Pregnancy and Dental Appointments – Do They Mix Well?

Are you an expecting mom wondering if it is the right time to go in for your dental appointment? Dentists often get these queries from mothers in their pregnancy. “Is it good for the baby, if I get deep cleaning done?” “Am I allowed to get my annual dental examination during pregnancy?” First, we want you to feel safe and relaxed understanding that most dental procedures are perfectly safe to get during the pregnancy period. In fact, protective deep cleaning, along with regular dental checkups, are highly recommended by the doctors.

During the pregnancy period, your body gets swollen. This condition does not leave out your gums. As your gums get swollen, due to volatile hormonal activity, they get more prone to bleeding. Moreover, small pocket-like openings, due to the swelling, trap food particles inside and pose a severe threat to your oral hygiene. This will result in irritation, during the earlier periods, and may lead to conditions like periodontitis, if proper dental care is not addressed.

Studies have shown that proper dental care helps circumvent nasty oral infections which, during pregnancy, can lead to premature birth.

Can I Get Normal Dental Practices Done During Pregnancy?

The answer to this question is; yes, absolutely! Why? Dental fillings, and other treatments like getting a crown, lessen the odds of you getting a dental infection. If you want to get some dental attention, the best time to schedule an appointment with your dentist is the second trimester. By this, it does not mean that getting dental care in the third trimester is harmful. It is just that in your third trimester, you might not be as comfortable lying down in the chair for long intervals of time. So, plan and schedule the upkeep of your oral health during the second trimester.

Word of advice; if you are in your third trimester already, it is best that you wait till after the birth to get any dental work done, if it is not necessary. Although, there are some dental work which cannot be postponed due to their nature. These may include, but are not limited to, root canal, extraction, etc. If you need to get such a process done, you may still go ahead with it. Just stay away from elective dental treatments during the last period of your pregnancy.

What About The Chemical Based Medication Used In The Dental Work?

Researchers are currently in conflict over the effects that the medicines linked to dental work have on the fetus. The most popular dental drug is Lidocaine (Category B). If we take this drug as an example, its administration does not affect the placenta.

During necessary dental procedures, if anesthesia is to be administered, it should be regulated to provide you suitable comfort, but the amount should be minimal. The patient is advised to ask the medical practitioner to administer more anesthesia if excessive pain is experienced. This is important because the level of stress in an expecting mother can prove harmful for the baby. So, it is important to keep the mother as comfortable as possible.

Antibiotics are also used in dental work to avoid an infection, and/or to treat them. Category B antibiotics, which include penicillin, clindamycin, amoxicillin, etc. are considered safe for consumption during pregnancy. These drugs are normally prescribed by the dentists after dental procedures in pregnancy.

A Word On The Use Of X-Ray Machines In Dental Procedures

In normal cases, or elective procedures, the parts which require the use of an x-ray machine can be put off till the pregnancy is over. However, as it happens, x-rays are an important part of almost all emergency or urgently required dental procedures. In extreme cases of such nature, we can refer to the statement of American College of Radiology which tells us that the rays from a diagnostic machine are normally not strong enough to prove harmful for the baby.

The ADA and ACOG have declared that it is safe to undergo an x-ray during a dental procedure, provided that the pregnant mother is properly shielded.

It is seen that in the earlier development stages of the fetus or, as it is more popularly known, the first trimester, pregnant mothers prefer not to get any dental work done. They have a concern that it might be dangerous for the fetus, as it is a very sensitive stage of development. We would like to tell you that this is a myth and there is no research suggesting that the dental work to be harmful for mothers in their first trimester. However, to avoid the possibility of a premature birth, it is suggested to postpone the elective treatments until after the pregnancy.

Some Useful Suggestions For The Expecting Mother:

  1. Eating a stable diet, regular brushing and flossing is recommended by the ADA.
  2. Deep cleaning and preventive procedures should be taken during a pregnancy, if needed.
  3. Must inform your dentist about your pregnancy.
  4. Best to have all elective dental work done after the pregnancy is over.
  5. If you find yourself in a dentist’s chair, keep your legs straight to aid circulation.
  6. Take a pillow under your head to stay comfortable and stress-free.
  7. Aid your level of comfort with your favorite music tunes.
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