Dental care is not put on hold while you’re pregnant! It is actually much more important to keep careful analysis of your oral health while you are pregnant, as you’re at a much higher risk of developing gum disease, tooth decay and other issues.
Unfortunately, the widespread belief that visiting the dentist can be harmful for you and baby puts women off visiting the dentist, which leads to serious dental problems.
Prioritise dentist appointments
If you are at a stage of planning to get pregnant soon, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your dentist to deal with any outstanding issues, such as impacted wisdom teeth, to reduce any further risk of complications that may occur.
It is advisable to let your dentist know as soon as your pregnancy starts. Here at The Mall Stockport we can discuss any pregnancy and oral health concerns with you. We can schedule regular check ups to make sure your teeth are in top condition throughout.
Your dental health has a big impact on your overall health, which also means that any untreated oral health issues can be harmful to your baby, too. As you experience lots of changes during pregnancy such as hormone spikes and irregular food cravings, you can seriously put your oral health at risk of damage.
Can pregnant women have x-rays?
In the first trimester your dentist may advise you to avoid x-rays for non essential check up appointments. However, in cases of dental emergencies and severe pain, x-rays would still be used.
Modern day technology has improved so much that a single dose of very low radiation is not usually high enough to affect any development of the foetus. Dentists will shield your baby bump with a lead apron and thyroid guard.
Is anaesthetic safe?
Anaesthetic is used to numb the pain that a procedure could cause, but it can also be used to relax your nerves. Discussing your pregnancy before any procedure is important. This gives your dentist a chance to choose appropriate levels and the safest anaesthesia you require. Your dentist will only use the lowest concentration of anaesthesia possible for the type of procedure you need. This will not affect how relaxed you feel, as helping you and the baby feel relaxed is an essential component your dentist takes into consideration.
If you do need a dental procedure while pregnant that needs anaesthetic, ideally your dentist will advise you waiting for your second trimester. Dentists will avoid anaesthetic containing delypressin as this carries chemicals that constrict the blood vessels. Question your dentist about what anaesthetic they are using if you have any worries or concerns.
Tooth extractions and root canal treatments
Pulling teeth and root canal treatments are recommended to be carried out during the second trimester, which avoids any x-rays in the first trimester and the third trimester, when it is usually too uncomfortable for lying on your back for extended periods of time. Extractions are a last resort for dentists, who will always try to save your tooth if possible.
Extractions can be performed any time during pregnancy and will only be carried out when the tooth can not be saved and it is leaving you with severe pain and further risk of oral health problems.
If tooth decay reaches the inside of your tooth where the nerve endings are, this can be severely painful and affect your everyday life. Root canal treatment can stop the pain by removing the infected tissue and restoring the tooth. Your dentist will fit you with a natural-looking crown, so the tooth would not need to be pulled. Root canal treatment can be performed at any stage of pregnancy, but once again ideally should be carried out in your second trimester.
Teeth Whitening and Braces
Teeth whitening can be performed while you’re pregnant, but this is classed a non-emergency treatment. Your dentist will recommend waiting for non essential dental treatments to be carried out once you have given birth.
Avoid at-home whitening kits unless you check with your dentist on the safety levels of chemicals, and whether your teeth are in good enough health. Avoid whitening by anybody except your professional dentist, as it is illegal.
If you are already undergoing orthodontic treatment, it doesn’t need to stop because you are pregnant. You can even have new braces fitted during your pregnancy, although your dentist may recommend that you wait until after the birth, as there can sometimes be complications.
Having braces requires x-rays, so once again fitting them in the second trimester would be recommended. It can be more costly having braces during pregnancy as your face and mouth change shape when you gain weight during your pregnancy, which could mean that your braces need to be adjusted or that new impressions need to be made of your teeth to create a new set of aligners.
Some women experience swelling of the gums and other facial tissues during pregnancy, which can sometimes cause irritation from brace wires and brackets, so make sure you take this into account and discuss your options with your dentist.
Keeping up with your dentist appointments and committing to good oral hygiene will make it less likely you will need to correct any dental problems during pregnancy. Avoiding unhealthy pregnancy cravings, and ensuring that you floss and brush, will help. In cases of morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water and always wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth. This will avoid damaging the enamel on your teeth.