Pregnancy can be a blessing, but it can make things you used to not second guess seem complicated, like going to the dentist. Can you go to the dentist while pregnant? What treatments can you have, and what should you avoid? There are many different things to consider to protect you and your developing baby.
This blog answers many burning questions posed by moms-to-be, including whether you are allowed to receive dental work when you are pregnant.
Can I Visit The Dentist While Pregnant?
The short answer is yes. You can visit your family dentist during pregnancy.
What Dental Work Can I Receive While Pregnant?
Pregnant women are allowed and encouraged to receive routine dental care (e.g., checkups and dental cleanings) at any time throughout their pregnancy to mitigate dental health problems and promote a healthy pregnancy.
Beyond having their teeth cleaned, pregnant patients can also have a tooth pulled, cavities filled, and other similar treatments while pregnant. However, the Government of Canada advises that pregnant women undergo dental procedures like a root canal or tooth fillings during the second trimester (between months four and six of pregnancy). There are several reasons for this, but most are based on comfort. During the first trimester, many pregnant patients suffer from morning sickness, which may be aggravated by dental treatment. In the third trimester, pregnant patients may also have difficulty sitting or laying back in the chair for an extended period.
Why Have Dental Treatment While Pregnant?
The short answer is that there is an extra risk for pregnant patients.
Maintaining oral health is essential for everyone, but especially for pregnant patients; pregnancy hormones are known to cause an increased risk of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease.
Gum disease can negatively affect pregnancy outcomes. Research has found a link between severe gum disease and low birth weight. Similarly, periodontal disease can lead to further dental problems, including infection, bone loss, and tooth loss. It is important that pregnant women take care of their oral health to protect both themselves and their babies.
Are Dental X-Rays Safe During Pregnancy?
The risk of x-rays harming your unborn child is minimal, but it is recommended that women avoid them while pregnant. Dental x-rays should only be taken in an absolute emergency, like for pregnancy gingivitis and other severe problems requiring dental care.
What Medications Can I Have When Pregnant?
If you need to undergo dental surgery or treatment when pregnant, you will be limited in the sedatives and medications available to you.
For example, general anesthesia is not recommended during pregnancy because it can cause preterm birth, low birth weight, and other complications. The American Dental Association recommends that dentists use local anesthesia on pregnant patients because it is safer. However, local anesthetics only freeze the site or area of the treatment, whereas general anesthesia numbs the entire body.
After treatment, you may be prescribed pain relievers and other medication to treat infections. Dentists will be mindful to only prescribe medications and pain killers that are deemed safe for pregnant individuals.
How To Maintain Your Oral Health While Pregnant
A dental problem is always a hassle, but it can be especially difficult when pregnant. We encourage women to follow these three tips to keep their teeth and gums healthy during pregnancy.
1. Maintain A Healthy Diet
While you may be craving sugary snacks like candy and cookies, we suggest avoiding them. Not only are acidic and sugary foods bad for your health, but they can also break down your tooth enamel over time and cause tooth decay, which needs treatment. It is best to avoid oral health problems as much as possible during pregnancy because dental work should be limited at this time.
You should also not drink alcohol while pregnant because it can increase the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and other poor pregnancy outcomes.
Your eating habits have a large influence on your overall health, as well as the baby’s health. Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy, nutritious foods and drinking lots of water.
2. Brush Your Teeth And Gums Twice A Day
Much like you would when not pregnant, you need to brush your teeth regularly while pregnant. Maintain your daily routine of brushing your teeth at least twice a day. But, you may need to adjust what you use to brush.
Tender gums are a common symptom of pregnancy. Gums can become swollen and tender, causing them to bleed easily. We suggest brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid pain or bleeding. You are still allowed to use fluoride toothpaste, but make sure not to swallow any.
3. Tell Your Dentist About Your Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a crucial period of a woman’s life that requires careful treatment and consideration. Your dental professional, much like other health professionals, should be kept in the know about your pregnancy. Tell your dentist you are pregnant during your next visit so they can plant their treatment accordingly.
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