, and other minor surgical procedures. Dentists, oral surgeons and medical doctors who perform surgical procedures use many techniques to stop bleeding. Recently, researchers at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists reported that a potato-based powder can instantly clot blood to help stop bleeding.
Dentists use several techniques to stop bleeding. The most common involve closing a wound with stitches, packing a bleeding area with an absorbent agent such as gel foam, cauterization, and direct pressure. Despite these methods, in some cases, it is still difficult to stop bleeding in a timely fashion. Fortunately, a new product made of purified potato applied as a fine powder produces immediate coagulation at the surface of a wound, and then normal blood clotting. The powder, just approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, acts like a sponge to soak up water and blood plasma, and then is harmlessly degraded by the body. In a small study of 30 volunteers, small incisions were made on the forearm. In 77 percent of the people, bleeding was stopped instantly with the potato-based agent and direct pressure. Another important benefit of this new product is that there is substantially less potential for allergic reactions when compared to alternative clotting agents.
In most cases, bleeding following surgical dental treatment is easily stopped by conventional methods. There are some situations, however, when bleeding can be difficult to control. People who take certain medications or have diseases that predispose them to bleeding may still have excessive bleeding despite routine measures. In these cases, or during normal surgical dental treatment, the use of this safe, new product may soon be available to help stop bleeding more quickly than before.
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