First, congratulations on your pregnancy. With all the excitement associated with pregnancy, from eating for two to reacting to hormonal changes with mood swings and everything else, expectant mothers can easily overlook prenatal dental care as they attend to other matters. But a healthy mouth and dazzling smile is advantageous at any stage of the pregnancy.
That said, if you have been planning to get a smile makeover, you may wonder whether it is OK to proceed during pregnancy. There are many factors that determine what procedures can be safely performed during pregnancy, usually depending on the stage of your pregnancy.
Preventive dental care is recommended.
Generally, most preventive dental procedures, such as professional cleanings, checkups, cavity treatment, gum disease treatment, and even endodontic treatment can be safely performed during pregnancy. In fact, most dentists recommend these procedures to improve the dental health of an expectant mother.
Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy increase the risk of developing gum disease. In fact, this is such a common occurrence that pregnancy-related gum disease has been named “pregnancy gingivitis.” This condition can be very problematic because it is painful, and if untreated can lead to long-term periodontal disease. Plus it can increase the risk of premature labour or birth of an underweight baby.
As such, it is important for women to combine at-home preventive care with regular dental visits to reduce the risk of gum disease, and to initiate early intervention when any problems are detected. In other words, basic and emergency care should not be postponed or avoided.
Elective procedures may need to be delayed.
When it comes to non-obligatory procedures, such as cosmetic procedures, teeth bleaching, and many types of more complicated procedures, it is often recommended that you wait until after delivery.
Concerns about the use of anaesthetics.
Most local anaesthetics can be safely used during pregnancy. According to a report published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, routine and preventive dental work, including the administration of local anaesthetic, is not only safe during pregnancy, but also important for the health of both the expectant mother and the unborn child.
X-Rays and Pregnancy.
Many pregnant women are concerned about the effect of radiation from dental x-rays on their unborn child. Be assured that several studies have shown that routine diagnostic dental x-rays are safe for pregnant patients. Your unborn child is safely protected by the lead apron.
Best trimester for dental work.
Dentists generally try to avoid any dental treatment in the first trimester, beyond emergency care and professional cleanings. This is because this is the time when most of the organs and body systems of the fetus are developing, and are thus vulnerable to external influences. After the first few months, most of this formation is complete, with the remainder of the fetal development being dedicated to growth and maturation. Furthermore, the nausea associated with the first trimester often makes longer appointments more difficult.
You may also want to avoid any long procedures during the third trimester if you might be uncomfortable staying in one position in the dental chair. In terms of safety, though, the best time for any dental treatment is any time during the second or third trimester. But if you have concerns during any other period of your pregnancy, contact our dentist at Discovery Dental regarding your needs.