Discussing medical history with dentists before surgery can save patients lives

November 26th, 2008 - 11:23 am ICT by ANI  

Washington, November 26 (ANI): Dental patients can avoid the risk of permanent disability or death by disclosing to their dentists all prescribed and over-the-counter medicines they have been taking before undergoing any surgery, according to a study.
Published in the journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), the study suggests that stopping anti-platelet medications prior to a surgical procedure increases the risk of permanent disability or death.
The authors of the study say that the probability of a patient bleeding depends the over-the-counter and/or prescribed drug or combinations of drugs.
“A thorough drug history should be reviewed prior to any procedures,” says Mary Aubertin, DMD, lead author of the study.
“The dentist and the patient should discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with or without the drugs versus no treatment and include the patient’’s physician’’s opinion in the decision making process. This will allow everyone involved to understand and prevent medical risks,” she says.
Carolyn Taggart-Burns, a spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry, says: “Excessive bleeding is a major concern with many dental procedures due to the extensive prescribing of blood thinners in America. Heart disease is so prevalent that many patients are on these drugs, which can complicate even the simplest procedure.”
Dr. Taggart-Burns insists that it is for patients that they communicate their medical history with their dentists so as to enable them to provide the best care possible.
The report further recommends that patients who experience excessive bleeding or bruising after the surgery, in spite of applying pressure to the site with wet gauze or a wet tea bag for 20-30 minutes, better contact the dentist for evaluation and treatment.
“Informing the dentist of medical issues is the first step. Working with the patient’’s physician and the patient to develop a plan is also important. Last, staying healthy is the best way to have a successful procedure,” says Dr. Taggart-Burns.
Overall, the report suggests that before a dental procedure, a patient should schedule a consultation with the dentist, disclose all prescribed and over-the-counter medications, disclose their medical history and concern, discuss the risk and benefits of treatment with or with out the drugs, and ask the dentist whether they have an office emergency plan. (ANI)

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