Is It Safe To Visit The Dentist When You’re Pregnant?
In between prenatal visits with your OB-GYN and getting your home ready for the new arrival, it’s easy to forget about your teeth when you’re pregnant. But is it safe to go to the dentist when you’re pregnant? Not only is it safe, it’s important for your overall health.
In fact, pregnancy causes hormonal changes that can increase your risk of developing gum disease. And gum disease, in turn, can affect your health and the health of your developing baby. (Periodontal disease has been linked to an increased risk of low birth weight and premature birth.)
If you’re planning a visit to our offices, here are some things to remember. Be sure to let us know what stage of pregnancy you’re in when you make your appointment at Clearwater Dental Associates in Clearwater, FL. Also, alert us to any change in the medications you’re taking.
If you have a high-risk pregnancy or have another other medical condition, we, with advice from your obstetrician, may recommend that treatment be postponed. Also it’s probably best to put off elective procedures, such as teeth whitening, until after you give birth.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Dental Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all agree that women should keep up their dental care while pregnant.
It’s important not only to take care of any issues that could become more serious later on for a couple of reasons. Gingivitis could develop into more serious periodontal disease or cavities, for example. Also dentists can help you with dental symptoms that are related specifically to your pregnancy.
Are Dental X-rays Safe During Pregnancy?
During the course of your pregnancy, you may have a dental emergency and an x-ray might be needed to diagnose the problem. In that case, we will exercise extreme caution and cover your abdomen and thyroid with a leaded apron that will minimize exposure.
How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Oral Health
While you’re pregnant, you might have an increased risk of tooth decay (and not just due to those cravings for sweets!) but due to hormonal changes and an increased blood volume that softens gum tissue.
When you’re pregnant, you may suffer from morning sickness. Vomiting can expose your mouth to excess stomach acid that can eat away at your tooth enamel. Be sure to rinse your mouth with water afterwards each time you throw up. This will lessen the effect of the acid on your teeth.
Also, some women experience “pregnancy tumors.” These are tissue overgrowths that can appear on the gums, most often during the second trimester. They are not cancers — just swelling that happens most often between teeth and may be related to excess plaque. They appear red and raw-looking and can bleed easily. They usually disappear on their own after the baby is born, but we can put your mind at ease during your visit.
Pregnant women frequently have food cravings. (And, for some reason, many of the foods being craved are bad for the teeth, like sugar and carbohydrates.) Not only should you eat well to protect your own teeth during pregnancy, but also to benefit your baby’s teeth as they come in.
A baby’s first teeth begin to develop about three months into pregnancy. Eating a healthy diet that includes lean proteins, fruits and vegetables and dairy can give baby a head start on healthy teeth and gums.
Dental Treatment While Pregnant
If a minor problem should arise in your teeth during your pregnancy that calls for a filling or a tooth to be pulled, it may seem scary. But the truth is, it may be riskier to ignore a dental problem due to the increased chance for infection.
Rest assured that the numbing medications we use during a procedure are safe for you and your baby. Except for dental emergencies, the second trimester is ideal for having your dental work done. Women in the third trimester might find it difficult to lie on their back during a longer procedure. You should hold off on complex (or elective) dental care until after your baby is born.
If you are planning to become pregnant, you should schedule a visit with us. This way, we can address any issues beforehand so you can focus on regular pregnancy issues like a kicking baby!