Visiting the dentist when pregnant: dental care & procedures

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As excited as it is to prepare for your little one’s arrival, you should not forget to take care of yourself as well. Visiting the dentist when pregnant might not sound as fun as shopping for your baby’s clothes, but they are also very important. Some pregnant women might have concerns about going to the dentist, but don’t worry! We got your back.

In this article, we’ll take you through what you need to know about your dentist visits, dental care, and necessary procedures during pregnancy. So that you protect your oral and dental health during pregnancy in the best way possible. Hope you carry your beautiful pregnancy smile everywhere you go!

Is it safe to go to the dentist?

Visiting the dentist when pregnant is safe in most cases. In fact, one of the best things you can do before pregnancy is to go to a dentist and fix any existing mouth or dental issues. Of course, this does not mean that you should only go once. You need to regularly see your dentist until you have your baby. Why? Because changes related to pregnancy hormones increase the risk of some dental and oral diseases which can easily affect you and your baby’s health. For example, you are more likely to suffer from gum diseases during pregnancy, such as pregnancy gingivitis.

On top of that, there is no harm in having dental procedures such as tooth cleaning, filling, and even root canals. When your worries don’t get in the way of your dental treatments, you and your baby will have a healthy life and smile! Now you can go get your dental cleanings done peacefully!

Safety of dental X-rays during pregnancy

One of the procedures that pregnant patients are most concerned about is dental X-rays. Are they actually safe? Well, the answer is, yes. According to the American Dental Association, dental X-rays that are performed with appropriate precautions are safe for pregnant women. But only when it’s an absolute necessity and of course, with extra precautions. In fact, X-Rays are quite useful in making the correct diagnosis of periodontal diseases such as pyogenic granuloma a.k.a pregnancy tumors, gingivitis, periodontitis, and dental caries that may worsen during pregnancy.

The right diagnosis is crucial because if you leave ongoing issues by themselves they can get progressively worse. And untreated tooth decay and other issues might result in poor pregnancy outcomes. So how do you protect your baby from radiation when getting an X-Ray? You’ll wear an apron! Now, you may be asking, excuse me but how exactly will a simple apron protect my precious baby? Well, it’s made out of lead. They’ll make sure that it’s covering your belly and thyroid at the clinic. There is even a thing called a lead thyroid collar. Apart from protection, health care providers will expose you to as little radiation as possible.

Safety of dental anesthesia during pregnancy

If you’re pregnant and wondering whether it’s safe to get numbed at the dentist, we have some good news for you! Local anesthesia in dental procedures actually appears to be safe. According to one study, local anesthetics such as lidocaine have almost no negative effects on the mother or fetus. This anesthetic is used in most dental treatments. So you’ll likely receive this kind of dental anesthetic. But in order for your dentist to determine the dose and type of anesthesia they’re going to use, you should inform your dentist of any underlying medical condition.

Besides lidocaine, nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is another anesthetic used in procedures. It’s mostly safe but raises some concerns if you are pregnant. According to one study, exposure to high levels of nitrous oxide might increase the risk of miscarriage and congenital anomalies. For this reason, avoid nitrous oxide during your pregnancy if possible. But if a dental emergency arises, the benefits of treatment will outweigh the potential risks associated with nitrous oxide.

Anesthetics during pregnancy are generally considered safe under these circumstances but there’s one last thing that is important. Since according to the same study we mentioned earlier, the drug might affect the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy. So, such treatments are better done after the second trimester unless it is urgent. What we are trying to say is that if you’re thinking about postponing a necessary dental treatment, don’t. In fact, it is beneficial to have it because untreated dental diseases may cause greater problems for your baby in the future. (1)

Restorative dental procedures during pregnancy

Dental procedures can be daunting for all of us at times. Especially if you are pregnant, it is quite normal for you to be concerned about your baby’s safety. Even with extra attention to oral hygiene, you can experience oral issues due to pregnancy-related changes in your body. And sometimes, certain dental diseases may need restorative dental procedures. Let’s say you have to get your wisdom teeth removed or you might need crowns and implants. What do you do? You need them but you just can’t stop asking yourself “Is it safe for me to have these procedures while pregnant?” Worry no more! You can safely undergo restorative dental procedures without any harm or danger. In fact, if you take the right procedure for your issue, you will not only prevent further complications but also reduce the risk of some poor pregnancy outcomes such as premature birth and low birth weight. Your dentist and clinic will guide you throughout this process to determine the best course of action for you and your baby’s health. So, no need to worry, just sit back and relax while we take care of your beautiful smile!

Crowns, bridges, and implants

It’s possible for pregnant women to suffer more dental problems during this period compared to pre-pregnancy lives. No need to worry though, everything has a solution. The way to resolve some of your dental conditions is through restorative procedures such as dental crowns, bridges, or implants. And yes, it’s safe to get these done. For example, if your dentist suggests getting a crown treatment, you are likely suffering from damaged teeth. Caps will be placed on your teeth to restore their former function and appearance.

But what if you have lost one or more teeth? In this case, the fixed bridge does the work for you. This treatment involves anchoring the bridge onto neighboring teeth. And last but not least, dental implants give you a chance to experience the comfort of your lost teeth again. Your dentist will place a titanium post in your jawbone to screw your implant tooth into place. Local anesthesia, which you now know is safe, is used for all these restorative dental procedures. You won’t feel as much pain as a mosquito bite.

Wisdom teeth removal during pregnancy

Your wisdom teeth are acting up while you’re pregnant and the pain is unbearable? If that’s your situation, all you can probably think of is getting rid of them. But will you be safe getting the procedure done? Well, it depends. If you’re in the early stages of your pregnancy, your dentist can suggest postponing the removal procedure until birth. But if it’s an absolute necessity and you’re close to giving birth it can be done only with extra precautions though. And keep in mind that, your recovery might take a while so it can be a bit unpleasant. Just hold on there and take the bitter with the sweet. It’ll be worth the wait and pain.

Pregnancy smile with veneers

Carrying a child is a priceless experience and you deserve all the laughs in the world. So, every time you remember that you are literally giving life to a human being, you can feel butterflies in your stomach. These will make you want to smile more. But unfortunately, not all of us have perfect smiles and it’s fine. But also there’s nothing wrong with yearning for a mouthful, confident smile. However, we should point out that since this procedure is for cosmetic purposes, it is considered an extra and nonurgent one to get during pregnancy. It’s best for the baby’s health to postpone or avoid it, especially if it involves getting exposed to anesthesia or other medications. But if you still want to have it done, it would be wrong to say that this procedure is harmful. As long as you give your dentist the necessary information about your pregnancy, it is possible to have this procedure done with extra precautions. Just don’t get it done in the early stages of your pregnancy if possible. We know cosmetic dental procedures can be tempting, but don’t forget that the health of your baby should always come first.

Pregnancy and dental care: what you need to know

Your hormone levels change during pregnancy which can make your gums more prone to infection and inflammation. If you’re not aware of this, you might be doing things you shouldn’t be doing in your oral and dental care routine without even realizing it. As a result, these and similar oral diseases will eventually affect the health of your baby directly. How exactly though? Well, according to a study, infections and cariogenic bacteria have been found in the amniotic fluid of pregnant patients with gum disease who gave birth prematurely (3). So, this means when your baby’s health is affected, you may face poor pregnancy outcomes such as preeclampsia, premature birth, and low birth weight.

That’s why it’s important to educate yourself about oral health care during pregnancy. Whether it’s your general or dental health, take care of yourself and your baby in every way possible. If you don’t care about your dental health in the first place, it’s only a matter of time before your general health is affected.

Pregnancy and pearly whites: teeth whitening

If you’re considering teeth whitening, it’s best to be safe and avoid this particular treatment altogether. There is not enough research on whether teeth whitening is harmful during pregnancy. Thus, you should keep in mind that some chemicals used in the process could harm your developing baby.

Plus, with all the changes your body goes through during pregnancy, your teeth might be naturally more sensitive or prone to inflammation. This can make the treatment more uncomfortable or less effective. Instead, focus on good oral hygiene habits and regular dental checkups to keep your pearly whites healthy. And if you still dream of a brighter smile, wait until postpartum for this procedure. Your dentist will give the best advice for you.

Healthy smiles for two: deep cleaning during pregnancy

Pregnancy cravings can sometimes be irresistible. Frequent snacking on especially sugary foods can cause plaque to form in your gumline which might increase your risk of caries. That’s why maintaining good oral health is one of the most essential things during pregnancy, including regular dental cleanings. What we mean by dental cleanings is actually deep cleaning. Some pregnant women may shy away from it, but this procedure is pretty innocent and common. It is done to remove plaque and tartar that can build up under your gum line. So, if you’re expecting a baby, don’t forget to schedule regular professional cleanings. With routine cleaning, you can prevent severe gum diseases and keep your gums healthy throughout your pregnancy.

Prenatal dental care: treating gum disease

Gum diseases are common conditions that affect most pregnant women. Many studies say that these can increase the risk of many adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth. So, it is very important to pay attention to your prenatal care. You can keep your mouth healthy through treatment planning and regularly scheduled dental exams. This will help prevent pregnancyassociated gingivitis. Healthcare providers may recommend more frequent dental visits for women with periodontitis. Along with professional care, it is important to practice good oral hygiene at home by yourself. A good oral hygiene routine should look like this; brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and using mouthwash every day. By prioritizing prenatal care, you give your baby the best possible start in life.

References: 

1. Lee JM, Shin TJ. Use of local anesthetics for dental treatment during pregnancy; safety for parturient. Journal of Dental Anesthesia and Pain Medicine. 2017;17(2):81. doi:https://doi.org/10.17245/jdapm.2017.17.2.81

2.Favero V, Bacci C, Volpato A, Bandiera M, Favero L, Zanette G. Pregnancy and Dentistry: A Literature Review on Risk Management during Dental Surgical Procedures. Dentistry Journal. 2021;9(4):46. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/dj9040046

3. Offenbacher S, Lieff S, Boggess KA, et al. Maternal Periodontitis and Prematurity. Part I: Obstetric Outcome of Prematurity and Growth Restriction. Annals of Periodontology. 2001;6(1):164-174. doi:https://doi.org/10.1902/annals.2001.6.1.164

4. Yenen Z, Ataçağ T. Oral care in pregnancy. Journal of the Turkish German Gynecological Association. 2019;20(4):264-268. doi:https://doi.org/10.4274/jtgga.galenos.2018.2018.0139

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