Anticoagulants are chemicals that prevent or reduce the blood's ability to clot. They do this by interrupting or preventing the coagulation of blood cells. As medication, anticoagulants are given for numerous purposes, including the prevention or treatment of heart attacks, stroke, or other thrombotic disorders that result in the restriction of blood flow. In nature, anticoagulants are present in haemovores (i.e. an animal that primarily feeds on blood) such as leeches.
Note about dual antiplatlet therapy: Patients are often prescribed ASA plus a ADP/P2Y inhibitor. This is referred to as dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT).
Guidance from the Scottish Dental Society on low vs high risk procedures is included below. In general, consult with the patients physician before stopping anticoagulation for high risk procedures and consider the use of local hemostatic measures such as Surgicel and/or gelfoam.
In addition; consider use of Point of Care device to measure INR for patients who are on coumadin, and limiting dentoalveolar surgery to INR <3.0. Antiplatlet medications may need to be stopped 7 days prior to surgery, and Xa anticoagulants 1-2 days prior in consultation with the patients physician.