Pregnancy is the most precious time for any woman, as well as for her partner. However, being pregnant makes the future mother worry about her health and the subsequent health of her child. Therefore, when a need arises to go to a dentist, many pregnant women are not sure what to do. However, many dentists all over the world suggest that a dental cleaning and regular checkup is good for mothers-to-be. It is highly recommended, as the changes in the hormone levels during pregnancy can cause swelling or bleeding in the gums, which, if not treated, can lead to gum infections and inflammation. Even the food which gets trapped in the teeth will lead to the formation of plaque, which irritates the gums.
Preventive dental work during pregnancy is necessary to avoid oral infections and gum diseases. Oral infections have been linked to preterm birth, babies with low weight at birth, and other pregnancy complications.
At which stage of pregnancy is a dental checkup safe?
Dental work during pregnancy is usually done during the second trimester of pregnancy. By this time, all the fetal organs are completely developed, so the risk of any possible side effect is lower. Once you enter your third trimester, it is very hard to lie on the back for a long period of time. Avoiding dental work during the first trimester is considered to be a wise thing to do, as this is the most vulnerable time in the entire pregnancy. However, no evidence until now has suggested any harmful effect to the developing embryo if dental work is done during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Other treatments apart from checking gums
Pregnant women who have cavities that are painful and need fillings or need dental crowns can get them done to avoid further chances of oral infections. Local anesthesia is not harmful for the baby, and thus it can be given. However, keeping a limit is important, as overdose is not good for the mother, as well as baby. Even the much-needed procedures like teeth extractions or root canal treatments can be done during pregnancy after talking to the dentist. These procedures are best completed before the baby grows too big, as lying on the back can be uncomfortable. It is best to go to a dentist once you overcome the phase of morning sickness.
Cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening should be put on hold until after the baby’s birth.
Do dental medications affect the baby?
A big concern for future mothers and dentists is the use of medications during dental work that might affect the baby’s health. Lidocaine is the most common medication used during dental work. It is well known that lidocaine, especially the category B drug, does not cross the placenta once administered. Therefore, if dental work is necessary, lidocaine should be administered, and the amount of drug used should be as little as possible, just enough to make you feel comfortable during the dental work. This will keep the baby safe from any adverse effects.
Another concern is the necessary antibiotic treatment after dental work. From all the available antibiotics, amoxicillin, penicillin, or clindamycin are prescribed.
It also becomes important to let your dentist know about the regular pregnancy related medications you are consuming every day. This includes the vitamins and other supplements, which are available over-the-counter. This way your dentist can decide about the best dental medication to give you when needed.
Is a dental x-ray safe for pregnant women?
X-rays necessary for many dental procedures should all be postponed after childbirth, even though it is thought that dental x-rays while pregnant are totally safe for the developing embryo and fetus. However, in case you need an x-ray immediately, your dentist will use a lead apron to cover your stomach and keep you safe from low intensity radiations.
Excess plaque buildup in the mouth can often lead to something called pregnancy tumors among pregnant women. These tumors are not cancerous, but they can be seen as growths on the gums and between the teeth during second trimester of pregnancy. These tumors can bleed easily while you brush your teeth and are usually red in color. They usually disappear once the baby is born. If they bother you or cause pain in any way, it is always good to talk to your dentist.
Don’t skip any regular dental checkup just because you are pregnant. Now more than ever, you need to take good care of your oral health. Due to hormonal changes, there is an increased risk for bleeding of the gums, gingivitis, periodontal disease, etc. Pay good attention to any sign and symptom that may become noticeable while you are pregnant. If any tenderness, bleeding, or swelling of the gums occur while pregnant, talk to your dentist and get a dental checkup as soon as possible.
Good oral hygiene will prevent or reduce any problem regarding oral health. Therefore, visit a dentist for a routine checkup, and learn about the best brushes and toothpastes to clean the teeth. Ask for which brand toothpaste you could use if your regular toothpaste accelerates your morning sickness. Rinsing your mouth frequently with water removes waste stuck in your teeth, reduces the urge to vomit, and also maintains dental hygiene during pregnancy. Flossing your teeth regularly can help you avoid formation of plaque.
Cravings for sugary and fried food, especially sweets, is common during pregnancy. However, eating too many sweets can cause tooth decay at a higher rate during pregnancy. Therefore, try to avoid sugar and adopt a healthy and balanced diet, which includes vegetables with fiber for good digestion and yogurt, which contains essential minerals, which are good for you and the baby. Healthy eating habits can also help curb gum infections.
Also, when visiting a dentist, you can opt to take a pillow for backrest, and sit on the dental chair with your legs uncrossed to help in blood circulation. Also, listening to some soothing music before your dental procedure can calm you and your baby.