WHAT PREGNANCY CAN DO TO YOUR TEETH
While pregnant, gums tend to bleed more than usual (estrogen and progesterone increase blood flow in this area). Also, many women increase their carb consumption, and have difficulty brushing their back teeth due to a stronger gag reflex and/or morning sickness. All of this adds up to an increase in dental issues such as cavities, sensitive teeth, plaque build-up, and periodontal disease.
In a recent study (Journal of the American Dental Association, August 2015), one in four women ”reported to have dental problems during dental treatment”, yet only half of those sought treatment. The most common treatment was a root canal or a tooth extraction to relieve pain. Although some dental emergencies are hard to avoid, many dental issues are preventable.
IS IT SAFE TO SEE A DENTIST WHILE PREGNANT?
Routine dental cleanings are recommended. As mentioned above, they can really help improve bleeding gums and those keep those hard-to-reach teeth clean and healthy. Most dental visits are in the second or third trimester. Elective dental procedures should wait until after the baby is born.
According to the JADA study mentioned earlier, pregnant women who had dental treatment for dental issues experienced no significant changes in regards to percentages of miscarriages and birth defects when compared with pregnant women who did not receive any dental treatment. This study included women who received X Rays, deep periodontal work, and anesthetic injections.
My Advice, For What It’s Worth
Although having a dental procedure while pregnant is safe, it would be one less stressful thing to worry about during those challenging months. If you are deciding to have a child, it is best to have a cleaning and full exam before becoming pregnant. If any cavities or dental problems are found at the exam, have them taken care of right away. I have treated many pregnant women in my office, and I have never had any issues. One of my siblings even had an emergency root canal while in her third trimester! If you are pregnant and have a tooth in pain, it is best to have your tooth fixed. Pain and possible dental infections are much more harmful to you and/or the baby than having it taken care of at the dentist while pregnant. As always, consult your doctor before any procedures.
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