Is Dental Anesthesia Safe During Pregnancy?

is dental anesthesia safe during pregnancy

Pregnancy is obviously an exhilarating time in one’s life. All moms-to-be can agree that once they find out they’re pregnant, they immediately start wondering if there are things that were safe before but aren’t now because of the baby. This is especially true when it comes to dental procedures. Can certain dental treatments or procedures cause fetal abnormalities or cause birth defects? Is there an increased risk of premature delivery or miscarriage?
It’s very natural for pregnant women to wonder these things so we’re going to look into how oral health care can continue safely, especially in the case of local anesthetics for pain control.

Key Takeaways 

  1. Pregnancy hormones can affect oral health, leading to conditions like dry mouth, gum inflammation, bleeding, or sensitivity, known as pregnancy gingivitis. Untreated, this can develop into gum disease.
  2. Morning sickness can impact dental health due to increased acidity. It is advised to rinse the mouth with water and wait 30-60 minutes before brushing teeth after vomiting.
  3. Dental treatment using local anesthetics during the first trimester is generally safe according to a 2015 study by the Journal of American Dental Association. However, many dentists recommend waiting until the second trimester for dental procedures.
  4. The study confirmed that dental procedures with local anesthesia do not cause fetal abnormalities or increase the risk of miscarriage or early delivery.
  5. Dental issues should be addressed promptly during pregnancy. Ignored tooth decay can spread infection and potentially enter the bloodstream.
  6. After dental procedures such as root canals, safe pain medication can be taken short-term. Dental crowns or fillings can also be safely done during pregnancy.
  7. Maintaining good oral hygiene during pregnancy is essential, including brushing twice daily, flossing once a day, and rinsing with fluoride-based mouthwash.
  8. Pregnant women with poor oral hygiene or higher risk of dental issues should visit their dental care team more frequently than the usual six-month interval

Pregnancy Hormones Affect Your Oral Health

Unbeknownst to many pregnant women, the hormonal changes happening throughout your body can actually cause dental problems. You may end up noticing things like a dry mouth, gum inflammation and bleeding, or sensitivity. This is referred to as pregnancy gingivitis and if not looked after or treated properly, can turn into gum disease. It is important to note that dental work during pregnancy should be approached with caution.

Morning sickness can also affect your teeth because of the increased acidity. After vomiting, it’s best to avoid brushing your teeth right away as this can spread the acid around more and eat away at your enamel. Instead, rinse your mouth with water and then wait half an hour to an hour before brushing them thoroughly. And yes, it is safe to use fluoride-based mouthwashes and toothpaste.

dental work during pregnancy

Local Anesthetics Are Safe During Pregnancy

During the first trimester, while your baby is still developing vital organs, your dentist will likely refrain from performing any kind of dental work, although, a study was conducted and published in 2015 by the Journal of American Dental Association which found that dental treatment with the use of local anesthesia during the first trimester was safe. However, if your dentist recommends waiting until the second trimester once the baby has developed most of its organs, it’s best to follow their advice.

The study also concluded that undergoing a dental procedure with local anesthesia did not cause any abnormalities or increased risk of miscarriage or early delivery. The dental treatments in the study included tooth extraction, endodontic treatment, and tooth restoration.

Your Dental Problem Should Be Taken Care of Promptly

Oral surgery during pregnancy is always typically the last resort except for when the potential benefits outweigh the potential risk. This can be the case with a root canal. If you have a severely infected tooth that is also causing a lot of pain, you need to have it removed as soon as possible. Any form of tooth decay should be taken very seriously. If left untreated, the infection can spread to surrounding teeth and even get into your bloodstream. This is why, if you’re pregnant, you need to keep your mouth healthy by maintaining good oral hygiene.

After having a root canal, you will still be given pain medication that will be safe to take orally short-term. You may also still safely receive a dental crown or dental filling if your tooth has been removed. Again, most dentists will recommend this during your second trimester.

Is Dental Anesthesia Safe During Pregnancy? 1

Maintaining A Healthy, Happy Smile During Pregnancy

Just remember to continue to brush your teeth twice daily, followed by flossing once a day and rinsing with mouthwash. Purchase fluoride-based toothpaste as this will help strengthen tooth enamel and reduce your risk of tooth decay. Many dentists encourage women who are pregnant to invest in an electric toothbrush as well as it can do a better job of thoroughly cleaning gums, teeth, and your tongue. It also has an easier time getting into the smaller nooks and crannies that a manual toothbrush can’t reach.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is dental anesthesia safe during pregnancy?

Yes, dental anesthesia is considered safe during pregnancy. A study by the Journal of American Dental Association in 2015 concluded that dental treatments using local anesthesia do not cause any abnormalities or increase the risk of miscarriage or early delivery. However, many dentists recommend waiting until the second trimester for most dental procedures.

2. Can I continue to use fluoride-based mouthwash and toothpaste during pregnancy?

Yes, it is safe to continue using fluoride-based mouthwashes and toothpaste during pregnancy. They help in strengthening your tooth enamel and reduce your risk of tooth decay.

3. Is oral surgery safe during pregnancy?

Oral surgery during pregnancy is typically considered a last resort, and is generally undertaken when the benefits outweigh the potential risk, such as in the case of a severe tooth infection. Always consult with your dentist or healthcare provider to assess the need and timing of oral surgery during pregnancy.

4. What are the common dental problems faced during pregnancy?

Pregnant women can experience a range of dental problems due to hormonal changes, including dry mouth, gum inflammation, bleeding, or sensitivity, also referred to as pregnancy gingivitis. Morning sickness can also increase the acidity in your mouth, potentially affecting your teeth.

5. How often should pregnant women visit the dentist?

While routine dental check-ups every six months are generally recommended, pregnant women with poor oral hygiene or at high risk of experiencing dental problems should visit their dental care team more often. Regular dental care during pregnancy is extremely important to the overall health of both the mother and the baby.

Are You Concerned About Your Oral Health During Pregnancy?

If you’re presently pregnant and have noticed changes in your oral health, this is typically a result of the natural hormonal shifts that occur during pregnancy. Century Stone Dental, our Hamilton Dental Office at 684 Main St E, Hamilton, ON L8M 1K5 is prepared to support you in managing these changes.

When you schedule an appointment with our experienced dental care team today, we will guide you through the process of maintaining good oral health at home and provide safe, suitable dental care during pregnancy. Give us a call at 905-545-4833 to ensure your oral health is well taken care of during this important time in your life.

Dr Christopher Sims
Latest posts by Dr Christopher Sims (see all)

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