Image source: thetimesinplainenglish.com
There are a lot of things expecting moms have to think about – the pregnancy to-do list seems endless, but you might want to add one thing to it: a trip to the dentist.
Getting dental work during pregnancy is not only safe, but it’s also actually recommended!
You see, the pregnancy changes the mouth just as much as the body. The overflowing hormones can cause gums to swell or bleed.
They can increase chances of gum diseases and other dental concerns that could even lead to preterm birth. So don’t forget to stay in regular contact with your dentist!
You probably have questions about pregnancy and dental work. Keep reading! We’ve covered a lot of them.
Best time for dental work during pregnancy
Although it is recommended for pregnant women to go to the dentist, it’s good to keep in mind that the best time to do so is in your second trimester, weeks 14 to 20.
By that time, all significant development of the fetal organs is complete, the morning sickness should be over, and all potential risks are at a minimum. You might think that the best time is in the third trimester, but just imagine laying in that uncomfortable chair for so long with all that weight from the baby bearing down on you! Plus, dental work during the third trimester can lead to preterm birth.
The best part is that research suggests that women who receive fillings, get their wisdom teeth pulled, or have root canal treatment during their second trimester are less likely to experience problems when it comes to birth.
Dental work during the first trimester
Since the first trimester is the most vulnerable time for the baby, most women might decide to skip the dentist to lower any risks. Studies published in the Journal of the American Dental Association show that local anesthetics have no effect on the fetus.
As long as you’re just going in for a regular check-up, there’s nothing to be afraid of. However, bigger dental work such as pulling out wisdom teeth or filling cavities should be postponed.
Dental work during the second trimester
As mentioned before, the best time for dental work during pregnancy is the second trimester. That especially applies to bigger dental work and x-rays.
There is little concern that X-rays used in dental work cause any harm to the baby. Another important thing about the second trimester is that some women experience an overgrowth of tissue called “pregnancy tumors.”
It’s not cancer! It’s actually the gums swelling, causing unpleasantness and sometimes bleeding. The gums will have a red, raw-looking appearance but it usually disappears after the baby is born. As always, if you have any concerns you should talk to your dentist.
Dental work during the third trimester
Any plans for dental work during the third trimester should be postponed until after the birth, especially any major procedures. It can be tough lying on your back for a long time. It can also lead to premature labor.
Regular dentist checkups should be okay. A healthy mom is a happy mom.
Tooth extraction during pregnancy
There are a couple of conflicting studies about the medication used in tooth extractions, especially Lidocaine and Novocaine.
Some studies say that Lidocaine crosses the placenta and could effect on the baby. Others say that there haven’t been any identified problems related to Lidocaine or Novacaine – although, common sense would say that just because problems haven’t been identified doesn’t mean they don’t exist!
The American Dental Association and other health agencies say that tooth extraction during pregnancy is totally safe, but they do recommend consulting with a prenatal care health practitioner first.
Root canal during pregnancy
Getting a root canal means you have to get numbing medications, but you shouldn’t worry about that. They should be safe, for both you and your baby. However, you may want to consider contacting a biological dentist who looks at your overall health as a whole (including your pregnancy) and not just what’s happening in your mouth.
Dental fillings during pregnancy
Dental work during pregnancy such as cavity fillings should be treated as soon as possible to reduce chances of infection. Dental fillings should be postponed until after the first trimester, though.
Getting this done before your baby is born gives you a little less to worry about later on. Your dentist can even help you with any pregnancy-related dental symptoms.
Is dental anesthesia safe during pregnancy?
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of dental work that can cause pain so you might need anesthesia during your dentist visit. The amount provided should be as little as possible but enough to keep you comfortable.
When you are comfortable, you and the baby won’t be as stressed, and the anesthesia works better. Anesthesia has been shown to have no effect on the baby.
Guidelines for visiting a dentist during pregnancy
- Let your dentist know that you are pregnant.
- Eat a nourishing diet, brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day, and floss regularly.
- Have routine dental checkups during your pregnancy.
- Major procedures should be postponed until the second trimester or until after the baby is born.
- Help keep your circulation moving while at the dentist, by keeping your legs uncrossed while sitting in the dentist’s chair.
- Take a pillow with your to the dentist to help keep you and the baby comfortable.
- Bring headphones and some favorite music to the dentist to help you relax.
By now, we hope that we’ve shown that it is safe to go to the dentist while pregnant and that there is evidence that proves that getting dental work during pregnancy is recommended. The National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center has even made a statement, where they encourage OB-GYNs to advise their pregnant patients to follow any oral care recommendations, take care of their oral health and get dental work during pregnancy.