Taking care of your gum and teeth health is essential at every point of your life, let alone while expecting a baby, when your mouth cavity may get more sensitive to infection and disease due to the hormonal hurricane happening within your body. So if you feel hesitant about making an appointment with your dentist, leave those thoughts behind and do what you are supposed to – take care of your health.
Dental Care during Pregnancy
Is it safe to go to the dentist while pregnant? Routine dental work while pregnant is safe for the mother-to-be and her baby. Urgent procedures are also allowed for pregnant individuals. The only exception should be made for elective care as they are generally recommended to be postponed to the postpartum period.
When visiting a dentist during pregnancy, you should tell them about your current state. Knowing this, a doctor may apply extra precautions and offer a pregnancy-specific treatment plan. Anyway, you should never delay a visit to the dentist’s office, especially if you have some acute conditions, like tooth pain.
Toothache While Pregnant
The incidence of tooth pain in pregnancy varies between countries and strongly depends on oral hygiene and access of pregnant women to quality dental care. In Iran and Brazil, for instance, this percentage reaches around 50%, based on the research. The better you take care of your oral health, the less problem you will likely have during pregnancy.
Should you stand toothache during pregnancy? Definitely not. Once you feel tooth pain or gum pain, you should see your dentist. The causes of toothache during pregnancy may include:
- Plaque build-up. Poor dental care, along with high estrogen and progesterone levels, lead to the accumulation of plaque on your teeth, which can eventually harden, creating tartar. If left out of your attention, the next step is tooth decay.
- Gingivitis, also called gum disease, is the most common dental problem in pregnancy. It is also caused by hormone-level growth.
- Enamel erosion and formation of cavities resulting from the impact of stomach acid is a common cause of toothache in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Dental Cleaning While Pregnant
Getting professional dental cleaning while pregnant is the practice you should stick to to preserve your dental health and minimize the risks of developing any urgent conditions. However, having regular appointments with your dentist is not enough to keep your gums and teeth healthy. Daily oral hygiene is essential to keep your mouth cavity in good condition.
Your daily ritual of dental care while expecting a baby should include:
- Brushing your teeth twice daily, minimum. If you suffer from morning sickness, you’d better use acid-neutralizing toothpaste to protect your enamel from erosion.
- Flossing once a day is another “must” of pregnancy dental routine.
- Antimicrobial mouthwash when pregnant should also be present in your daily oral hygiene as the risk for gum infection is high during this period.
Dangers of Dental Work While Pregnant
Among the common reasons women refuse to visit a dentist during pregnancy is the fear of any medical procedures harming their unborn baby. The number of myths surrounding this issue is huge and what’s most disappointing is that some women trust them, thus depriving themselves of proper dental care and putting their babies at risk.
The main pregnancy dangers associated with dental work include:
- the use of anaesthesia;
- antibiotic intake.
As to anaesthesia, there is no scientific evidence of local anaesthetics being toxic to the foetus. Besides, if used with vasoconstrictors, the potentially harmful effect of the medication are minimized due to its slow release into the blood flow.
The Mayo Clinic specialists also claim that teeth x-ray during pregnancy won’t expose the unborn baby to radiation due to its low dose and a special protective apron that will cover your abdomen during the procedure.
Antibiotics used in dentistry, like penicillin, clindamycin, and amoxicillin are safe to use in pregnancy if clearly needed.
Of course, there do exist exceptions to the rules, but, in general, all the myths about the dangers of dental care during pregnancy can be busted.
Why Can’t You Go to the Dentist While Pregnant?
The only reason to postpone a visit to the dentist is the threat of miscarrying the pregnancy. No other contraindications to routine or urgent treatment exist. Still, some procedures are not recommended while expecting a baby. They are:
- teeth whitening (due to the use of aggressive substances that can harm your weakened enamel);
- prosthetics and implantation;
- teeth extraction;
- orthodontic treatment;
- general anaesthesia for dental procedures.
Such contraindications are related to the need for computer tomography and strong anaesthetics in such procedures.
Visiting a dentist throughout pregnancy is one of the basics of your health care during the sensitive and challenging period you go through. The dentist and pregnancy care specialists should work in close link with each other to ensure every pregnant person gets the care they need without the risk to the mother or foetus.
Yes. Going to the dentist during pregnancy is essential as the changes in your hormone levels can negatively affect your teeth and gum health.
Yes. The filling materials used for such procedures are hypoallergenic and bear zero risk of toxicity for the mother and the baby. The technologies used for this type of dental treatment are also safe during pregnancy.
The application of saltwater mouthwash in pregnancy is among the safe and all-available methods of dealing with tooth pain. If it doesn’t help, contact your doctor for medical advice to cut the pain.
Yes. The use of local dental anaesthesia along with vasoconstrictors is safe in pregnant women unless there’s something wrong with their foetus (like asphyxia).
Yes. Teeth x-ray has no influence on the baby due to the small dose of radiation used and the protective apron used in this procedure.