Our dental office often gets the question about whether dental care is
important or necessary while pregnant. You may have heard that you shouldn’t
go to the dentist during pregnancy, but this is actually nothing more
than an old wives’ tale. It’s understandable you may be hesitant
to call your dentist office while you’re expecting, because you’ve
heard so many things are off-limits during pregnancy, and as a mom-to-be,
you want to do everything right for your baby.
Dental care is important during pregnancy because hormone changes can increase
the risk of periodontitis (gum disease) and dry mouth. You are still advised
to brush and floss twice daily during pregnancy, as it can prevent cavities.
You may also have a sweet tooth and cravings while pregnant, so it’s
doubly important to make sure you clean your teeth regularly. Also, repeated
vomiting from morning sickness can cause acid erosion of your teeth, which
is important to monitor as you’re expecting. You may also have a
more sensitive gag reflex while pregnant, but don’t worry. You can
try using a smaller toothbrush or try out different toothpaste flavors
to make brushing easier.
You may also wonder about your baby’s teeth developing in the womb.
This happens during the 3rd to 6th month of your pregnancy, meaning it’s important to monitor your
diet to support healthy growing teeth in your baby.
Are X-rays Safe During Pregnancy?
You’ve likely heard about radiation concerns during pregnancy. Fortunately,
modern digital radiography has almost eliminated radiation concerns, but
it’s still important to tell our dental staff if you are pregnant
before we take X-rays, so we can adequately shield your pelvis and abdomen
from exposure. There is very little risk to your baby, but if you do not
wish to have X-rays while pregnant, you can choose to forego them until
after you’ve had the baby. Remember, though, that gum infections
and pain developing during pregnancy may require X-rays to find the root
cause of your pain to treat it appropriately.
Is Anesthetic Safe During Pregnancy?
Local anesthesia, such as lidocaine, is safe during pregnancy. If you are
advised you need oral surgery, which is done under general anesthesia,
you should discuss this in advance with your OB/Gyn to determine if you
can have the surgery while pregnant or if it would be better for your
health and the baby’s health to wait until after you’ve given birth.
Which Trimester Is Best for Dental Care?
Dental care during
any trimester is safe, but the second trimester is the safest. Although still
safe, dental care during the third trimester may make it hard to lie on
your back for an extended period. In the first trimester, you may be more
prone to morning sickness and have a strong gag reflex, so you may wish
to wait a few months until your second trimester to seek dental care.
When Can I Get Dental Care After the Baby Is Born?
You’ve had the baby. Congratulations! Dental care may not be high
on your priority list at this point, but you should continue your dental
care as normal after you’ve given birth. For your baby, you should
wipe their gums after they nurse or have a bottle, as the sugar content
in breastmilk or formula can be bad for their gums. Schedule your baby’s
first dental appointment whenever their first tooth comes in, as your
dentist can check for a tongue tie or other oral issues that could delay
speech. This is easily remedied by your dentist.
If you’re still concerned about booking an appointment with your
dentist during pregnancy, consult with your obstetrician for their recommendations
and clarification on the safety of dental care during pregnancy, especially
more extensive dental work.
Contact us at Austell Dental Associates by dialing (770) 467-3888 to learn more.