What consequences are there, when extensive dental work is needed, in light of the often compromised health of aging seniors? Of course, the answer depends on the health problem facing the senior. It can be diabetes, high blood pressure, heart conditions including prior by-pass surgery or stint placement, joint replacement or bone density treatments with bisphosphonates. Seniors worry most about the effect that blood thinners will have if they need dental extractions. It used to be that, faced with a single or multiple extractions, a person on blood thinners would be taken off the blood thinning medication for at least 5 days before the surgery and 2 to 3 days following the surgery. Medical studies showed that there were more complications for people being off their medication for the approximate week than complications from bleeding following surgery, while still taking their blood thinning medication. So the standard protocol now followed is for the patient to go ahead with the tooth extraction and keep taking their medications. Now with anything there are no 100% rules to follow for all circumstances. If a person is not having his clotting time check periodically by his physician and or has been warned that he or she is at greater risk than normal for being on blood thinning medication when faced with surgery and should check with his physician before any scheduled surgery, than this situation might be different. Dosages of medication can be changed etc.
What I have observed is this: even when I have to remove multiple teeth as for an immediate denture, the wound sites may be a little more oozy for a few more days but I have not had to send anyone back to their physician for clotting factor therapy. Single or multiple tooth extractions are generally tolerated without complication by people on blood thinners.