Your oral and overall health are closely connected, which means a healthy smile is very important for expectant mothers. Unfortunately, pregnancy can take a toll on your teeth and gums. Whether a new issue has occurred or you have an untreated problem, it’s normal to have concerns about the safety of dental work during pregnancy. Contrary to what you might have heard, it’s safe and encouraged to visit your dentist. However, if you require any dental procedures, here are a few things you should know.
Pregnancy Affects Your Dental Health
Pregnancy is known to increase your risk of various dental problems, including:
- Tooth Decay: If you have sugar cravings, you can have a higher risk of decay if you can’t resist your sweet tooth. Sugars and starches feed cavity-causing bacteria that can erode your enamel. Your saliva can also become more acidic, wearing away the protective layer of your teeth.
- Gum Disease: Bleeding, swollen, and inflamed gums aren’t unusual for expectant mothers, called pregnancy gingivitis. Gum disease is linked to preterm delivery and low birth weights with no treatment.
- Enamel Loss: Morning sickness bathes your teeth in stomach acids, which can lead to enamel loss. Your enamel will not grow back, leaving your teeth vulnerable to sensitivity, bacteria, and infections.
Dental Work During Pregnancy
A common rumor stops many pregnant women from visiting their dentists because of safety concerns. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Dental Association recommend maintaining semi-annual preventive appointments during pregnancy. Cleanings and checkups are safe for you and your unborn child.
However, some restorative and cosmetic procedures should wait until after your first trimester, like fillings, crowns, or root canals. Local anesthesia is safe during pregnancy, but complex procedures can require stronger medications.
Invasive treatments that require anesthesia should wait. While dental implants and other surgeries can be performed in the last trimesters, most oral surgeons advise against it. Stronger anesthetics can harm fetuses.
In addition, you may require X-rays. Digital X-rays use minimal radiation, but the ADA doesn’t support imaging until the second trimester.
Schedule a Cleaning and Checkup
Don’t let pregnancy prevent you from keeping your mouth healthy. Visit your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and checkup. They’ll keep your teeth and gums healthy, with the safety of your unborn baby as their top priority.
About Dr. Andrew Luccio
Dr. Luccio earned his dental degree at the University School of Dental Medicine and has continued his training in periodontology, Invisalign, and many other specialties. He provides personalized solutions for each patient to support oral and general health. Request an appointment through his website or call (508) 500-1160.