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.