Is it okay to have dental treatment when taking Warfarin?
Your doctor has prescribed the prescription anti-coagulant Warfarin for you to prevent your body from forming blood clots that threaten your health. However, your dentist decides a little gum surgery is necessary to prevent infection and any resulting tooth loss.
Is it ok to have dental treatment when taking warfarin? Do you stop taking the Warfarin for a time before and after the oral surgery because you fear excessive bleeding?
If you do stop taking the medication, are you placing yourself at risk for a blood clot?
The pain in the gum around your teeth tells you there is no opting out of the surgery.
It has only been in the last eight to ten years that dentists and oral surgeons have come to recognise that it is relatively safe for patients taking Warfarin to undergo dental procedures. Before that time, dental patients were advised to stop taking their medication for a period before and after treatment for fear of excessive bleeding. However, studies have concluded that taking Warfarin before, during and after dental treatment is safe.
Dental cleanings, extractions and gum surgery are important to overall health. Some researchers even think there may be a link between oral health and heart health. There is no need to neglect your oral health just because you take Warfarin. Bleeding from these procedures is minimal and not much different than for those not taking an anticoagulant. Stopping Warfarin, even during dental procedures, is a bigger health risk.
If your doctor has prescribed Warfarin for you, it is important to make that known to your dentist before any dental treatment. Your dentist may use sutures or compresses as necessary to assure bleeding is under control before sending you home. Your dentist may also want to speak to your doctor or see blood test results showing your International Normalised Ratio (INR) is at or below 4. That number just shows Warfarin is keeping your blood clotting ability within the normal range.