Pregnant women are not exempted from oral health issues. The truth is they are more prone to dental problems because of their unusual cravings. So to answer your question, yes! It is safe to visit the dentist while pregnant. As a matter of fact, visiting an orthodontist during pregnancy is essential in keeping the mother’s health in good condition.
Why Dental Visit Is Important During Pregnancy
A woman’s health is more at risk when she is pregnant. That is the reason why health checkups are scheduled regularly, to ensure that the mother and baby are both safe. A visit to the dentist is also necessary during pregnancy. To fully understand why it’s necessary, let us discuss the different changes in a pregnant woman and how it affects her oral health.
- Pregnant women tend to eat more resulting in frequent vomiting ordeals. If you are not yet aware, when we vomit, the acid that came from the stomach will get in contact with the teeth. If this happens, the natural enamel or the thin covering of the teeth will wear down. Without this protection, tooth sensitivity and cavities will start to emerge. Your dentist will be able to figure out if your oral health issues are linked to your usual vomiting due to pregnancy. Dentists also recommend prompt brushing of teeth right after throwing up to clean out the acids.
- Change in hormones while pregnant may also result in gum diseases or gingivitis. This usually takes place during the 2nd trimester of pregnancy. It’s a state where the gums will start swelling and bleeding, in addition to this, soreness will also occur. The reason why it happens is because of hormonal changes in the pregnant woman’s body, these changes can increase blood flow in the gums. It is important to prevent this from happening as it can directly affect the pregnancy and the health of the baby, or worse, might even lead to premature birth.
- As mentioned, a pregnant woman’s immune system is weaker during pregnancy. Mainly because she is sharing her consumed nutrients with a baby in her belly. Because of this, her ability to combat dental plaque is highly affected. Untreated dental plaque can result in various oral health problems like tooth decay and infection.
To ensure your safe pregnancy journey without compromising your oral health, make sure to inform your family dentist. This way they will be able to determine why certain dental problems are emerging out of nowhere.
Not all dental treatments are safe for pregnant women. Dentists can only perform limited treatments to avoid any distress on the pregnant woman. Additionally, treatments are only recommended during the 2nd trimester. Doing any dental procedures before and after the 2nd trimester is risky not only for the mother but for the unborn child as well.
Some dentists suggest for pregnant women to wait until after the first trimester to undergo dental treatments as it has been linked to miscarriage in certain cases. Others opt to proceed in the treatment given that the health condition of the mother is not compromised beforehand.
Anesthetics for Pregnant Women
If the dental treatment is indeed necessary, a pregnant woman will most likely be induced with anesthetics. Local anesthetics such as bupivacaine, lidocaine, mepivacaine are generally safe for pregnant women. However, if your dentist thinks that stronger anesthetics are needed, consult your ob-gyn first.
What About Dental X-rays?
Dental X-rays are typically not recommended while pregnant. Doctors and dentists are trying to avoid this as much as possible. But in rare cases where dental X-rays are deemed necessary, it would be wiser to consult both your OB and dentist. Ideally, you will be asked to wait until after the baby is delivered. That way, your safety is much more guaranteed.
X-rays do not increase the risk of miscarriage nor raise issues on the baby while it’s still in the womb. The real problem will emerge during childhood where the child will be at risk of cancer. That is why even though it’s possible to use the lowest dose of radiation during dental X-rays, dentists still choose to not recommend it during pregnancy.
According to studies, oral treatments or any dental works do not increase the risk of miscarriage. Procedures like dental fillings, crowns, tooth extractions, and professional teeth cleaning can all be done while pregnant. Major dental operations like tooth extraction, however, is recommended during the 2nd trimester only. As for dental fillings, it should be utterly discussed with the dentist as some materials used in dental fillings can be harmful to the baby.
Whether or not you are experiencing dental problems during pregnancy, it is highly suggested for pregnant women to continue visiting their dentist. This is to ensure that your health is at prime while carrying a baby. Remember that oral problems caused by bacteria can greatly affect your unborn child.