Can I Go To The Dentist When I’m Pregnant? Dental care doesn’t need to stop when you are pregnant. Keeping your oral health in check is even more critical as you’re at risk of developing gum disease, tooth decay, and other complications. The physiological changes that promote the fetus’s healthy development and prepare your body for the upcoming delivery can negatively affect your oral health.
While pregnancy is a difficult time, the need for good dental care cannot be overemphasized. Unfortunately, there’s a mistaken belief that scheduling a dental visit while pregnant can be detrimental to you and your baby. Skimping on dental care during pregnancy means that you aren’t getting the care you need.
Should You Tell Your Dentist That You’re Pregnant?
Yes, it’s vital to detect complications and take the right steps to maintain good oral health. Delayed dental treatment can lead to problems during the later stages of your pregnancy. The high hormone levels stimulate bacterial growth in the mouth. A rise in the ovarian hormones such as estrogen and progesterone can lead to gingivitis (inflammation of the gingiva).
You can prevent gingivitis by:
- Using anti-gingivitis toothpaste
- Asking your dentist to recommend an anti-gingivitis mouthwash
- Using disposable floss picks at least once a day
- Using a mild baking soda solution to remove plaque
Taking the right steps to prevent gingivitis is vital to prevent gum disease before spreading to the jawbone. If having a tooth pulled or a cavity filled, you don’t have to worry about your safety or the medications that your dentist may use during the procedure. The dentist will choose safe medications to protect both you and your baby.
Is It Safe to Get a Regular Dental Cleaning While Pregnant?
Maintaining good oral health habits such as flossing daily, brushing at least twice a day, and going for dental checkups, can prevent complications during pregnancy. Most of the dental complications can worsen and lead to dental plaque.
If pregnant, you can prevent dental plaque by:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice daily with a rounded-tip toothbrush
- Flossing between teeth once daily to remove food particles
- Using an antibacterial mouth rinse (recommended by your dentist)
- Go for a comprehensive dental checkup in the first trimester
Regular dental exams are critical at this time as they can help to detect problems early and prevent complications down the road.
Going for dental cleanings during every trimester is safe. The first and second trimesters are the safest in which to schedule all forms of dental treatment. While the third trimester is also safe, you might be unable to lie on your back for long.
Supine Hypotensive Syndrome At The Dentist
One condition that all dentists should be aware of is supine hypotensive syndrome. This is a medical condition in which excessive pressure on the abdominal vena cava or aorta that leads to a significant drop in the patient’s blood pressure (measured as a drop in at least 15-30 mmHG in systolic readings).
This is most likely when a pregnant woman in the later stages (> 20 weeks of gestation) of her pregnancy lies on her back for an excessive period of time.
Symptoms of supine hypotensive syndrome include:
Treating or preventing supine hypotensive syndrome is as simple as tilting to the left to take the pressure off of those blood vessels. This can be accomplished by either placing a small cushion under the right hip or rolling more onto your left side.
Is It Safe to Get More Advanced Dental Work? (Crowns, Root Canal)
Advanced treatments such as root canal and crown treatments are safe during pregnancy. Filling cavities and getting crowns is vital to preventing pregnancy-related infections. Severe gum infection (periodontal disease) can lead to premature births.
A periodontal examination is one of the most necessary treatments during the first trimester. Root canal treatments eliminate infections and pain in the mouth by relieving pressure from inflammation in the pulp. Root canal treatments during pregnancy are vital to:
- Remove the dental pulp
- Clean out the inside of the tooth
- Prevent infection
- Prevent permanent tooth damage
Your dentist will undertake a radiographic analysis, periodontal probing, a gingival index, and mobility charting. These clinical exercises require skill and dexterity during instrumentation and clinical calibration.
Pregnancy-related discomfort can be extremely stressful. Preventing bacteria from attacking your teeth can save you from pain and prevent decay. Protect yourself from decay-causing bacteria by scheduling an appointment in the first trimester.
If you are looking to avoid dental problems during pregnancy, don’t skimp on medical care. Develop a habit of rinsing your mouth after vomiting and ask your doctor whether you need more frequent cleanings. Be sure to limit carbohydrates and sugary foods that can escalate the rate of tooth degradation.
Are Dental Anesthetics Safe for Pregnant Women?
It’s necessary to undertake dental anesthesia to numb the gum while performing specific procedures. All diagnostic, preventive, and restorative dental treatments are safe through all the pregnancy stages. Dental anesthetics are critical for lessening the pain when filling cavities.
However, the American Dental Association has a classification system of drugs and their effects on pregnant women and their fetuses. Your dentist will follow these guidelines:
- Category B drugs such as Lidocaine are safe for use
- Category C drugs such as Mepivacaine and bupivacaine pose some risks
- Nitrous oxide is a pregnancy risk
If you are experiencing morning sickness and vomiting, stomach acids can cause excruciating pain, so filling cavities is important. Tooth extractions are safe at any time during pregnancy, but the second trimester is the ideal time.
All anesthetic medications used for surgery are safe and sound for the baby, and there’s no risk of congenital disabilities. The sedation has no lasting impact as it leaves the baby’s system just as it leaves you after surgery.
The upsurge of hormones can affect the root canal and cause an array of dental issues. Choosing over-the-counter drugs is vital when maintaining good oral practices.
Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Pregnant Women?
The dose of radiation in dental X-rays is relatively low. So, there’s no risk to the fetus. However, the pelvic area is sensitive to all forms of radiation, and the dentist needs to avoid exposing this region to the X-ray beam. During the first trimester, the embryo is very sensitive, and radiation may lead to malformation or miscarriage.
The frequency of getting undertaking x-ray operations might also affect your health. For the best results, remember to space them out from six months to three years. Dentists recommend undertaking only one treatment during the second trimester.
Dental radiation procedures such as diagnostic x-rays also deserve extra attention, and your dentist might postpone the high-risk procedures. If undergoing treatment, your dentist needs to know the medications you are taking as they may affect you and your unborn child.
What Oral Conditions Can Develop During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy exposes many women to periodontal disease and cavities. During pregnancy, oral health needs to be a key component of prenatal care to avoid poor health outcomes. Women are at risk of the following oral complications during pregnancy:
- Bone loss in the jaw
- Root canal infections
- Tooth decay
- Dental erosion
- Temporomandibular Dysfunction
It’s not normal for your jaw to hurt during pregnancy. As the estrogen and relaxation levels increase, the temporomandibular joint may over-stretch and lead to temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Your dentist will recommend a muscle relaxer and anti-anxiety drugs to relieve stress. If taken in low doses, valium can also reduce or control pain.
Excess plaque can cause pregnancy tumors that develop on the gums during the second trimester. Besides bleeding easily, they can be very painful. Controlling plaque from the onset can help to prevent this problem. However, if the tumors are too far gone, ask your dentist to remove them.
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums, ligaments, and bones that support your teeth. This condition is a result of untreated Gingivitis and can lead to tooth loss. If you are experiencing growths on the gum, your dentist will recommend antibiotic mouth rinses or insert gels into the gums after deep cleaning. Oral antibiotics might also be effective in eliminating infection-causing bacteria.
Insist on a Competent Dentist
Cleanings and cavity fillings are vital before delivery. While some operations need to wait until the second trimester, some pregnancy-related complications can worsen if left untreated. An experienced dentist monitors all stages of your pregnancy and will only undertake a surgical operation when it’s safe to do so.