Dental Care During Pregnancy: What You Need to Know
During pregnancy, we have a lot on our plates as we get used to the idea of new responsibilities, worries about our health, labor, and making it to all our prenatal appointments. We want to be the healthiest we can be, and one part of overall health is good oral health.
Yeah, visiting the dentist is important when you're pregnant as well. Bummer. Especially if you are one of the estimated 5-7% of Americans who have a real fear of the dentist. Even if you don't have any issues visiting the dentist, it's another appointment (or few) that you have to take time out of your already busy schedule for.
However, for your health and the health of your unborn baby, don't allow fear and a busy schedule to keep you from seeing the dentist. Keep reading to find out what you need to know about dental care during pregnancy.
Poor dental health can be bad for your baby.
“The hormonal influence that occurs during pregnancy can exacerbate gingivitis and other more serious gum diseases. Gum disease has been linked to premature birth, and we all want to carry our babies to term. If you must have work done on your teeth, always check with your obstetrician first.” — Dr.Carol Ford, DDS, Phoenix, Arizona
Stick to your schedule — if you have one.
“It is important for women who are pregnant to maintain the hygiene schedule that had been previously recommended for them by their dentist. If they have cleanings every three months, they should stay on that schedule. If they were at six-month intervals, they should keep with that unless instructed otherwise.” — Dr. Christopher Omeltschenko, DDS, Cincinnati, Ohio
Not all dental work is recommended.
“Local anesthetics often contain epinephrine, which can also cause a problem for mother and child. It's probably best to avoid major work unless it's an emergency. Dental work can be safe, but it is necessary to have a dental team and obstetrician working together to ensure that it is safe — especially in cases of high-risk pregnancy.” — Dr.Carol Ford, DDS, Phoenix, Arizona
Comfort is in the second trimester.
“It is best, and often most comfortable, for pregnant women to have dental treatment completed during the second trimester,” — Dr. Christopher Omeltschenko, DDS, Cincinnati, Ohio
Not only is comfort a major part thing to consider, but since fetal development is so important during the first trimester, it's recommended to wait for any work until the second trimester where possible. If dental work is needed during the third trimester, it's more ideal to wait, where possible, until after birth to avoid prolonged time on your back.
What about x-rays?
According to American Pregnancy, routine x-rays can be postponed until after birth, but if you need diagnostic imaging for a root canal or another procedure, “no single diagnostic x-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus,” so it's not that huge of a deal.
Did you get any dental work done during pregnancy? How was it for you? Share in the comments!