For those with healthy pregnancies, regular dental visits are safe and important for your oral and overall health. If your pregnancy is considered high-risk, such as with increased blood pressure, your obstetrician may need to be consulted first. Having uncontrolled gum disease during pregnancy is linked to pre-term births and low birth weight babies. Having good oral health during pregnancy is very important.
Will They Take X-Rays?
Elective x-rays can be put off until after pregnancy but are permitted if needed for diagnostics during emergency dental treatment.
Should I Still Get A Dental Cleaning?
Dental cleanings are safe to have done at any point during pregnancy. Gum inflammation is common during pregnancy due to pregnancy hormones and a more exaggerated response to bacterial plaque. If there is increased gum inflammation, more frequent dental cleanings may be recommended.
What If I Need A filling?
Fillings are usually done under local anesthetic which is considered safe during pregnancy. The best time to have fillings would be in the second trimester. The critical development of the baby is done during the first trimester and in the third trimester, it may be uncomfortable to be laying in the dental chair for prolonged periods.
Fluoride During Pregnancy:
Using fluoridated toothpaste to brush with twice a day is safe and recommended. Professionally applied fluoride treatments in a dental office are usually put off until after the baby is born. In cases of severe dental erosion due to acid reflux or vomiting, a fluoride varnish may need to be applied.
Comfortable Positioning In The Dental Chair:
During pregnancy being reclined in a dental chair may be uncomfortable, especially in the third trimester. When the mother is in the reclined position, the fetus may be applying pressure to major blood vessels, which can cut off circulation and lead to low blood pressure. To prevent this, the mother can have her right hip elevated and be leaned slightly on her left side with legs uncrossed. This will allow for proper blood flow.
Other Dental Considerations During Pregnancy:
- Pregnancy gingivitis – Increased swelling, redness, bleeding, and tenderness of gums are signs of pregnancy gingivitis. This condition usually starts in the first trimester and is due to the elevated hormones and an exaggerated response to bacterial plaque. In some cases, a large tumor-like lesion will form. This is called a pyogenic granuloma or pregnancy tumor, and it may go away on its own or need to be removed by the dentist. Excellent oral hygiene will help to prevent these conditions.
- Dental erosion – Vomiting is common during pregnancy and can lead to acid erosion of the teeth. After being sick, it is important to not brush right away but rinse with water or a water and baking soda solution to neutralize the acids. Wait around 30 minutes to brush after being sick. Some mothers may experience acid reflux during pregnancy which can also lead to dental erosion. Using a fluoridated toothpaste will help strengthen the enamel and protect it from the stomach acids.
If you are pregnant, it is important to let your dentist know so they can provide you with the best care for you and your developing baby.