Your family is growing, and that’s a beautiful thing. Have you wondered if dental procedures during pregnancy are safe for you and your baby? This is a common concern of expecting moms. You are naturally concerned about putting your baby at risk. We here at Sherwood Dental would like to alleviate some of those concerns.
Should I avoid dental procedures during pregnancy?
Yes, avoiding unnecessary dental procedures during pregnancy is recommended. Procedures, such as teeth whitening and other cosmetic procedures, should be postponed until after your baby arrives.
If you have entered your third trimester, non-emergency dental work should be postponed until after the birth of your little one.
Are cleanings and exams safe dental procedures during pregnancy?
Sherwood Dental recommends dental cleanings and exams during pregnancy because hormone levels rise during pregnancy. This rise in hormone levels causes gums to swell, bleed or possibly trap food. Gums can become irritated making you susceptible to gum disease.
Because gum disease has been linked to premature birth in babies, dental cleanings and exams during pregnancy are vital. Regular cleanings can help your feel more comfortable, too.
Are fillings and crowns safe dental procedures during pregnancy?
Fillings and crowns reduce the chance of gum disease. If a filling or crown is needed during pregnancy, it is best to have these procedures done while you are in your second trimester. Lying on your back for a long period of time while in your third trimester may be difficult to do. If it is possible to postpone a filling or a crown until after your baby is born, it is best to wait.
Should emergency procedures be avoided during pregnancy?
Root canals and tooth extractions are emergency dental procedures that may happen during a pregnancy. If you must undergo an emergency dental procedure during your pregnancy, ask your dentist to administer the smallest amount of local anesthesia possible. It is important that you are comfortable. When you are comfortable, you are less stressed. When you are less stressed, there is less stress on your baby. If you experience any pain during a dental procedure, ask for more numbing medicine.
Current studies on the possible adverse side effects from using medications during pregnancy vary. Lidocaine is labeled a Category B medication. It is the most commonly used local anesthetic in dental procedures. Because Lidocaine crosses the placenta after it is administered, people wonder about its safety to your developing baby. The use of Lidocaine is safest when administered during the second trimester.
Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed after emergency dental procedures to prevent or treat infections. Penicillin, amoxicillin and clindamycin are also labeled Category B medications. They are considered safe to use while pregnant.
Be wary of the use of antibiotics while you are breastfeeding your baby. These medications can be hard on your newborn’s tummy.
Before taking medications of any kind, talk with your family doctor first. Always consult your family doctor if you are concerned about the risk medications may be to you and your baby.
Should x-rays be used during pregnancy?
It is typical to have x-rays taken during annual exams. They are needed for most dental procedures, especially emergencies. According to the American College of Radiology, the radiation of one diagnostic x-ray is not significant enough to cause adverse effects in your developing baby. However, since babies develop their organs during the first trimester, it is best to avoid x-rays until after birth. If absolutely necessary, x-rays may be taken to help assess the risk of a toothache or abscess.
Sherwood Dental cares about our patients and the possible risks of dental procedures during pregnancy. We are concerned about our patients’ oral health and the proper development of their little ones. We suggest:
- Getting a full dental exam before conception. If you are planning a pregnancy in the near future, it is ideal to make sure you are free of cavities and infection beforehand.
- Eating a balanced diet for pregnant women as recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA)
- Brushing your teeth twice a day
- Flossing your teeth once daily
- Letting your dentist know you are expecting
- Having cleanings and exams while you are pregnant
- Postponing non-emergency dental work until your second trimester or until after delivery if possible
- Postponing unnecessary procedures, such as teeth whitening and other cosmetic procedures, until after delivery
If a dental procedure is necessary, we suggest:
- Keeping your legs uncrossed while in the dentist’s chair. This will help you maintain healthy circulation.
- Bringing a pillow to provide comfort for you and your baby
- Bringing headphones to listen to your favorite music during the procedure
- Asking Sherwood Dental about any concerns you may have about our procedures and protocols for our moms-to-be. We want you to be as comfortable as possible with your dental care.
If you have further concerns about dental procedures during pregnancy, please call Sherwood Dental at (780) 464-4166. We’d be happy to answer your questions. Congratulations!
Watch for our next post on what you can expect in the tooth development of your baby once they arrive!