3 Ways Your Medications Can Cause Post-Extraction Complications

The complexity of tooth extractions can range from simple to extensive, depending upon the condition of your teeth, their surrounding structures, the presence of infection, and whether or not they are impacted. In addition to these factors, pre-existing medical conditions, as well as certain medications can play roles in how well you recover after getting your teeth pulled. Here are three ways your medications can lead to post-extraction complications, and what you can do about them:


If you take anticoagulant medications such as aspirin or prescription warfarin, you may be at a heightened risk for developing excessive or prolonged bleeding after your dental extractions. These anticoagulant medications decrease platelet aggregation, and while these drugs typically do not reduce the number of your platelets, they make them less sticky.

When your platelets lack stickiness, your blood becomes thinner and less likely to clot. Tell your oral surgeon if you are taking aspirin or prescription anticoagulant medications prior to your surgery date. You may be advised to stop taking them a week or so prior to having your procedure.

If your physician has recommended that you take a daily aspirin to help prevent a heart attack or stroke, do not stop taking them without first getting medical clearance. Doing so may raise your risk for developing a life-threatening blood clot or abnormal heart rhythm.  

Oral Dryness

Many medications can cause dry mouth, including beta blockers. These drugs are used in the management of high blood pressure, migraine headaches, cardiac arrhythmia, hand tremors, and in certain cases, anxiety and panic attacks. Other medications that can cause oral dryness include antihistamines, diuretics, or "water pills," anti-anxiety drugs, and antidepressants.

If you have a persistent dry mouth, you may be at a higher risk for developing an infection after you undergo dental surgery. Adequate amounts of saliva help wash away infection-causing oral bacteria in your mouth, so when enough saliva is not being produced, either because of medications or certain health conditions, microorganisms can build up in your mouth, leading to infection.

If you experience a dry mouth as a result of your medications, tell your dentist. He or she can recommend an enzyme-based oral rinse to help restore moisture to your oral cavity. This will help keep you more comfortable while reducing your risk for infection after your dental procedure.

It is important to note, however, that if your dentist recommends a therapeutic mouthwash for you to help improve symptoms of oral dryness, do not vigorously swish it around your mouth after your dental extraction. Doing so may disrupt the protective clot that has formed over the socket, which may raise your risk for a prolonged bleeding episode. 


In addition to oral dryness and an increased risk for bleeding, certain medications can raise your risk for developing an infection after getting your teeth pulled. Medications such as prednisone, which is a corticosteroid, can increase circulating levels of blood glucose.

When your blood glucose, or blood sugar, is high, infections may be more likely to take hold. High glucose levels in your blood can cause elevated levels of glucose to develop inside your mouth. This can predispose you to an infection near your surgical site in your mouth, and may also raise your risk for developing oral yeast infections such as candida or oral thrush.

If you notice white patches on your tongue or insides of your cheeks, especially patches that scrape off easily and bleed, you may have yeast or fungal infection. Anti-fungal tablets or mouthwashes can help clear these types of infections, however, your physician may need to adjust your medications so that your blood sugar does not rise too high, predisposing you to further oral yeast infections.

If you take anticoagulants, antihistamines, beta blockers, diuretics, or medications to help treat a psychological condition, tell your dentist prior to your tooth extraction. When your dental professional is made aware of your medication history, more steps can be taken to help ensure that you enjoy an uneventful recovery period following your dental procedure.