Dentist Questions Root Canal

Is a root canal in 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 upto without the condition worsening.

25 Answers

I have done Root canal therapy on pregnant patients, of course following evaluation and clearance by there physician. The issue is if you have been in pain and there is possibly an infection causing your discomfort, treatment is advised along with medical clearance ASAP.
If it is an emergency, I would recommend you go see a dentist for him/her to evaluate the tooth. Usually, the second trimester is considered the best period for dental treatment. There is certain precaution which is taken by the dentists but for emergency cases, it may be better to proceed with root canal therapy as it reduces the burden of disease (microbial pathogens). For your comfort, I would recommend you go see a dental specialist (endodontist) as they might be able to address your concerns a bit better. In terms of postponing treatment, you will have an open cavity in the mouth for a future bacterial invasion if you do not get it looked at. You can never be certain when you will flare up again with pain as it is your bodies response to invaders (bacteria)that causes pain.
It is usually ok in the second trimester. You would need to discuss this with the person treating you and what they are comfortable with. You may wait but that runs the potential of the infection worsening and causing further issues.
If there is an infection your doctor will not want an active infection during you pregnancy an some thing should be done. A simpler procedure called a pulpotomy can be done to treat the tooth and get it to clam down. This can buy you a couple of months before the root canal will need to be done. I have done root canals on women who are pregnant the important thing is to control any infection. The sequencing of treatment can be worked out with what your doctor feels is best for you and the baby.
As I answered previously, if you are in pain, it is extremely safe to have a root canal while pregnant. The anesthetic used should have epinephrine in it to keep it in the area longer and so it doesn't affect the baby. Ideally, the time to get it done is now, in your 2nd trimester. If you are having such pain now, your tooth is obviously infected. So your question becomes, how much infection do you want running around your body? The other question to consider is this: When you have pain, your body produces epinephrine (adrenaline) as you try to cope with the pain. How much adrenaline do you want running around your body until you deal with the situation? If it was me, I'd get this problem dealt with as soon as possible.
Hi there,
It is ok to do a root canal with a minimum of time. A dentist can do a quick pulpectomy for this time; you can come back after the delivery and finish it. We want you to spend as little time in the dental chair as possible, don't want to give you stress and tiredness the whole procedure.

The only potential issue to worry about is the type of anesthetic used during the procedure. It is actually safer for you and your baby to have the root canal procedure done as soon as possible, instead of finishing the pregnancy with an active infection in your mouth. Not to mention the pain you'll be going through!. Do yourself and your baby a favor and get the root canal treatment as soon as you can.
It is safe to have treatment during pregnancy as long as X-rays are taken with a shield and you aren't exposed to too much epinephrine. Epinephrine is part of the local anesthesia used. Most won't use it or just use very little. Teeth pain can cause a lot of stress which is defintely not needed during pregnancy! Some dentists may just relieve pressure on the nerve. Some might complete the entire root canal. I believe treating it is better than not at this point. 
Dr G.
Yes, you are in the middle trimester in which you can do dental treatments. Root canal can be done in one visit or two, in your case may be two visits with 1st cost local anesth. Second visit w/o. You need short visits because you don't want to lay on your back for long. At this time of pregnancy, baby is not developing but resting. Avoid any dental treatments in the 1st 3 months and the last 3 months. Good luck
A root canal during pregnancy is safe and recommended if you're in severe pain. I would advise the consult of the dentist with your OB/GYN just to make sure there aren't any contra-indications. Using the anesthetic during the procedure increases your heart rate slightly, but being in pain every day adds a lot of stress on your body! If you are unable to get the root canal done for whatever reason, make sure that your pain is well managed by prescriptions safe to take while pregnant.
Dr. Reiser
It is absolutely safe to have a root canal done during pregnancy. There are so many "old wive's tales" floating around regarding what is safe and what's not safe regarding dental treatment for pregnant women. Suffice to say that most dental procedures are safe during any normal pregnancy but that being said always feel free to also ask your obstetrician.
There is no reason not to have a root canal during pregnancy, I have done many with no problem. Nor have I ever heard or read any documented problems. I think that a pregnant mom in terrible pain can't be good for baby!!
Your condition is already advanced. Waiting is only going to let matters get worse. The pain and the infection will increase and this is not good for the baby. Emergency treatment should be done at any time during a pregnancy. Elective treatment is best during the second trimester or after the delivery. Hope this helps you decide.
Any dental treatment is safest during the second trimester which it sounds like you are in. I would advise getting the root canal to decrease your overall stress levels and to avoid having infection in your body.
There are always risks and possible side effects with any treatment. In general, we do not like to do treatment on a pregnant woman but if it becomes necessary, we like to do it in the second trimester. You must understand that pain from an abscessed tooth causes stress on you and your child. The infection from the tooth can also spread which likewise is dangerous for you and your child. If left untreated, the pain could get severe or the infection could get dangerous. Occasionally, we prescribe antibiotics to try to keep the infection at bay until the baby is born but If you are six months pregnant, you may not be able to hold off another three months. I would recommend the treatment, especially if you are in your second trimester.
Today you can have root canals done quite accurately using an apex locator without having to use radiation. You have to do the therapy because it is worse for the baby and mom to be taking medications for three months to prevent infection and treat the pain. I suggest you have it done with temporary materials and finish it after you give birth when you can confirm the work with a radiograph.
This is from me as a mother and a Dentist. I had to have root canal when I was 7 months pregnant and it was fine. But first you must check with your OB/GYN to clear use of None Epinephrine anesthetic. And let the Dentist know you are pregnant. They both should communicate in advance. Unfortunately infection is not a pregnancy with a time line no one can tell you how much time you have but if you are in pain due to infection you should see a dentist and possibly take antibiotics. Good luck, hope you feel better.
Answering your last part first.. no one can predict how long you can go without pain.
Now to the 6 months. The best time to treat a pregnant woman is in the middle trimester. Ask you ob/gym as well. Do the root canal quickly and you will then need a post and crown where you can do those without anesthesia and therefore no risk to you or the baby.
Call if you need
Dr Billet
The general rule is that, other than routine checkups and cleanings, we postpone NON-EMERGENT dental care until the 2nd trimester. We avoid treatment in the 1st and 3rd trimesters, unless it is an emergency. Since you are having severe pain, this is considered emergency care and is acceptable to do at this point of your pregnancy. Without knowing your exact situation, I cannot fully comment on how long you can push this off. If the tooth is not currently infected, you do run the risk of developing an infection which is potentially a greater risk to both you and the baby. If you are having severe pain, you need treatment now and should not postpone.

I hope this helps.

Best regards,
David M. Kaffey, DDS
It is better to have the root canal than to wait.
In most cases, the endodontist who does the root canal will at least remove the infected nerve and seal in a medication until you deliver. A decision will be made based on what trimester and what symptoms the two exhibit upon examination by the Dr.
Most experts agree that if dental treatment is NECESSARY, the 2nd trimester is the best time to do it. However, sometimes a toothache doesn't really care if you are pregnant at all, let alone in the 2nd trimester, and it becomes an EMERGENCY. If the pain is too unbearable, you have no choice but to do something, right? Then root canal would be the best choice; or
extraction. Most OB/GYN that I have worked with in this situation recommend using local anesthetic without vasoconstrictor, if an Xray is necessary-use 2 lead aprons, and if pain control after the fact is necessary, then Tylenol (Acetominophen) or Tylenol #3 with codeine can be used. Hope you feel better.
I would first consult with your obstetrician, but it’s far more dangerous for you to have a dental infection than the minimal risks of having a root canal performed by an endodontist. Have your general dentist refer you to an endodontist.
Root canal therapy is safe during pregnancy. It is more harmful not to do it or postponing the therapy
Root canal therapy is done under local anesthesia and does not usually affect the baby, but we usually avoid anything unnatural during pregnancy and during the first trimester, the fetuses are particularly sensitive. The third trimester of pregnancy, moms are usually uncomfortable sitting in the chair so the best time usually is the second trimester.