Wondering if you can safely visit the dentist while pregnant?
The answer is yes, you can–and you should.
Dental work while pregnant can be important for keeping you and your baby healthy. From routine care to more serious procedures, it’s important that you keep up with whatever care you need.
However, there are a few things to consider when going to the dentist while pregnant. Some things require more attention, while other medications and processes might not be safe during this time.
In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know to safely take care of your teeth and your baby. Keep reading to learn more!
Visiting the Dentist While Pregnant: The Basics
All dentists recommend that you get your regular exams and dental cleanings throughout your pregnancy as needed. Since your hormones change when you’re pregnant, your gums can swell and become irritated more easily.
These preventative appointments are important to keep potential gum disease and infections at bay. Dental issues may actually help cause preterm birth, so you should be vigilant.
It’s also important to get other necessary procedures done, like getting crowns or fillings. This can help prevent infections.
However, the timing matters. It’s good to get all these procedures done by the second trimester. In the third trimester, it becomes hard to lie in a dentist’s chair for a long time.
Once you’ve reached the third trimester, it’s best to postpone treatments until after the baby’s born, unless you absolutely need them. Emergency work like tooth extractions or root canals while pregnant might be necessary.
However, if you want to get your teeth whitened or have something cosmetic done, wait until the birth is over. Otherwise, they could expose the baby to minor risks.
Are Dental Medications Safe While Pregnant?
The studies on the effects of dental medications during pregnancy are conflicting. Lidocaine is used most often in dental procedures, and it does get into the placenta. However, it’s not clear whether it has any adverse effects on the baby.
If you do need serious dental work done, it should be done with as little anaesthesia as possible. However, there should still be enough to keep you comfortable. If you’re in pain, it’s okay to ask for more numbing.
It’s important to be comfortable because when you’re stressed, the baby gets stressed too. The dental procedure often goes better if you’re not in pain, too.
Another medication often used with dental procedures is antibiotics. These medications, including clindamycin, amoxicillin, and penicillin, are safe to take as long as you follow directions.
X-Rays and Dental Work While Pregnant
When you visit the dentist for your yearly check-up, they’ll usually give you an x-ray. However, while you’re pregnant, you can skip the x-ray until after you’ve had the baby.
That said, if you have an emergency procedure that requires an x-ray, you should still get it done. One individual x-ray doesn’t have enough radiation to harm a fetus.
In fact, the standard dental x-rays are safe too. The reason to skip them is just for your peace of mind. Some people might stay away from all kinds of dental work during the first trimester since that’s the most important time for development.
But there’s no solid reason to avoid basic dental work during this time.
Navigating Dental Care Throughout Pregnancy
Although the dental care you’ll get while pregnant will probably be routine, there are a few ways you’ll need to approach things differently when you’re going to have a baby.
1. Before You’re Pregnant
If you’re planning to have a baby, it’s wise to make a dentist appointment before you get started. This allows you to get all your cleaning done before the discomforts of pregnancy start.
Your gums can be examined for good health, and if there are any problems, you can get them taken care of now.
2. Inform Your Dentist
Once you’re actually pregnant, let your dentist know about it at your appointment. They’ll let you know what dental care you should get done and what elective care can wait until later. They also might have special instructions or cautions for you.
You should also let them know about any medications you’re on, as well as prenatal vitamins that your doctor has given you. If your doctor has specific medical advice for you, let your dentist know, too. They might use that information to make changes to your dental care plan.
3. Eating Right
It’s easy to forget that the foods you eat are important to your dental care.
You need to think about the health of your teeth even when you’re not at the dentist. Avoid eating sweets and other snacks that contain a lot of sugar. Even though you may have pregnancy cravings, these snacks will increase your chances of tooth decay and gum disease.
Since these issues can have more serious consequences while you’re pregnant, it’s worth it to avoid sugar and foods that cause decay. You’ll also need to focus on eating a diet that’s balanced and healthy.
Your baby starts to grow his or her teeth after about three months. Make sure you’re getting plenty of calcium by eating enough yoghurt, cheese, and other dairy products. These foods also help your baby develop healthy bones and gums.
4. Post-Pregnancy Care
If there were any issues that you put off during the pregnancy, get them taken care of as soon as you can once you’ve had your baby. It’s best to get your oral health evaluated after the pregnancy.
Don’t Be Scared of the Dentist
Visiting the dentist while pregnant isn’t risky for you or your baby. Instead, it’s important to keep you both healthy.
So don’t delay the procedures and checkups you need!