Oral Health Group

Treating dental patients who use oral antithrombotic medication – survey of dentists in the Netherlands

December 17, 2011
by ken


DE van Diermen et al From JADA – Dec 2011

Background. For many years, international guidelines have advised health care professionals not to adjust oral antithrombotic medication (OAM) regimens before invasive dental procedures. The authors conducted a study to examine the opinions of Dutch general dentists regarding the dental care of patients receiving treatment with these medications.

Methods. The authors invited via e-mail 1,442 general dentists in the Netherlands to answer a 20-item Internet-based questionnaire that they developed. Survey items consisted of questions about medical history taking, number of patients in the dental practice receiving OAM therapy, frequency of consulting with medical and dental colleagues and suggested dental treatment of patients during various invasive dental procedures.

Results. A total of 487 questionnaires were returned (response rate of 34 percent). The mean age of respondents was 47 years, and 77 percent were male. The majority of dentists responded that they obtain medical histories, but that they did not know how many of their patients were receiving OAM treatment. Dentists reported that they consult with medical colleagues frequently about antithrombotic medication. Ninety-one percent of respondents stated that they obtained their medical knowledge primarily in dental school. More than 50 percent of the dentists reported that they were not familiar with the international normalized ratio. The majority of dentists responded that they felt a need for clinical practice guidelines.

Conclusions. According to the results of our survey, most dentists remain cautious when performing invasive dental procedures in patients who are treated with OAMs. Moreover, survey respondents tended to estimate that the risk of bleeding during dental procedures when OAM therapy is continued is higher than the risk of rethrombosis when use of antithrombotic medication is interrupted.

Clinical Implications. A growing proportion of elderly patients and those with medically complex conditions are being treated in dental practices in the Netherlands. Consequently, more needs to be done to ensure that dentists are offered evidence-based guidance when treating patients who receive OAMs.

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