Being pregnant is an incredibly special time, and it can be a period of mixed emotions, from excitement to nervousness. With so much going on both mentally and physically, things such as looking after your teeth can be easy to forget. However, dental care during pregnancy is very important for both mom and baby.
When it comes to dental care during pregnancy, trepidation is natural. However, there is no need to be worried, and the vast majority of dental procedures are perfectly safe. We know how nerve-racking it can be, which is why we thought we would take a closer look at the process.
Can I get a dental x-ray while pregnant?
One of the most common questions around dental care during pregnancy is whether it is safe to have an x-ray. This is one of the most common procedures when carrying out dental work, allowing dentists to clearly see how your teeth are positioned and the extent of damage from decay.
Playing such a vital role in modern dentistry, x-rays are a very common occurrence for women undergoing a dental check-up. The American Dental Association (ADA), alongside the American Academy of Family Physicians, has undertaken extensive research into the subject and found that dental x-rays are considered a safe procedure throughout pregnancy.
It is always important that you speak to the dentist beforehand so that they know you are pregnant and can take the relevant steps to protect you and the baby.
What are the pregnancy risks for tooth extractions?
Having a tooth extraction is never a nice experience, but this level of dental care during pregnancy can be even more intimidating. While this is a very common procedure, it can be very painful and uncomfortable immediately after, which many moms to be will want to avoid.
However, if you have ever experienced toothache, you will know exactly how painful and distracting it can be. The American Dental Association has researched the procedure and deemed it completely safe for pregnant women.
That said, where possible, the extraction should take place during the second trimester. This is because your baby’s organs will still be developing during the first, and having to lay on your back for extended periods of time could be uncomfortable during the third.
Is dental anesthesia safe during pregnancy?
Another very common query surrounding dental care during pregnancy is whether anesthesia is safe. From a filling to a gum check, dental anesthesia is an essential part of dental procedures, which means it is likely you would need it should you require treatment while pregnant.
The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) conducted a comprehensive study into the question, finding that local anesthetic was perfectly safe for use for pregnant women. Their research found that it was safe throughout all three trimesters, but if you are worried about anything, then speak with your dentist first, and they will be able to help you find the right solution for you.
Can you get dental fillings during pregnancy?
Dental cavities are a very common occurrence. Often formed due to the sugary foods and drinks that we consume, if left untreated, they can grow in size and cause significant damage to your teeth. Fillings are a great way to remove the bacteria and restore the strength of your teeth.
The actual filling procedure itself is one of the simplest types of dental care during pregnancy and can be undertaken safely at any time. That said, for maximum comfort for yourself, you should opt to do this during your second trimester. There is a very small risk that silver amalgam fillings could harm your baby, so it is always best to speak with your dentist beforehand to understand these risks and the best options for you.
Of course, dental care during pregnancy is not just a reactive procedure when you notice some pain. Ensuring you are keeping your teeth and gums as clean as possible is an essential to boosting your overall health. Gingivitis is a very common condition during pregnancy and, if left untreated, can cause significant damage to your gums and teeth.
A regular dental cleaning will remove this risk and ensure that your teeth and gums are in the best health and looking their best. This procedure is not only completely safe, but it is encouraged by most dentists.
When should I tell my dentist about my pregnancy?
Navigating dental care during pregnancy can be a difficult procedure, and you will naturally want to avoid as much stress and worry as possible. If you are planning to have a baby, then it is always wise to get a dental appointment before you begin trying.
This will allow your dentist to conduct a comprehensive check and carry out any work before you fall pregnant. This will ensure you can enter your pregnancy safely in the knowledge that your teeth and gums are in the best health possible.
Of course, falling pregnant is not that easy to plan, and you might well be surprised to learn you are expecting a baby. In this instance, you should inform your dentist when you go for your appointment. They will then be able to undertake a comprehensive review of your teeth and gums and then tell you what procedures are safe and which you should wait until after you give birth.
To reduce the risk of needing dental care during pregnancy, then make sure that you are brushing your teeth twice a day, alongside regularly flossing and using mouthwash. You should also reduce the sugary snacks and drinks that you are consuming during your pregnancy, as these can significantly increase the risk of developing cavities and decay.
Your baby will also begin growing their own teeth during the second trimester. That is why it is important that you are focusing on eating enough dairy products and foods high in calcium to ensure their teeth and gums grow strong.
Should I follow up with my dentist after I give birth?
Post-pregnancy care is a very important consideration, although getting your teeth checked will likely be one of the last things you think of after giving birth. Pregnancy places a huge amount of pressure and stress on the body, so it is always wise to get your teeth checked shortly after. If you decided to postpone dental care during pregnancy, then you should visit your dentist as soon as you can to get any work completed.
As for your baby, their first teeth will start to appear during their first year, and it is advisable that you take them to the dentist as soon as the first tooth comes through.
Going to the dentist can be an intimidating process for many patients, and it is only natural that anxiety and worry increases when you are pregnant. There is nothing to worry about, though, and your dentist will be very experienced in working with pregnant patients and will be able to support you every step of the way.