Interventions for managing bleeding after tooth removal

Review question

We conducted this review to assess different interventions for treating bleeding after tooth removal.

Background

After tooth extraction, it is normal for the area to bleed and then clot, generally within a few minutes. It is abnormal if bleeding continues without clot formation, or lasts beyond 8 to 12 hours; this is known as post-extraction bleeding (PEB). Such bleeding incidents can cause distress for patients, who might need emergency dental consultations and interventions. The causes of PEB can be local, a systemic disease, or a medication. To control this bleeding, many local and systemic methods have been practised, based on the clinician's expertise. To inform clinicians about the best treatment, evidence is needed from studies where people have been randomly allocated to one of at least two different groups, which receive different treatments, or no treatment (i.e. 'randomised controlled trials' or RCTs).

Study characteristics

Authors working with Cochrane Oral Health carried out this review of RCTs that assessed interventions to treat bleeding after tooth removal. We searched medical and dental literature up to 22 March 2016. We found no RCTs that met the inclusion criteria for this review.

Key results and quality of the evidence

This review revealed that there is no RCT evidence for the effectiveness of any available treatment for treating post-extraction bleeding. High quality RCTs are needed to help clinicians and patients make informed choices about treatment options.

Authors' conclusions: 

We were unable to identify any reports of randomised controlled trials that evaluated the effects of different interventions for the treatment of post-extraction bleeding. In view of the lack of reliable evidence on this topic, clinicians must use their clinical experience to determine the most appropriate means of treating this condition, depending on patient-related factors. There is a need for well designed and appropriately conducted clinical trials on this topic, which conform to the CONSORT statement (www.consort-statement.org/).

Read the full abstract...
Background: 

Post-extraction bleeding (PEB) is a recognised, frequently encountered complication in dental practice, which is defined as bleeding that continues beyond 8 to 12 hours after dental extraction. The incidence of post-extraction bleeding varies from 0% to 26%. If post-extraction bleeding is not managed, complications can range from soft tissue haematomas to severe blood loss. Local causes of bleeding include soft tissue and bone bleeding. Systemic causes include platelet problems, coagulation disorders or excessive fibrinolysis, and inherited or acquired problems (medication induced). There is a wide array of techniques suggested for the treatment of post-extraction bleeding, which include interventions aimed at both local and systemic causes.

Objectives: 

To assess the effects of interventions for treating different types of post-extraction bleeding.

Search strategy: 

We searched the following electronic databases: The Cochrane Oral Health Group Trials Register (to 22 March 2016); The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; The Cochrane Library 2016, Issue 2); MEDLINE via OVID (1946 to 22 March 2016); CINAHL via EBSCO (1937 to 22 March 2016). Due to the ongoing Cochrane project to search EMBASE and add retrieved clinical trials to CENTRAL, we searched only the last 11 months of EMBASE via OVID (1 May 2015 to 22 March 2016). We placed no further restrictions on the language or date of publication. We searched the US National Institutes of Health Trials Register (http://clinicaltrials.gov), and the WHO Clinical Trials Registry Platform for ongoing trials (http://apps.who.int/trialsearch/default.aspx). We also checked the reference lists of excluded trials.

Selection criteria: 

We considered randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated any intervention for treating PEB, with male or female participants of any age, regardless of type of teeth (anterior or posterior, mandibular or maxillary). Trials could compare one type of intervention with another, with placebo, or with no treatment.

Data collection and analysis: 

Three pairs of review authors independently screened search records. We obtained full papers for potentially relevant trials. If data had been extracted, we would have followed the methods described in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions for the statistical analysis.

Main results: 

We did not find any randomised controlled trial suitable for inclusion in this review.

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