Dental work while pregnant is a common concern for expectant mothers. Preventative care such as professional cleanings and routine exams are not only safe during pregnancy but recommended. Gestation causes an increase in hormone levels, resulting in swollen and bleeding gums. Inflammation can cause food to get trapped between teeth and below the gum line, leading to irritation or oral infection.
Proper oral hygiene during pregnancy is important to avoid dental health problems like gingivitis that has been linked to premature birth.
Pregnancy and Dental Care
Necessary dental work while pregnant should not be avoided to reduce the chances of oral infection. The second trimester is the best time for restorative treatments like fillings or crowns. By the time a pregnant woman reaches her third trimester, it may be difficult to lie on a dentist’s chair for an extended period. The best course of action is to postpone unnecessary dental work until after the baby is born.
At times, an expectant mother needs to have an emergency procedure such as a tooth extraction or a root canal. These situations are the exception. Cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening should wait until after birth to avoid exposing the developing fetus to any unnecessary health risks.
Medications, Dental Work, and Pregnancy
Currently, Lidocaine is used most commonly for pregnant women who need dental work. Although there is conflicting research about the adverse effects of drugs on developing fetuses, lidocaine is used most commonly because it doesn’t cross the placenta. Lidocaine is a category B (safe for pregnancy) medication.
If dental treatment is necessary, the least amount of anesthesia should be used to keep the expectant patient comfortable. If the pregnant mother to be is feeling pain, additional numbing should be administered to lessen stress on her and the baby.
To avoid or treat oral infections, antibiotics may be required. Amoxicillin, clindamycin, and penicillin are category B antibiotics that may be prescribed after dental work.
Dental X-Rays During Pregnancy
A routine dental x-ray may be postponed during a bi-annual dentist visit. If it is necessary for emergency dental work, then it will be performed. With the proper shielding, a single dental x-ray is considered safe during pregnancy.