Pregnancy can be a busy and exciting time planning for your baby to be born. It can also be filled with concerns about doing all you can to ensure your baby is healthy. You have shown up for all your preliminary prenatal screenings, watched your diet and avoided alcohol and anything else that could jeopardize your infant’s health. We want to support your efforts and be your champion to make your pregnancy and the arrival of your bundle of joy as wonderful as possible. We know you have an overwhelming to-do list right now, but an important, often neglected area of prenatal care, is taking care of your oral health.
If you are planning to conceive, it is ideal to visit your dentist for a dental cleaning, checkup and assessment of the health of your gums beforehand. This will allow you time to treat any gum disease symptoms or gum infection well in advance.
Once pregnant, you must practice consistent oral care by brushing twice daily and flossing teeth once a day. Some pregnant women experience gum tenderness, swelling and bleeding gums, a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. The hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy are what cause this issue, and can make you vulnerable to developing gum disease. To prevent any harm to your baby, be vigilant about your oral care at this time, as gestational diabetes, intrauterine growth restriction, low birth weight, preeclampsia, and premature delivery have been linked with poor dental habits. If your dentist recommends additional cleanings to keep your oral health and gingivitis in check, be sure to keep your appointments.
We recognize that morning sickness and fatigue may deter you from wanting to brush and floss. We recommend mild tasting toothpastes, as they have been found to help minimize nausea. Should you get sick, rinse your mouth afterwards to protect your enamel from stomach acids.
A more uncommon occurrence during pregnancy, is swelling between the teeth caused by plaque buildup. While called “pregnancy tumors”, these benign, non-cancerous red, raw areas on the gums tend to bleed easily and appear in the second trimester. Should they not vanish after childbirth, they can be removed.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and The American Dental Association concur that regular dental care is safe when pregnant, and recommend women continue to receive it to avoid infection. New Look Dental is happy to serve you with routine dental care such as a dental filling, dental crown during your second trimester. Should a dental emergency occur at any time during your pregnancy, contact us immediately so we can quickly determine the best way to take care of your dental health and your baby.
When booking a dental appointment, be sure and inform your dentist that you are pregnant. While it is safe to receive dental treatment throughout your pregnancy, New Look Dental advises that elective cosmetic dentistry procedures such as teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, etc. be scheduled for after your baby arrives. This is primarily to ensure your comfort, as once expecting patients reach the third trimester, it can be uncomfortable sitting in a dental chair.
Probably one of the biggest questions we hear is whether it is safe to get a dental x-ray when expecting. Rest assured, the American Academy of Family Physicians deems x-rays during pregnancy to be safe. Today’s x-rays are much more advanced than decades ago and there is negligible exposure to the body with a teeth x-ray. The American College of Radiology also indicates that if an x-ray is needed for diagnostic purposes, it is safe to proceed, as the minute dose of radiation in one x-ray is far too small to cause any harm to a growing baby. Keeping moms healthy is a vital way to keep babies healthy, and an x-ray is often necessary in order to do that. In order to minimize exposure even more, we use leaded shields and aprons as a further means to protect your abdomen, developing fetus, throat and thyroid.
Many patients are additionally concerned about numbing medications. You can feel confident receiving dental procedures, as local anesthetics like lidocaine shots are proven to be safe for use during pregnancy.
Be sure to let us know of any medications or dental issues related to pregnancy, or if your obstetrician has advised that we follow any precautions to keep you and your baby safe.
- Pregnancy cravings that tempt expectant mothers to consume sugar-laden snacks and weird food combinations, are due to pregnancy hormones affecting taste buds. This can also cause a metallic taste in the mouth.
- Baby’s first teeth develop when the mother is in the second trimester — one more reason to eat healthy, mineral-rich foods to encourage optimal bone, teeth and gum growth.
After Baby Arrives
We understand you are overtired with baby care throughout the day and night, but we advise patients who had pregnancy gingivitis or other gum issues to schedule a visit to make sure the symptoms don’t continue or progress into periodontal disease.