Why Regular Dental Care Is Important During Pregnancy
Regular dental care is important for everyone, but during pregnancy, you do have a higher risk of things like cavities and gingivitis.
Your changing hormones leave you susceptible to swelling and inflammation in your gums, and severe morning sickness can introduce abnormal bacteria to your mouth .
These are minor issues, but if you dont treat them they can become pretty big ones.
Since pregnancy lasts 9 months and youll be too busy dealing with a newborn to get to your dentist right after birth you could end up neglecting treatment for a year or more if you avoid the dentist just because youre pregnant.
And in case you need another reason to sit yourself down in the dentist chair during pregnancy, the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center says you can actually give cavity-causing bacteria to your baby. Talk about a gag reflex!
Dental Work While Pregnant
Dental work while pregnant might seem a trivial thing to doubt for safety. But it is essential to know that any treatment involving the use of anesthetics can be potentially damaging for your baby.
Anesthesia leads to a temporary coma. The overdose of anesthetics can even cause a permanent coma. It is the dose of anesthetic which decides the extent of induced deep sleep.
The dose varies depending on the age of a patient. In case of babies, the dose would be extremely less compared to adults.
The dose also depends on other things like blood pressure, heart rate, and any disease. You and your baby are different like chalk and cheese for all these parameters.
Anesthetics always go into your bloodstream as they are intravenous injections. What once goes into your bloodstream reaches every organ. Through blood, the anesthetic goes to your baby.
Due to the anesthetic, your babys heart rate can drop below normal or even stop! There is a high risk involved.
How Does Pregnancy Affect Your Teeth
Pregnancy can affect the body in a huge variety of ways, including the teeth. There is an old wives tale that you lose a tooth with every baby but fear not, this doesnt have to be the case! Especially not with todays improved dental care, diet, and awareness of the problems that we can face, and the toll that being pregnant can take on your teeth.
It may come as a bit of a surprise, but the reason for your teeth being compromised during pregnancy is easily explained hormones. Those pesky little surges can affect just about everything in your body, and while youre pregnant they can increase your bodys reaction to the layer of plaque that builds up on your teeth over time. This can lead to an inflammation, and so to gum disease. Gum disease can be painful, and it can even cause your teeth to become loose over time.
Another factor in pregnancy taking its toll on your teeth is morning sickness many women suffer from vomiting during pregnancy, and the acidity of the bile can wear away the enamel of the teeth.
Unusual food cravings can affect your teeth, as well as the rest of your body, especially if you find yourself reaching for chocolate and sweets.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding can also leach calcium from your body, which can adversely affect your teeth but this will normalise after you have had your baby and they have weaned.
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Whats Safe And Not Safe During Pregnancy
One of the first reasons why women avoid the dentist during pregnancy is because theyre experiencing nausea. We absolutely understand that when youre feeling queasy, even brushing your teeth can be enough to put you over the edge. By all means, if you need to put off your six-month dental check-up until you reach your second trimester, feel free to do so.
That said, you should plan on coming in at some point during your pregnancy for an exam. Theres no risk in having an oral examination and dental cleaning while youre pregnant just let us know if youre taking any medication, have a high risk pregnancy, or have other instructions from your doctor. While we offer protection with a leaded apron and collar when we take x-rays, if youd prefer to wait until after your baby is born, we are happy to accommodate that.
What if you need dental work? You might be surprised to know that dental treatment with local anesthetics is perfectly safe during pregnancy. Putting off treatment can have a significant impact on your oral health, so theres no reason not to get that filling or crown while youre pregnant. Indeed, the consequences of leaving dental issues untreated during pregnancy outweigh the risks of dental work.
But What If There Is A Dental Emergency
If you need emergency dental work that cant wait like a root canal or tooth extraction, the best time to address it is the second trimester. This goldilocks time period is good because the first trimester is where all the major development happens with your baby and its wise to avoid disrupting that. The third trimester is difficult for dental work because it is difficult to lay on your back for long periods of time. Above all though, the most important thing you can do is ask your dentist Is this absolutely necessary? If the answer is no, wait it out!
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What Can I Do To Ensure A Healthy Mouth During Pregnancy
Brushing and flossing twice a day can fall by the wayside during pregnancy for many reasons, including morning sickness, a more sensitive gag reflex, tender gums and exhaustion.
Its especially important to keep up your routine, as poor habits during pregnancy have been associated with premature delivery, growth restriction, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
Also, eating a balanced diet and visiting your dentist regularly will help reduce dental problems that can occur in pregnancy.
Dental Tips During Pregnancy
Here are some tips to help you maintain good oral health while you are pregnant:
- Brush and floss your teeth twice a day or after each meal with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Use over-the-counter alcohol-free fluoride mouth rinse.
- Rinse your mouth out with water or brush your teeth after episodes of morning sickness. If the toothpaste is causing the morning sickness, talk with your dentist about recommended brands.
- Visit your dentist on a regular basis. Do not skip a dental appointment because you are pregnant. Hormonal changes can put you at an increased risk for disease.
- Inform your doctor about your dental health and treatment.
- Receive regular dental cleanings.
- Postpone elective procedures until after giving birth.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Avoid overindulging in sugary treats.
- Talk with your dentist about the risks and benefits involved with any treatment you may need.
- Pay attention to changes that may occur in your teeth and gums.
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Yes A Root Canal Is Safe During Pregnancy
The American Dental Association and American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agree that root canals can be safely performed during pregnancy. Local anesthetics and antibiotics such as penicillin and amoxicillin are approved for use as well. Radiographs can also be performed, as long as abdominal and thyroid shielding are used when the radiographs are taken.1
Dental Fillings During Pregnancy
Dental work during pregnancy such as cavity fillings should be treated as soon as possible to reduce chances of infection. Dental fillings should be postponed until after the first trimester, though.
Getting this done before your baby is born gives you a little less to worry about later on. Your dentist can even help you with any pregnancy-related dental symptoms.
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Cervical Screening During Pregnancy
You will not usually need to have cervical screening if you’re pregnant, or could be pregnant, until at least 12 weeks after you’ve given birth. This is because pregnancy can make it harder to get clear results.
If you’re already pregnant and due for a cervical screening test then tell the GP or clinic.
You will usually be advised to reschedule the test for a date around 12 weeks after your baby is born.
If you’ve previously had an abnormal result from a cervical screening test, you may need to be screened while you’re pregnant. Your GP or midwife may ask you to have a cervical screening test at your first antenatal appointment. This test will not affect your pregnancy.
How To Improve Your Teeth While Pregnant
Luckily, there is a lot you can do at home to help your teeth stay in their best shape while youre pregnant, that will help them stay firmly in your mouth where they belong.
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Are There Pregnancy Risks For Tooth Extractions
The ADA has determined that tooth extractions are safe during pregnancy. If you need an extraction during pregnancy, try to schedule it during your second trimester or after youve given birth. During the first trimester, your babys vital organs are developing, and you will want to avoid every possible risk including medicines and antibiotics. The third trimester is also safe. However, it can be uncomfortable to lie on your back for long periods of time.
Be extra vigilant about your oral health care during pregnancy to avoid unnecessary extractions. If you must have an extraction, consult with your dentist and obstetrician about painkillers and antibiotics that are safe.
Is Dental X Ray Safe During Pregnancy
According to American College of Radiology, a single X-ray is never enough to cause any damage to the fetus.
American Dental Association declared Dental X-ray during pregnancy safe with proper precautions.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists permits dental X rays during pregnancy.
Dental X-ray during pregnancy needs an abdominal shield and lowest dose of radiation. Dental X-ray during pregnancy is safe. Digital Dental X-ray is safer than the traditional x-ray.
Dental X-ray during pregnancy should not take many images as long-term exposure can cause spontaneous abortion.
Other ill effects of dental work during pregnancy can cause genetic abnormality or bone deformation.
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If You Have Bad Breath You May Want To Know Why
If you follow a strict regimen that includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing, you may already be confident in your smile. However, if you have bad breath even with good oral hygiene, it tells you that something is wrong. Your dentist can examine the problem and treat any existing oral conditions.
Most importantly, going to the dentist will help protect your overall health. According to research, gum disease is connected to diabetes and heart disease. Your risk increases to these two conditions when you are pregnant. Being hypertensive or with high blood pressure is common in pregnant women. You want to make sure you are in perfect health when you are ready to deliver your baby.
Visiting the dentist can also allow you to have your current oral hygiene examined. This way, you can build a better routine when taking care of your teeth and the entire mouth. Whatever advice you receive, it is highly recommended that you maintain and turn it into a habit.
Tooth Extraction During Pregnancy
There are a couple of conflicting studies about the medication used in tooth extractions, especially Lidocaine and Novocaine.
Some studies say that Lidocaine crosses the placenta and could affect the baby. Others say that there havent been any identified problems related to Lidocaine or Novacaine although, common sense would say that just because problems havent been identified doesnt mean they dont exist!
The American Dental Association and other health agencies say that tooth extraction during pregnancy is totally safe, but they do recommend consulting with a prenatal care health practitioner first.
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Theres Plenty To Think About When Youre Expecting A Baby But Dont Forget To Think About Your Oral Health Too
Some expecting mums will go the whole nine months with no oral health issues, however the fact of the matter is that pregnancy puts you at higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease also known as pregnancy gingivitis.
There is also growing evidence to suggest a link between gum disease and premature, underweight births. More research is needed to confirm how gum disease affects pregnancy outcomes. But it appears that gum disease triggers increased levels of biological fluids that induce labour. Data also suggests that when gum disease worsens during pregnancy, theres a higher risk of having a premature baby.
Can I Get Routine Dental Work While Pregnant
Routine dental work like plaque removal and cleaning is good and not harmful.
Any dental treatment which doesnt require the use of anesthetics is safe. In fact, preventive and routine dental care while pregnant is a good practice.
The bacteria in the plaque region or gingivitis or any other local teeth disorder might spread and get into the pulp cavity.
The blood veins present in pulp cavity of teeth will carry these bacteria to other parts of the body. They can even reach your baby.
Since your baby doesnt have a robust immune system developed yet, these bacteria can cause severe infections.
Preventive dental care such as cleaning of scales is done after six months. A normal pregnancy will last for nine months, and thus youll have to get such treatments.
Is It Safe To Have Anesthesia During Your Tooth Extraction
Yes! Arent you surprised by how many of these things youre allowed to do during pregnancy?
But lets back up a sec, because not all kinds of anesthesia are safe. Local anesthesia which, as the name suggests, is injected via syringe into one part of your body doesnt travel through your bloodstream and is perfectly safe to use during a pregnancy-era dental procedure.
Some other kinds of anesthesia are OK, too, although some experts warn about the safety of undergoing sedation or general anesthesia during pregnancy .
If youre worried, talk with your dentist and your pregnancy-related health provider, whether thats an OB-GYN or midwife. Collectively, you should be able to figure out what you can safely use during your procedure.
Dental Safe Medications During Pregnancy
Most dental medications are safe during pregnancy.
- Is dental anesthesia safe during pregnancy? Lidocaine is safe. It is the most common local dental anesthetic used. It doesnt cross the placenta and is safe. Dentists also use another drug Novocaine. Is Novocaine safe during pregnancy? Novocaine is also a local anesthetic but is obsolete.
- Epinephrine is also safe provided the pregnant woman has proper preventive care. Cardiovascular modulators can potentially cause oxygen shortage in blood. Epinephrine with Lidocaine is the dental anesthesia used for dental work during pregnancy.
- Tetracycline antibiotics for dental care during pregnancy can discolor babys teeth.
- Codeine and propoxyphene are safe for dental work during pregnancy.
- Acetaminophen as an analgesic or pain reliever is safe for dental care during pregnancy. Aspirin and other anti-inflammatory medicines can harm a pregnant woman. Ibuprofen and naproxen can also harm pregnant women.
- Is teeth bleaching safe during pregnancy? No, the bleach and other fluoride compounds are not safe for baby.
- Antibiotics such as penicillin, amoxicillin, cephalosporins, and clindamycin are safe. Doctors prescribe them for post dental treatment care during pregnancy.
Dental Care During Pregnancy
Some women want to know that if dental work safe during pregnancy safe.
Dental care and oral hygiene during pregnancy are essential during pregnancy.
A study published in Journal of American Dental Association says dental anesthesia is safe during 13th to 21st weeks of pregnancy.
Local or topical dental anesthesia for essential dental work during pregnancy is safe.
Periodontal treatment during pregnancy did not cause any severe ill effects in a pregnant woman.
Pregnant women in early or late pregnancy should avoid root canal and other treatments. It is because they differ in post-treatment care.
Should I Follow Up With My Dentist After I Give Birth
During pregnancy and following a birth, your teeth and gums go through changes, just as your body does. It is a good idea to follow up with your dentist after you give birth. At this time, any treatments that have been postponed can be finished and your dentist can assess the health of your teeth and gum.
A follow up with your dentist can happen shortly after birth, after youve recovered, and should be scheduled no later than your bi-annually check-up. For your childs dental health, a visit to the dentist should occur as soon as their first tooth comes through but no later than their first birthday.
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