Dental Precautions for Pregnant Women
Without question, becoming a mother is a truly exciting time in a person’s life. Although pregnancy can be a blessing, it also comes with its share of fears and concerns like whether or not it’s safe to go to the dentist. According to international and national standard of care, the recommendation is that routine oral health assessments can and should be performed regularly throughout pregnancy.
Dental treatment and pregnancy:
Dental work during pregnancy is not only is it safe, but necessary. Recommendations from the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP), as well as doctors and paediatricians continue to urge women to care for their periodontal health while pregnant. Research has indicated that women with periodontal disease may be at risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such giving birth to a pre-term or low-birth weight baby, reports the AAP and EFP.
In addition, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists released a statement encouraging pregnant women to sustain their oral health and recommended regular dental cleanings during pregnancy.
“It is important for expectant mothers to monitor their periodontal health and to have a conversation with their periodontist or dentist about the most appropriate care. By maintaining your periodontal health, you are not only supporting your overall health, but also helping to ensure a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby,” says Dr. Newhouse.
The best time for treatment is between the 14th and 20th weeks.
- When is the safest time to get dental treatment done?
- 2nd trimester.
- When is the worst time to get dental treatment?
- 1st trimester.
Dental X-rays and pregnancy:
- Digital X-rays (reduce radiation by 90% compared to non-digital X-rays)
- Lead apron with thyroid collar is necessary
- If an X-ray is necessary (e.g. you get a toothache while you’re pregnant), the best time to get it is during the 2nd trimester. For peace of mind, it is possible to defer elective dental X-rays until after the pregnancy.
Common dental issues during pregnancy:
- Pregnancy gingivitis: Around 40% of pregnant women have some form of periodontal (gum) disease. Hormone changes during pregnancy can effect the gums, making them more tender and inflamed in response to bacteria along the gum line. Research has indicated that women with periodontal disease may be at risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such giving birth to a pre-term or low-birth weight baby, reports the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP).
- Pregnancy tumor on the gum: A painless bump on the gums that can be pink, red or purple. It will usually not cause problems. See your dentist if you think you may be having an issue.
- Pregnant women with periodontal disease may be 7 times more likely to have a baby that is born too early or too small.
- Seeing your dentist while you are pregnant can help to identify any warning signs and possibly treat or avoid problems entirely.
- Morning sickness: Stomach acid can damage the surface of your teeth and promote tooth decay. If you vomit, rinse your mouth with water or use a fluoride mouthwash afterwards. The worst thing you can do is brush your teeth immediately after vomiting. Why? Vomiting is acidic and makes your enamel soft for about 45minutes, so the bristles of the tooth and the pressure of the toothbrush will be too abrasive to the softened teeth. You’ll end up scrubbing off your enamel. Wait about 45-60 minutes before you brush. Doesn’t sound appetising I know, but that’s the best you can do to protect your teeth.