By Deborah Pinnock on Apr 17, 2017 @ 10:25 AM
Changes. This word takes on a whole new meaning when you are expecting. A woman's body goes through a transformation as it prepares to become the temporary home for her baby. Some changes are obvious, such as her growing belly, weight gain, morning sickness, increased hair growth, fatigue and more. However, some changes, like those that occur in the mouth, are not so noticeable. As we discussed in our last blog post, Why are my gums swollen and bleeding during pregnancy, some women experience oral health issues like gingivitis and periodontal disease.
This is why it’s important to let your dentist know, as soon as you are able, that you are pregnant. This way, your dentist can answer your questions, share what to expect and provide oral care guidance that’s best for each stage of your pregnancy. Here are five frequently asked questions about dental care during pregnancy.
Is it safe to see the dentist while I’m pregnant?
Was this at the top of your list? The answer is that it’s safe to go to the dentist when you are expecting. But more than that, it’s totally necessary. Not going can put you and your baby’s health at risk. Plus, according the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women should get the dental care they need during pregnancy.
Are dental X-rays safe during pregnancy?
Because the goal is making sure that you are healthy (and therefore your baby is healthy), it’s more important to consider if an x-ray is necessary to identify and treat a dental problem. The fact is that not getting one can be harmful. The radiation from individual x-rays is not significant. And normally, when x-raying your teeth, your dental office will use a leaded collar to cover your throat to protect your thyroid or a leaded apron to protect your abdomen. Again, be sure to make your dental provider aware that you are expecting.
Is dental anesthesia safe when you’re expecting?
Per the American Pregnancy Association it is important to strike a balance between making the mother comfortable and using as little anesthesia as possible. But if you are feeling pain during a dental procedure, tell your dentist so he or she can help you get comfortable. Because if you are comfortable, then your baby will be comfortable. And if you experience pain and stress, then your baby will as well.
Can I have teeth cleanings while I’m pregnant?
Getting regular cleanings is a vital part of maintaining good oral health during pregnancy. As your body prepares for your baby, it releases various hormones; the change in hormonal levels can lead to different oral health issues like gingivitis or even periodontal disease.
This is why some dental plans have prenatal wellness programs that provide free extra cleanings for women that are expecting. So, be sure to keep this in mind as you look for a dental plan.
Can a pregnant woman have a tooth pulled?
In general, if the work is not needed and can wait until after pregnancy, per the American Pregnancy Association, this may be the best route. But if you need a tooth pulled, root canal, tooth filling or other major services because there’s a risk of infection, then it’s important to get this work done.
Finally, when it comes to dental care during pregnancy, it’s simplest to think about it like an if/then statement.
- If mom’s dental health is compromised, then mom’s overall health is at risk.
- If mom’s overall health is at risk, then her baby’s health may be affected.
So, as you go down your checklist titled, Things to do now that I’m pregnant, don’t forget to inform your dentist and do your best to maintain your oral health more than ever before.