The American Dental Associations recommends adults and children visit their dentist routinely every 6 months. But should women who are pregnant for 9 months out of the year still visit the dentist?
Safety for a carrying mother as well as her unborn child are of paramount concern to your dentist. Due to increased risk, there are certain restrictions that must be considered before scheduling major (and even some minor) dental treatment, namely the inability to use specific drugs or dental tools during gestation.
Pregnant women must take more care of themselves than usual, as they are susceptible to several medical issues, including oral health problems. Some of the most commonly reported oral concerns among pregnant women include:
Thrush infections are essentially caused by a yeast overgrowth on the tongue and along the interior of the cheeks. The most obvious symptom of a thrush infection in the mouth is several milky white patches. Pregnant women are twice as likely to develop thrush than non-pregnant women because the influx of estrogen during pregnancy creates an optimal breeding environment for yeast.
The fluctuation of hormone levels during pregnancy can also cause swollen gums and even gingivitis. These hormonal changes can stimulate blood flow to sensitive areas of the mouth, including the gums, which can lead to noticeable and painful swelling due to gum disease and periodontal disease.
Pregnant women often report tooth sensitivity and pain, especially in the wisdom tooth near the back of the mouth. The cause of tooth decay pain during pregnancy is usually the same as if it were for swollen gums and thrush – hormones signal an increase of blood flow to sensitive areas of the body, which include the mouth.
Most dental issues can be solved with over the counter topical ointments, but if you’re a pregnant woman, it’s important to phone your dentist to clarify whether it’s safe to use any oral medication.
If you’re pregnant, you might want to schedule any major restorative dental surgeries post-birth, especially if you plan on receiving any sort of anesthetic consult you ob gyn.
It is not advisable to obtain any form of sedative or anesthetic while carrying a child. The side effects of anesthesia will be compounded in pregnant women who are already sensitive to changes in their internal and external environment. Common side effects of anesthesia include:
Since unborn children also share their mother’s blood supply, they will be at risk developmentally should the anesthetic enter their yet-to-be-formed systems.
However, most routine procedures can be administered to pregnant women without issue; if you’re unsure, you can always contact your dentist ahead of time. The following dental work are typically safe to receive during pregnancy:
Scientific evidence suggests that pregnant women can safely undergo a dental x-ray with adequate shielding. Some women feel the need to take precautions to postpone their x-ray beyond their first trimester, but studies do not indicate any harmful or deleterious effects on an infant from an x-ray. In any case, the number of x-rays performed over this 9-month period should be minimized if possible.
Dental emergency professionals highly recommend for pregnant women to undergo routine cleanings, especially because of the inflammation that commonly occurs in the mouth during gestation. Cleanings are very safe, efficient, and will prevent further tooth sensitivity.
It’s perfectly safe for pregnant women to receive treatment for cavities and even root canals. However, it might be ideal to have procedures performed prior to the third trimester, since this period in gestation can make it painful to lie down for an extended timeframe.
Pregnancy does not necessarily deter cosmetic dental procedures, but it’s recommended to postpone any non-imminent care until after the baby is born to reduce stress as much as possible to the mother and child during gestation.
Taking local anesthetics like novocaine and lidocaine might raise concern from some pregnant women, especially if they are in their first trimester and their baby is more susceptible to changes in the nutrient supply via bloodstream.
Lidocaine specifically is known to cross the barrier into the placenta, but administering a mild dose during a standard filling, for example, is not known to jeopardize fetal development. In addition, pregnant patients have total discretion when it comes to how much local anesthetic is applied.
The most important thing to consider is your stress level if you’re a pregnant dental patient. You should aim to eliminate as much discomfort as possible during your procedure so as to prevent creating stress for your fetus. This might mean applying slightly more anesthetic, so try to find a good balance.
Whether you’re pregnant or not, proper daily oral health is essential for the prevention of dental issues and the maintenance of a beautiful smile. As mentioned above, since pregnancy can render the mouth sensitive, it might be a good idea to be a little gentler around the area.
Oral Hygiene Tips for Pregnant Women
The main takeaway here is to feel comfortable about visiting the dentist while you’re pregnant. Your dentist is a trained professional who will work to eliminate as much stress as possible during your procedure. Rest assured that you and your baby are safe and sound in a dentist chair.
At North Brand Dental in Glendale and Moorpark, CA, Dr. Acopian and Dr. Ghadimi offer all of the personalized services you need in pregnancy for Emergency Dental issue, Consultation for pain relievers, Dental Implants, Porcelain Veneer, Preventive Dentistry & Cosmetic Dental Care. Call (818) 244-7215 today to schedule an appointment for the exceptional care you deserve.
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