Can I Get Dental Work While Pregnant?
Congratulations, you’re pregnant! Self-care including your routine trips to the dentist are vital during this special time. The article is intended to help educate you on what you need to know about going to the dentist when pregnant. To get the best care possible for you and your unborn child, inform your dentist that you are pregnant so proper precautions can be made for your health and safety.
Can I Get A Routine Dental Exam and Teeth Cleaning While Pregnant?
Just like taking your prenatal vitamins, oral hygiene is especially important when pregnant. Regular cleanings and dental exams can prevent unwanted complications during your pregnancy. If a tooth infection is left untreated, bacteria can enter the bloodstream and reach the fetus. Reducing the risk of infection is important. Consult your dentist office immediately if you suspect any dental concerns while pregnant.
Tooth decay and gum disease can be challenging to a pregnant woman. An increased level of pregnancy related hormones can affect the body’s natural reaction to plaque and cause swelling in the gums called Pregnancy Gingivitis. Routine exams and cleanings can help pregnant patients reduce signs of plaque and gingivitis.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, the second trimester is the best time to get any necessary dental work. Crowns and cavities should be addressed during pregnancy, but cosmetic dental work and whiting should be postponed until after the birth of your child. Having open communication with your dentist and obstetrician during your pregnancy can ease your concerns and best guide what is most appropriate for you.
Can I Get Dental X-Rays While Pregnant?
While the dose of radiation used to take dental x-rays is low, there are still concerns for pregnant women and a developing fetus. Miscarriages and birth defects have NOT been linked to dental x-ray exposure, but some studies correlate low birth weight in babies that were not shielded from x-rays. In addition, fetuses that were in contact with x-rays had a small but increased risk of developing childhood cancer.
If there is not a specific problem in which an x-ray is needed, forgoing the routine x-ray until post pregnancy is often recommended. In the event you and your dentist agree that an x-ray is necessary, be sure the protective lead covering is draped over the abdomen during the process.
Mercury Free Fillings, Especially if Pregnant
The use of silver fillings has been reduced in dental practices due to the presence of mercury in the filling material. Mercury can affect and damage many of the body’s vital organs including the brain, liver, kidneys, and lungs.
If you need to have a cavity filled, be sure to let the dentist know you’re pregnant and do not want a filling that contains mercury. Many people, whether they are pregnant or not, are choosing to have old metal fillings removed and replaced with a non-mercury alternative.
Are Dental Drugs Safe During Pregnancy?
Pain medication is often necessary in the event you need to have a root canal, tooth extraction or even have a cavity filled during pregnancy. While your dentist can guide you to what drugs are the safest options for expecting mothers, consulting your obstetrician with specific drug information can help ensure the health and safety of you and your baby.
There are a variety of drugs that dental patients may have during routine procedures at the dentist office. The infamous “laughing gas” or nitrous oxide is commonly used as a mild sedative at dentist offices to help calm anxiety associated with having dental work. Nitrous oxide is considered a Category C medication and should be avoided during pregnancy.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), local anesthetics such as lidocaine, mepivacaine, and bupivacaine that contain epinephrine are relatively safe for pregnant mothers and the growing fetus. Most often, lidocaine is used during dental procedures. Labeled as a Category B drug, there are some concerns regarding the use of lidocaine because the medication does reach the placenta upon use.
Other prescribed drugs such as antibiotics are also often necessary to prevent infection after dental work. Amoxicillin and penicillin are antibiotics in the class B Category of safety for pregnant women. Taking care of your oral health is essential during this time. As always consult your primary health provider, obstetrician, and dentist if you have concerns about medications associated with dental procedures.
The Importance of Oral Hygiene During Pregnancy
Regular brushing and flossing help encourage overall health during pregnancy. Keeping up to date on routine visits with your dentist is also highly recommended. And if you have any dental concerns at all while pregnant be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately. Dr. David Evans Dental office practices the most up to date procedures in dentistry. Using the latest technology and high-quality products, rest assured you’ll get the best of care for you and your baby.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Evans to discuss your dental care during pregnancy give us a call or schedule an appointment online.