Currently, the number of patients on oral anticoagulation is increasing. There is a paucity of data regarding maintaining oral anticoagulation (especially novel oral anticoagulants) around the time of specific dental procedures. A dentist has three options: either to stop anticoagulation, to continue it, or to bridge with heparin. A systematic review of 10 clinical trials was conducted to address this issue. It was found that continuing anticoagulation during dental procedures did not increase the risk of bleeding in most trials. Although none of the studies reported a thromboembolic event after interruption of anticoagulation, the follow-up periods were short and inconsistent, and the heightened thromboembolic risk when stopping anticoagulation is well known in the literature. Heparin bridging was associated with an increased bleeding incidence. We recommend maintaining oral anticoagulation with vitamin K antagonists and novel oral anticoagulants for the vast majority of dental procedures along with the use of local hemostatic agents.
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