Pregnancy is an exhilarating time, filled with excitement and preparation for your new baby. Taking care of our teeth while pregnant can often be the very last thing on our minds and most of us have no idea just how important it is! Both for you and the new baby, maintaining optimum oral health during pregnancy is a must!
Most dental services and procedures, including dental x-rays, tooth extractions, dental fillings, and dental cleanings, can be done during pregnancy safely, with tooth extractions recommended during your second or third trimester. Fillings should be discussed with your dentist beforehand. Read on to find answers to the most common questions about dental care during pregnancy.
Can I Get a Dental X-Ray While Pregnant?
Pregnancy and teeth problems sometimes seem to go together. The extra wear and tear on your teeth caused by hormones, nausea, and extra snacking can sometimes cause problems. It is important that you get the dental care you need during pregnancy.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Family Physicians, dental x-rays are considered safe during pregnancy. Your dentist can shield you and the baby with a lead vest or apron, so that you are both protected. Be sure to inform your dentist and the technician that you are pregnant before the x-ray.
Newer digital x-rays use a smaller dose of x-rays than traditional x-rays and are safer. However, it is understandable that you would want to avoid unnecessary x-rays during your pregnancy. Some dental procedures can be delayed until after the baby is born, but do not hesitate to undergo necessary dental treatments. When in doubt, talk to your dentist about your options.
Are There Pregnancy Risks for Tooth Extractions?
The ADA has determined that tooth extractions are safe during pregnancy. If you need an extraction during pregnancy, try to schedule it during your second trimester or after you’ve given birth. During the first trimester, your baby’s vital organs are developing, and you will want to avoid every possible risk including medicines and antibiotics. The third trimester is also safe. However, it can be uncomfortable to lie on your back for long periods of time.
Be extra vigilant about your oral health care during pregnancy to avoid unnecessary extractions. If you must have an extraction, consult with your dentist and obstetrician about painkillers and antibiotics that are safe.
Is Dental Anesthesia Safe During Pregnancy?
A 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) found that dental treatment with local anesthetics is safe, including treatments during the first trimester. Researchers found no effects on pregnancy outcomes among women who received local anesthetics during pregnancy.
The researchers claim that many women delay seeing a dentist when pregnant, even when dental problems occur. “It is a crucial period of time in a woman’s life and maintaining oral health is directly related to good overall health,” said Dr. Hagai. “Dentists and physicians should encourage pregnant women to maintain their oral health by continuing to receive routine dental care and seeking treatment when problems arise.” If you are worried about dental anesthesia during pregnancy, consult your dentist when pregnant about the safety of any dental treatment and ask him to use as little anesthesia as possible, as long as you are comfortable. If you are in pain, you and the baby will be stressed, so request additional numbing when necessary.
Can You Get Dental Fillings During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy may carry an additional risk of dental carries due to morning sickness and the increased acidity in the mouth, cravings for sugary snacks, and decreased attention on oral health. Compounding the problem, some women put off dental care due to worries about the pregnancy.
It is natural to be worried about getting dental fillings during pregnancy. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Dental Association agree that cavities can be treated safely at any time during pregnancy. If possible. schedule fillings during the second trimester when the risk of nausea has passed.
Dental amalgams used in “silver fillings” do contain mercury and can pose a small risk to the baby. Discuss potential amalgams and their risks with your dentist if you need a filling. He or she may recommend a temporary filling or filling with a different amalgam. Listen to your dentist during pregnancy on what teeth fillings can be safe for you and your baby.
Despite these risks, it is safer to treat dental problems during pregnancy than to wait. The risks of not treating an infection or other dental problem are significant to the mother and child. Tell your dentist when pregnant and trust him or her to recommend the safest treatments.
Can I get Dental Cleaning While I’m Pregnant?
Dental cleanings during pregnancy are not only safe, they are encouraged. Pregnancy gingivitis is a common problem during pregnancy and can be prevented or treated by regular dental cleanings. Signs of gingivitis include:
- Bleeding gums during brushing or flossing
- Red puffy gums
- Tenderness when brushing or flossing
But don’t wait until signs of infection are present, schedule an extra dental cleaning during your second trimester. Pregnancy hormones, increased blood flow, and mouth irritation due to morning sickness all work together to cause gum irritation and “pregnancy gingivitis.” In some cases, inflammation and infections can spread, causing additional risks. Most dentists agree that an extra dental cleaning during pregnancy is a good precaution against pregnancy gingivitis and its associated risks.
When Should I Tell My Dentist About My Pregnancy?
You should always tell your dentist you are pregnant before any dental appointment. He or she will carefully consider which treatments are appropriate and whether additional precautions are necessary. By telling your dentist about your pregnancy as soon as possible, your dentist can provide a better road map and recommendations for your dental care during that time.
Your dentist knows your dental health situation and may recommend extra precautions such as extra cleanings. If you do not have an appointment scheduled, call the office and ask whether you should schedule a cleaning and try to get any necessary treatments scheduled during the second trimester.
Should I Follow Up with My Dentist After I Give Birth?
During pregnancy and following a birth, your teeth and gums go through changes, just as your body does. It is a good idea to follow up with your dentist after you give birth. At this time, any treatments that have been postponed can be finished and your dentist can assess the health of your teeth and gum.
A follow up with your dentist can happen shortly after birth, after you’ve recovered, and should be scheduled no later than your bi-annually check-up. For your child’s dental health, a visit to the dentist should occur as soon as their first tooth comes through but no later than their first birthday.
Don’t Avoid Dental Care During Your Pregnancy
Issues that arise from dental care can also present challenges to your pregnancy. During your pregnancy, you are going to consult with many specialists and physicians about your and your baby’s health. A dentist should be treated as an extension of your healthcare team, and most dental services and procedures can still be performed while you are carrying your child.
Good preventative care and follow up care are important to keeping your mouth healthy. By bringing your dentist into the conversion – early and often – you can help prevent or treat oral care issues that would have popped up otherwise. If you need preventative care or emergency care, don’t hesitate to call Westend Dental. Our team of dentists care about you and baby. We stay up to date on dental procedures to make sure you get the best advice and care.