Looking after your teeth during pregnancy

Your dental health has a big impact on your overall health, which in turn has a major influence on the health of your baby; so it’s important that you maintain a good dental health routine throughout your pregnancy.

Preventative Dental Cleanings

Preventive dental cleanings and regular, or annual examinations during pregnancy are not only safe, but are recommended. The rise in hormone levels during pregnancy causes the gums to swell, bleed, and trap food causing increased irritation to your gums.

Preventive dental work while pregnant is essential to avoid oral infections such as gum disease, which has been linked to preterm birth.

Maintaining your usual oral health routine is even more important when you’re pregnant since hormonal changes mean that you have an increased susceptibility to gum inflammations and infections. Some women develop “pregnancy gingivitis”, where gums swell and become more sensitive and bleed during brushing and flossing. Should this happen to you, your dentist is able to keep a close eye on your gums and help you manage the condition. Generally, this condition will resolve itself after you have your baby.

Regular dental work during pregnancy?

Dental work while pregnant, such as cavity fillings and crowns, should be treated to reduce the chance of infection. If dental work is done during pregnancy, the second is ideal. After the third it may be very difficult to lie on your back for an extended period of time.

The safest course of action is to postpone all unnecessary dental work until after the birth.

However, sometimes emergency dental work, such as a root canal or tooth extraction, is necessary. Elective treatments, such as teeth whitening and other cosmetic procedures, should be postponed until after the birth. It is best to avoid this dental work while pregnant and avoid exposing the developing baby to any risks, even if they are minimal.

Medications used in dental work during pregnancy?

If dental work is needed, the amount of anesthesia administered should be as little as possible, but still enough to make you comfortable. If you are experiencing pain, request additional numbing. When you are comfortable, the amount of stress on you and the baby is reduced. Also, the more comfortable you are, the easier it is for the anesthesia to work.

Dental work often requires antibiotics to prevent or treat infections. Antibiotics such as penicillin, amoxicillin, and clindamycin, which are labeled category B for safety in pregnancy, may be prescribed after your procedure.

Morning Sickness

If you suffer from morning sickness, you need to know that vomit is highly acidic and can cause irreversible damage to your teeth. Most people try to brush their teeth straight after a bout of morning sickness, it’s best to wait an hour or so as brushing too soon can strip away the enamel, which is the softened protective coating of your teeth, leaving them more vulnerable to decay and sensitivity.

X-rays used in dental work during pregnancy?

Routine x-rays typically taken during annual exams, can usually be postponed until after the birth. In emergencies we may need to have x-rays. Please be aware that, no single diagnostic x-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus.

According to the ADA, having dental X-rays during your pregnancy is considered safe with appropriate shielding.

Suggestions for addressing your pregnancy and dental work needs:

pregnant women should eat a balanced diet, brush their teeth thoroughly with 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

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.

Make an appointment today to discuss any concerns you may have about your orthodontic procedures, we will advise and support you and give you the information you need to ensure your oral health is not compromised during pregnancy.

If you would like more information, please contact our friendly reception staff at Fresh Smiles Belmont & Fresh Smiles Newtown on 5244 4466 to learn more.