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Taking Herbal Supplements Let Your Cosmetic Dentist Know

When you go to see your physician or cosmetic dentist, it’s quite common to be asked which medications you are taking. I’m sure you’re used to writing down the prescription or other over-the-counter medications you regularly take. Did you know that you should also inform your physician or dentist about the herbal supplements you are taking? Many people feel that herbal supplements are as safe and non-threatening as a Flintstone Vitamin. However, especially if you are going to have surgery or another invasive procedure performed or if you take prescription medications, it’s important to tell your physician or dentist about them.

Herbal supplements include Echinacea, which people may take to prevent colds, Black Cohosh for post-menopausal symptoms, Feverfew to prevent migraines, Saw Palmetto for prostate health, Garlic for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, Ginkgo for improving memory, St. John’s Wort for depression and so many more.

Why Tell Your Cosmetic Dentist?

Why is it that many patients do not disclose their taking herbal supplements? Because of the relative unproven effectiveness of herbal supplements compared with prescription or over-the-counter medications, some patients think their health professional may voice disapproval or question their actions. Other patients may think these supplements would not cause any harm nor affect their body like medications would. Still others may only take supplements occasionally, such as when they may be vulnerable to catching a cold.

Regardless of your perceptions, it’s important to inform your physician or dentist about these herbal supplements, and their dosage and frequency, for your optimal health. You may need to stop taking certain supplements from one to three weeks before surgery. For dental treatment, procedures include implant, oral and gum surgeries.

Some Herbals Don’t Mix Well with Cosmetic Surgery

According to the Mayo Clinic, these common herbal supplements can interfere with surgery:

Danshen – May cause bleeding.
Dong Quai – May cause bleeding.
Echinacea – May interfere with immune functioning, may alter effectiveness of immunosuppressant drugs given after transplant surgery.
Ephedra (ma huang) – May cause abnormal heartbeat, may cause extreme high blood pressure and coma if combined with certain anti-depressants and anesthesia.
Feverfew – May cause bleeding.
Garlic – May cause bleeding, may interfere with normal blood clotting.
Ginger – May cause bleeding.
Ginkgo – May cause bleeding.
Ginseng – May cause bleeding, may cause rapid heartbeat, may cause high blood pressure.
Goldenseal – May cause or worsen high blood pressure.
Kava – May increase sedative effects of anesthesia.
Licorice – May increase blood pressure.
Senna – May cause electrolyte imbalance.
St. John’s Wort – May increase or decrease the effects of some drugs used during and after surgery.
Valerian – May interfere with the effects of anesthesia.

The Mayo Clinic also recommends not mixing herbal supplements with prescription and over-the-counter medication. They advise caution in taking herbal supplements if any of the following types of medications are being used: Blood pressure medications, blood thinners (anti-coagulants, anti-platelet agents, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – NSAIDs – such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen), diabetes medications, drugs that affect the liver, heart medications, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

In addition, the Mayo Clinic lists herbal supplements that may cause harmful side effects if used with certain medications: Black Cohosh, Dong Quai, Ephedra, Feverfew, Garlic, Ginkgo, Ginseng, Goldenseal, Kava, Milk Thistle, Scotch Broom, St. John’s Wort.

Keep in mind that even though herbal supplements are labeled “natural,” they do have active ingredients that have the potential to cause complications after surgery or affect anesthesia, and may interact with other medications. Be sure to keep your health professional informed of which herbal supplements you take.

Dr. Wynn Okuda is an award winning international leader in cosmetic dentistry. He is one of only 280 dentists in the world to be accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). Dr. Okuda turned the dental profession on its head nearly a decade ago, replacing pain, fear, & discomfort with the Dental Day Spa system. His offices for cosmetic, restorative and implant dentistry are located in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Dr. Okuda has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, American Spa, Shape Magazine, Better Homes & Garden, Health & Fitness Sports Magazine, New Woman, and dozens more!

Dr. Okuda is the founder of “Give Back A Smile,” a charitable foundation of the AACD which helps survivors of domestic violence throughout the nation to restore their smiles and lives. He has assembled nearly 1,000 cosmetic dentists nationwide to help fight against domestic violence.