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Dental Care During Pregnancy

Monday, November 8, 2021

Dental Care During Pregnancy 

When expecting a bundle of joy, it is common to have questions about safe ways to receive dental care. You want to ensure the safety of your new family member, and curiosity regarding dental work while pregnant is normal.

Routine dental procedures such as preventive teeth cleaning are safe for expecting mothers and highly recommended. The rise in hormone levels from the body's changes during pregnancy often causes gums to swell,bleed or be irritated. Getting your teeth cleaned and examined on a regular schedule allows you to discuss any changes in your teeth with the dental staff.

Taking extra precautions to maintain your oral health helps prevent conditions like gum disease and cavities, which could be detrimental to your developing baby. Here's the information you need to protect your teeth and baby during your transition to motherhood. 

Dental Health ConcernsDuring Pregnancy

Special considerations for pregnant women at the dentist's office include hormone balances, increased risk factors and comprehensive oral hygiene habits. Increased levels of certain hormones, like progesterone and estrogen, are likely to affect the general health of your gums and teeth. In some cases, this may cause extensive oral health concerns and discomfort. 

Oral health concerns heightened during pregnancy include: 

            Gingivitis: Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums that typically causes swelling and bleeding in the area. Among the other symptoms of gingivitis are redness and shiny gums. This is one of the most common oral health concerns that expecting mothers face as 60% to 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis. When not treated properly, gingivitis can lead to more severe problems like gum disease. 

            Cavities: Diet changes caused by cravings can create more cavities than usual. Cavities affect the health of your teeth and your child's teeth as well. The bacteria present in cavities can be transferred to the baby, causing problems with their teeth in the future. 

            Tooth erosion: Tooth erosion is the loss of the surface of your teeth caused by extreme acidity. If you suffer from morning sickness, the persistent vomiting may expose your teeth to too much stomach acid. This acidity harms your enamel, causing tooth decay.

Due to the increased risk of dental concerns, expecting mothers are encouraged to exercise good daily oral hygiene.

Dental Work During Pregnancy

Dental work such as cavity fillings and crowns are recommended to decrease the risk of infection in the teeth. However, it is ideal for these procedures to be completed in the second trimester. As you progress into your third trimester, it may be increasingly difficult to lie on your back for extended periods of time, which is necessary for these procedures. 

Cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening should wait until after the baby is born. For the child's safety, it is best not to expose them to possible risks, even though they are minuscule. 

Is Dental Anesthesia Safe During Pregnancy?

There are conflicting studies concerning the effects of medication used during dental procedures on developing babies. Among the most common medications used is lidocaine, which can cross the placenta from mother to fetus. The most important part of administering anesthesia for the dental treatment of pregnant women is to administer as little as possible while still ensuring you as the patient are comfortable. The more comfortable you are during the procedure, the less stress is put on you and the child.

Dental work also often calls for antibiotics to treat or prevent infections. Be sure to inform your dentist of any medications you are currently taking to help them decide which medicines to prescribe you for aftercare. 

Are Dental X-Rays Safe During Pregnancy?

Another common dental consideration in pregnancy is the safety of getting mouth X-rays. Routine X-rays should typically be rescheduled to after birth, however, X-rays are necessary for many dental procedures, especially in emergency situations as it details the problems with your teeth and gums. We understand the concern as X-rays use radiation, which can be harmful to your health if you're exposed to too much of it. 

However, dental X-rays utilize very little radiation. Your dentist will give you a lead apron to prevent you and your baby from being exposed to any radiation. According to the American College of radiology, diagnostic X-rays lack doses of radiation strong enough to cause adverse effects in developing embryos or fetuses.

How to Take Care of Your Teeth During Pregnancy

Though pregnancy may make you more susceptible to certain risks and increase your oral health concerns, there are things you can do to prevent these issues. If you do experience problems, there are also ways to make them more manageable. By practicing excellent oral hygiene, you can lower your risk of gum disease, cavities and other problems.

Some of the best oral health practices for pregnant women include: 

1.         Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily: Regularly brushing your teeth can keep bacteria under control and your gums healthy. Using fluoride toothpaste will help strengthen your teeth from the outside, making acids less likely to harm your enamel. Flossing clears food from tight places that bristles miss, preventing a build-up of food particles from feeding disease-causing bacteria.

2.         Rinse your mouth with water and baking soda after vomiting: Rinsing your mouth after vomiting helps remove harmful acids from teeth that may cause decay. 

3.         Limit sugar when possible: When consuming sugar, it often sticks to your teeth. This can cause additional cavities. 

4.         Have a regular dental checkup every six months: Out of fear of harming the baby, some expecting mothers skip their regular dentist appointments. However, going to the dentist while pregnant is safe and necessary. Visiting a dentist on a regular basis ensures changes in oral health will not progress to more health issues for you and your baby. Make sure to inform the dentist you are expecting so they can take the necessary precautions. 

5.         Drink calcium-rich milk or an alternative: The calcium in milk is good for your teeth and bones. If you are lactose intolerant or prefer to drink other beverages, consider buying an alternative form of milk that is high in calcium. Make sure you're getting enough nutrition by taking your prenatal vitamins.

Pregnant and SeekingDental Care? Reach out to Specialized Dentistry of New Jersey.

Specialized Dentistry of New Jersey has been voted one of New Jersey's top dentists for 13 consecutive years. Our specialty-trained dentists give you the care you need as you embark on your journey to motherhood. Request a dental appointment or call us at 732-410-7101 today!

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