Dental Care during Pregnancy
Expectant mothers know to keep a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy to ensure the health of their new baby and often have concerns about receiving dental treatment during gestation, leading them to avoid any treatment altogether.
Pregnant women with untreated gum (periodontal) disease are 3-5 times more likely to give birth early and 6 times more likely to have a low-birth weight baby!
We recommend seeing your dentist and hygienist for a healthy mouth check when you begin planning to have a baby to have any dental work completed and ensure your gums are in top condition.
Gingivitis is a condition of the gums which is caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque, during pregnancy hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone are increased, which makes the gums react in an exaggerated way. You may notice your gums looking red and swollen and may bleed when you brush.
Periodontal disease is a more serious condition which leads to the breakdown of the tissues holding the gum and tooth together, these areas are toxic bacteria reservoirs which create a large wound allowing bacteria to enter the bloodstream. This can trick the body into an early labor.
Should I receive dental care during treatment?
It is essential that your oral health is kept in prime condition during pregnancy, you should continue with your routine check-ups and hygiene treatment.
Major dental treatments should be postponed until after the birth unless essential and carried out in the second trimester if possible. During the third trimester it may be too uncomfortable to lie in the chair for long periods.
What about medications during pregnancy?
If dental work is needed anaesthesia can be used, the dentist will use a small amount, enough to relieve any discomfort, reducing the stress felt by you and your baby.
Certain antibiotics are safe for use during pregnancy, such as amoxicillin and clindamycin, your dentist will discuss any need with you.
Are dental x-rays safe?
Routine x-rays taken at your normal exam can be delayed until after the birth, however in emergencies x-rays may be needed. Diagnostic x-rays, especially the digital ones used at Dentist Direct do not produce sufficient radiation to affect the developing foetus.
How can I keep my mouth healthy during pregnancy?
· The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends pregnant women eat a balanced diet, brush their teeth thoroughly with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste twice a day, and floss daily.
· Have preventive exams and cleanings during your pregnancy.
· Let your dentist know you are pregnant.
· Postpone non-emergency dental work until the second trimester or after delivery, if possible.
· Elective procedures should be postponed until after the delivery.
· Maintain healthy circulation by keeping your legs uncrossed while you sit in the dentist’s chair.
· Take a pillow to help keep you and the baby more comfortable.