Patients on anticoagulants or antiplatelet drugs: updated guidance 

21 March, 2022 / infocus
 Will Peakin  

The Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) at NHS Education Scotland (NES) has published the second edition of its highly accessed Management of Dental Patients Taking Anticoagulants or Antiplatelet Drugs guidance.

The guidance provides clear and practical recommendations to support dental teams to manage and treat this patient group safely and effectively. Aspects of the guidance will also be of relevance to medical professionals, including those who prescribe or dispense anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs. 

It includes advice to inform bleeding risk assessment and decision making for the dental treatment of patients prescribed anticoagulants or antiplatelet drugs. It is based on the most current evidence and has been updated using SDCEP’s NICE accredited methodology.  

The full Guidance and summary Quick Reference Guide, together with information to share with patients before and after they receive dental care, is available via the SDCEP website

Steven Johnston, Senior Dental Officer, NHS Orkney and Chair of the group that developed the second edition of the guidance, said:  “Prescribing of anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs has increased since publication of the first edition of the guidance and dental practitioners are increasingly likely to encounter patients taking them, particularly the Direct Oral Anticoagulants or DOACs.

“The second edition of the guidance provides up-to-date recommendations to continue to help clinicians manage dental care for these patients and includes the newer DOAC edoxaban and expanded advice about the low molecular weight heparins.”

The dental faculties of the Royal Colleges, and the College of General Dentistry have endorsed the guidance as a source of reliable, high quality professional advice that promotes the provision of safe and effective oral health care for patients. 

SDCEP is a National Dental Advisory Committee (NDAC) initiative working within NHS Education for Scotland (NES). SDCEP supports improvements in the quality of dental care by providing user-friendly guidance on topics that are priorities for dental healthcare.  

Professor Jan Clarkson, SDCEP’s director, said: “In this updated guidance, we have also taken the opportunity to incorporate some advice to support environmentally sustainable oral health. This signifies the beginning of SDCEP’s commitment to embedding sustainability considerations into all of its guidance.”

Dr David Felix, Postgraduate Dental Dean for Scotland and Director of Dentistry, NES, added: “NES welcomes the publication of the new edition of Management of Dental Patients Taking Anticoagulants or Antiplatelet Drugs as a valuable resource for dental professionals in Scotland and beyond.

“The high-quality work of SDCEP continues to support the delivery of oral healthcare which is safe, effective and person-centred by promoting new thinking and the adoption of research evidence into clinical practice.

“The endorsement of the guidance by a number of key stakeholders is important in signifying broad professional support. Members of the development group are to be congratulated on their achievement in updating this guidance.” 

Further information on the work of SDCEP is available at  

Tags: anticoagulants / antiplatelet drugs / NES

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