When you’re pregnant it seems like everything changes, and you probably have a lot of questions. You question everything you do from what you eat to how to exercise and even how you sleep. If your regularly scheduled dental cleaning happens to fall during your pregnancy or you have a dental emergency arise, you may question whether or not it is safe to go to the dentist while pregnant.
While it is normal to question dental work safety during pregnancy, the good news is that most dental procedures are still safe to have done. Be sure to let your dentist know that you are pregnant before or when you arrive so that the proper precautions can be taken.
Is Dental Work Safe During Pregnancy?
A: An old wives’ tale states that each pregnancy claims one tooth, but in reality, pregnancy need not damage your teeth at all. Before you become pregnant, see your dentist to care for any existing problems and find out whether you need nutritional supplements such as prenatal vitamins.
Pregnancy is not a bar to dental work, but timing is important for non-emergency issues. Postpone elective procedures until after the baby is born, but make an appointment for the second trimester. Pregnant women are more likely to suffer from gingivitis, so a thorough deep cleaning only makes sense. This also allows your dentist to assess you for any emerging problems and treat them before they become severe.
The first trimester and the second half of the third trimester are considered the riskiest times to have dental work done, but even then, the risks are very slight. If you need emergency dental care, seek it, regardless of how far along you are. Tell your dentist and staff that you are pregnant to ensure proper X-ray shielding, and keep in mind that the risks from an untreated dental infection are much higher than the risks of emergency dental care.
Is it Safe to Have X-Rays During Pregnancy?
According to the American College of Radiology, the amount of radiation that is delivered in one X-Ray is too low to cause any damage to a developing embryo or fetus. Even so, if X-Rays are simply routine and not absolutely necessary, it would be best to postpone them until your next visit. If you need emergency dental care that requires X-Rays to be taken, a lead apron is used to drape over your body so that the radiation does not pass through.
The American Dental Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists collectively agree that X-Rays are safe during pregnancy as long as the proper shielding is used.
Are Medications Used in Dental Procedures Safe During Pregnancy?
One of the biggest concerns about undergoing dental procedures during pregnancy is the anesthesia and medications used during and after the procedure. One of the most common numbing agents, lidocaine, has been proven to cross through the placenta after administration. Of course, the risk is lower when only the minimum dosage is used.
It is for this reason that it is best to postpone any non-emergency dental work until after your pregnancy. But in the case of an emergency, where there is severe pain or a procedure needs to be done immediately to save a tooth, the benefit outweighs the risk.
Antibiotics are prescribed following some dental procedures to prevent infection. Most antibiotics such as amoxicillin, penicillin, and clindamycin fall into category B for use during pregnancy. Category B drugs are considered to be safe to use during pregnancy.
Should I Still Go to the Dentist For Routine Cleanings During Pregnancy?
Not only is it perfectly safe to have your teeth cleaned by your dentist during pregnancy, but it is also more important now. Pregnancy can harm your teeth in multiple ways.
- – The hormones that are present during pregnancy can cause your gums to swell, which increases your chances of developing gum disease and puts your teeth at a higher risk of decay. The prevention and treatment of gum disease is important, as it has been linked to preterm birth.
- – The growing fetus siphons nutrients from the mother, causing the mother’s nutrients to become depleted. Lack of tooth-strengthening minerals, such as calcium, can lead to weakened teeth that are more susceptible to cavities.
Visiting the dentist while pregnant to have your teeth cleaned and examined is not only safe, but important for your oral health as well as your overall health and the health of your baby.
Can I Have Elective Dental Work Done During Pregnancy?
In general, dental work can be performed during pregnancy. The second trimester is considered the safest, as the first and third trimesters are particularly critical times in the baby’s development. However, most dental experts agree that it is best to delay elective dental work until after your baby is born. There are two main reasons for this:
Risks to the Baby: It is extremely unlikely that one or two dental X-rays would harm the baby, particularly with proper shielding. Likewise, your dentist can come up with a combination of antibiotics and medications that are not considered especially harmful. However, pregnancy is a relatively short-term condition. It makes no sense to expose your baby to even minimal risks for a procedure that can be safely delayed until after you give birth.
Maternal Discomfort: Although a handful of women sail through pregnancy with no discomfort, most women battle some nausea, aches and pains, and other physical symptoms. Laying on your back in the dentist’s chair is not exactly comfortable under the best conditions, so why add to your general feelings of unwellness? Once you are back to your normal shape and size, dental appointments will be far more comfortable.
Tips for Making your Dental Visit Comfortable During Pregnancy
If you’re concerned about your personal comfort during a dental visit, these tips can help.
- – Avoid going to the dentist during your third trimester, if possible, as lying on your back for prolonged periods of time may be uncomfortable.
- – Bring a pillow for extra back or neck support.
- – Keep your legs uncrossed while in the dental chair to promote healthy circulation.
- – Avoid going to the dentist in the first trimester if morning sickness is a major problem for you.
- – Ask what dentist conveniences are available to make you more comfortable during your visit.
Trust Your Care To The Best Dentist in Savannah, GA
Proper dental care is more important than ever during your pregnancy. Trust your dental care during this time to the best dentist in Savannah, GA. Savannah Dental Solutions understands the unique circumstances of receiving dental care during your pregnancy and makes every effort to ensure your comfort and safety.
Call (912) 354-1366 today or contact us to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you maintain your dental health during this special time in your life.