Dentist Questions Root Canal

Is a root canal during pregnancy safe?

I am a 34 year old woman currently six months pregnant. I have been having severe pain in one of my tooth and the doctor has recommended a root canal. Is it safe to undergo a root canal during pregnancy or could it have side effects and complications? If I decide to postpone the root canal treatment, how much time can i push it up to without the condition worsening.

19 Answers

If a tooth needs a root canal and your OB/GYN gives the approval, you can have the root canal done during pregnancy as long as there is no epinephrine. Usually, the first trimester is the most critical time.
A root canal is needed when bacteria has made its way into the nerve of your tooth, causing an infection, which is causing your tooth ache. Ideally, the best time to do major dental treatment while in pregancy is during the second trimester, however, it is OK to have emergency dental treatment done outside of that time. Usually you need X-rays to perform root canal therapy. You can have done what’s called a pulpotomy, which is a superficial debridement of an infected tooth, and that should help with the pain until you can have the procedure completed after you give birth.
If you are in pain and/or have an infection of the tooth, it is best to have the root canal done. The dentist doing the root canal should be using a lead apron which will shield your baby when he or she takes x-rays to check the progress of the root canal. The actual procedure of the root canal should not have any effect on your baby and the amount of radiation from dental x-rays is very small as the films have improved over time.

See for more information about dental x-rays.
There are no compilations with a root canal during pregnancy. It is best to
treat the problem without drugs.

Frank D. Aiello DDS
11521 Parkway Dr.
N Huntingdon, PA 15642
724-863-9100 Office
724-454-1801 Cell
Needing a root canal means you have an infection. Ultimately the infection is more harmful. Do the root canal on your second trimester.
Have the root canal done as soon as you can. There is more risk ignoring an active infection than having the procedure done- Check with your OB if they want you covered with antibiotic during the procedure ( I feel that is unnecessary, but check with your MD ).
Yes it is safe in fact the middle trimester is the safest time to treat
It is safe to treat it however we always check with your doctor to see if we have to take any precautions. If you are in pain and or you have an infection there is no point of postponing it. If you want to see us call 212 245 1066 .
It is perfectly safe to have the treatment that you need. Check with your
doctor to see if there are any issues if the dentist needs to place you on

The short answer is yes. Having pain or a source of infection that could
affect the baby is more detrimental to the baby than dental work. We
routinely do emergency dental work, such as root canals and extractions,
during pregnancy to decrease any sources of infection in the mouth.
Routine Dental work like fillings, that reduces the risk of infection, are
also performed. Preventative dental care is essential to avoid oral
infections such as gum disease. All this said, there are precautions that
we take. All non-essential dental work is postponed until after the baby
is born. If dental work is done during pregnancy, the second trimester is
ideal. Once you reach the third trimester, it may be difficult to lie on
your back for an extended period of time. If dental work is needed, the
amount of anesthesia administered should be as little as possible, but
still enough to make you comfortable. Though the most commonly used
anesthetic, Lidocaine, does cross the placenta after administration, the
stress of pain is has more negative effects than the minimal effects of the
anesthesia. The routine antibiotics prescribed for dental infections are
safe to take during pregnancy as well. Routine x-rays are postponed until
after the pregnancy, but x-rays necessary for the needed dental work are
safe with the appropriate shielding. Especially with the significant
decreases in the amount of radiation needed for digital radiography.
Hopefully all this makes information makes you more comfortable with your
impending appointment! Good luck with the baby!!!
There are more possible complications from not treating a tooth like yours than there would be doing a root canal . A root canal involves 1 or 2 X-rays which we typically postpone during pregnancys and limit to as necessary but with digital radiographs there is very limited exposure and you are protected from it. You need a local anesthetic which is safe and in some cases with infection an antibiotic is needed but all these things can be dealt with safely. There are many possible complications when these teeth are not treated which is related to what is actually wrong with your tooth. The fact that you are in pain is reason enough to take care of this problem . Hope this helps you. Dr Thomas Reinhard
To answer the question it depends on the severity of the tooth. You
actually are at the most optimal time to have the root canal done. The
second trimester is regarded as the safest time to have a procedure like
root canal treatment done. I am assuming that radiogrpahs (X-rays) were
already taken, if not you can have that done as well, just make sure that
you are given a led vest. It's OK to ask for two if you feel as though it
will protect you even more. You can ask you doctor to initiate the
treatment by doing a procedure like a pulpotomy or pulpectomy to get you
out of discomfort and place a temporary filling until after you give
birth. Also, have them take your bite down on that tooth (reduce your
occlusion) so you don't put added pressure on it. Once the root canal is
finished you will need a crown so taking some tooth structure off now is
not the end of the world. If your dentist feels like he can safely finish
the root canal in one visit then he may choose to do so. Again, if depends
Unfortunately waiting on the root canal could have a negative effect on the baby. Bacteria and infection travel from the mouth to the fetus. Getting elective dental work during pregnancy is not recommended. However it is needed for emergencies (pain infection etc). Your doctor will get in touch with your OB/GYN and confirm there are no contraindications to treatment (usually it is just recommended to use anesthesia without epinephrine). The second trimester is also the best time for the fetus to get dental work done. Hope this helps!
3rd trimester is fine,if u can wait after delivery its also ok
The most thorough answer for your question is by an endodontist a specialist who deals with root canals only and specifically is trained to advise you at your particular time and trimester.
Having a root canal done during pregnancy is completely safe. Your doctor will cover you at the time of xrays to protect the baby. The anesthetic is safe. As far as how far you can push the envelope, we would not be able to tell you with certainty because it depends on how advanced the problem is already. If the tooth is already abscessed , pain and inflammation will follow.
We don't like to work on pregnant women but if we do, we like to do it in the 2nd trimester. There is always a risk when doing any dentistry on a woman who is pregnant but the risk of stress to the baby from pain and infection is usually worse. A tooth that is in pain will not usually get better without treatment (either extraction or root canal). The root canal is usually easier on the patient and therefor less stressful to your baby than an extraction. Leaving the tooth infected and you in pain is probably the worse thing you can do. Taking antibiotics will usually 'postpone' the pain for a few weeks at a time but again, taking medication is typically not advised in the third trimester.
It is best to complete mandatory dental treatment while pregnant, infection may worsen along with pain. Local anesthetic is safe to the baby and dental radiographs, with the use of a lead apron is also safe and will not harm your developing child. It is harder after birth to have dental treatment especially if you are nursing, as many drugs will pass to the mother's milk and also you have a newborn who will require much attention. We have treated many expecting women over the years; root canals, crowns, extractions doing those mandatory procedures to prevent infection, pain and preserve your teeth. It is important to receive routine check-ups while expecting as periodontal disease has been a contributing factor to low newborn baby weight, as well as other bacterial infections in utero.
See an endodontist for an evaluation and have the endo guy call your obstetrician for clearance... there CAN be a danger to the don't fool around.