Introduction: How It Works

I've noticed in practice that more patients are having a harder time clotting after I take out teeth.
There are a number of medications that interfere with clotting: warfarin, aspirin, certain herbal suppliments, etc.

This is a trick that I learned from Dr. Russ Webb, former president of CalAMOS (the oral surgeon's society).

Step 1: What You Do

Bite on a moistened tea bag*.
Bite for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
Bite on the same tea bag, and watch youtube or something...avoid strenuous activity...seriously.

Note: For best results, go with PLAIN tea--not just any herbal tea.
Certain types of tea: St. John's wort, etc, can prolong bleeding or cause an inflammatory response.
Especially, don't use cinnamon (unlike the picture)...please!

Step 2: How It Works

The teabag trick accelerates clotting follows along a pathway that can be affected by two things: pressure and tannins.

1. Pressure:
       By putting pressure on the extraction site for over 30 minutes, you give time for a blood clot to form.  This clot will help stop the bleeding by physically blocking off the area and triggering a positive feedback loop.

2. Tannins
       The tannins in the tea are noncompetitive inhibitors of thrombin (a key clotting factor)1, and also have mild antibacterial properties2.  While one would expect thrombin inhibition to slow down clotting, it's found that the blood clotting tends to be accelerated by the tannins in tea.3 

   1. Dong H, Chen SX, Kini RM, Xu HX.  Journal of Natural Products. 1998 Nov;61(11):1356-60.
"Effects of tannins from Geum japonicum on the catalytic activity of thrombin and factor Xa of blood coagulation cascade."

   2.  Akiyama H, Fujii K, Yamasaki O, Oono T, Iwatsuki K.  Journal of Antimicrobiotics and Chemotherapy. 2001 Oct;48(4):487-91.
"Antibacterial action of several tannins against Staphylococcus aureus."

   3. Chung KT, Wong TY, Wei CI, Huang YW, Lin Y.  Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 1998 Aug;38(6):421-64.
"Tannins and human health: a review."

Step 3: Shameless Plug

If you're in San Francisco, please stop by!
I'm on 1401 Noriega St, SF with Dr. Davis Louie.

If you have a toothache or just want to chat during lunch break, I'd love to meet you.

-Matthew Lau, DDS