According to the American Dental Association, pregnant women can safely undergo biannual dental examinations and cleaning. It is important to see a dentist at least once during your pregnancy because hormonal changes can affect your gums and cause them to swell. In such a case, the gums will no longer firmly grip your teeth causing plaque to build up below the gum level and cause decay and gum disease. So, cleaning is not only permitted, but highly recommended.
However, there are other dental procedures which should not be undertaken while pregnant, unless both your doctor and dentist decide they are absolutely necessary and cannot wait until after you have given birth:
Which dental procedures are safe during pregnancy?
- Brushing and flossing your teeth, and having your teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist.
- Examination and treatment of gingivitis, as gum disease can cause premature birth – make an appointment with your dentist if you experience red, swollen, or bleeding gums, or bad breath.
- Treating gum or other oral infections with penicillin, amoxicillin, and clindamycin.
- Filling cavities, if they are large or are causing you a lot of pain. But only request as much anesthesia as you really need because Lidocaine – the most commonly used anesthesia – is known to cross over to the placenta.
- Emergency root canal treatments and extractions may be necessary, as the risk of contracting an infection if they are left untreated is greater than the risks involved with the treatments themselves.
Which dental procedures are unadvisable or potentially dangerous during pregnancy?
- Treating gum or other oral infections with tetracycline, as it can discolor the baby's teeth.
- Dental x-rays, especially in the first trimester when the fetus' organs are still developing
- Teeth polishing
- Cosmetic treatments
- Undergoing lengthy procedures in the third trimester – it is difficult to lie on your back for long periods of time, as it limits your circulation and decreases the amount of oxygen that reaches the fetus.
To decrease the chance of dental problems during pregnancy, it is especially important to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and foods rich in calcium and vitamin D. If you must undergo any dental treatments during pregnancy, do everything possible to relax during the procedure in order to protect your fetus from the trauma of stress and anxiety.
Listen to music on earphones, don't cross your arms or legs while sitting in the dentist's chair, and don't hesitate to request more anesthesia so you won't feel pain and transfer your tension to the fetus.
If you're still unsure or want to know more, contact a professional like John P Poovey DMD PC with any questions or concerns you have.