What should I do if I'm taking warfarin and need to have a root canal?

If you're taking warfarin and need to have a root canal procedure, tell your dentist or dental surgeon that you are taking warfarin. Also, tell your doctor that you are going to have a root canal. Your doctor may decide to change your dose of warfarin or stop taking your warfarin before the dental procedure.

Warfarin and other anticoagulants (blood thinners) do not need to be stopped prior to having a root canal performed. If you require oral surgery, like having a tooth extracted, a blood test to determine your INR will be needed. An INR of 1 is normal and the higher the number, the greater the risk of bleeding. If your INR is less than 2.5, most oral surgery can be completed without the need to alter your medication. In recent years, it has been shown to be too risky to take someone off their Warfarin for most routine dental surgery. The decision of whether to stop taking your medication should be made together with you, your dentist and your medical doctor.

If you're taking warfarin and need to have a root canal, you need to inform your dentist or endodontist prior to your appointment.  Depends on your warfarin dosage, your dentist will coordinate with your physician to alter your course of medication intake or stop it temporarily.  In most cases, you may not need to make any changes at all.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.