If you've been prescribed warfarin to thin your blood, your blood will have lost some of its ability to clot. While this may be an essential part of your medical treatment, being on a blood-thinning drug can prove difficult in some situations.

If your blood has lost the ability to clot as it should, any bleeding you have may take longer to stop. While this may not be an issue in your everyday life, it may be problematic when you need dental surgery that involves cutting into the gum, such as dental implants. If you're on warfarin, you may need to take special measures before and after the implant procedure.

What Happens Before Implant Treatment?

If you're taking warfarin and you want to use an implant to replace a missing tooth, the first thing you need to do is to tell your dentist that you are using this medication. Your dentist needs to assess how your dosage affects your blood and the implications your medication may have after implant treatment. Your dentist may also want to involve your doctor in this part of the decision-making process.

In some cases, your dentist and doctor may agree that implant surgery is not going to pose a major risk of bleeding for you, and you may be advised to proceed with the procedure. If your dentist or doctor think that it may be too hard to contain your bleeding after the implant procedure, you may be advised to temporarily reduce your warfarin dose before the treatment.

Warning: Neither you nor your dentist should make the decision to change your warfarin dosage without medical advice. Reducing your medication may be dangerous, and you should only do this if your doctor tells you to make the change.

What Happens After Implant Treatment?

Your blood isn't likely to clot in the regular way after surgery. Typically, bleeding after an implant stops naturally when the blood in the wound forms a clot; however, your blood may not be able to do this. Your dentist should have ways to help you stop bleeding more quickly. For example, your dentist may apply a haemostatic gauze to the wound site that contains a substance that will encourage your blood to clot after the procedure. In some cases, you may be advised to have the wound stitched.

If your dentist or doctor feel that you shouldn't have an implant or you don't want to take on the additional risk, you can talk to your dentist about other ways of filling a gap in your teeth. For example, partial dentures or bridges may give you an alternative solution.