Pregnancy and dentistry
Dental care and proper brushing is even more important when you are expecting. Bacteria can be passed on through your blood via the umbilical cord and if your oral health is comprised due to gingivitis or decay, it can impact the health of your baby. Preventive dental work while pregnant is essential to avoid oral infections such as gum disease, which has been linked to preterm birth.
Patients are advised to maintain a regular recare schedule because hormones produced during pregnancy increase blood flow to all vascular tissues including the gums. Home care is just as important because a woman’s immune system is slightly diminished during pregnancy, limiting her ability to fight infection and disease.
Are dental x-rays safe during pregnancy?
Studies have shown that in some cases it is more harmful to postpone necessary dental treatment than to have an x-ray or other dental procedure done. Modern dental x-rays have very little exposure to radiation, and combined with protective lead vests, there is very little exposure to the fetus. According to the American College of Radiology, no single diagnostic x-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus.
Can I have dental work done while I’m pregnant?
While the safest course of treatment is to put off non-essential dental work until after delivery, sometimes emergency treatment such as a root canal or tooth extraction, is necessary.
If dental work needs to be done during pregnancy, the second trimester is ideal. Many procedures are postponed during the third trimester to avoid the risk of premature labor and prolonged time lying on your back. If you do need dental work during the third trimester, don’t lie on your back. This puts pressure on your vena cava nerve which can limit blood flow to the fetus and can make you feel dizzy or nauseas. By lying slightly twisted to the side and not lying flat on your back, you can take pressure off the nerve and still have that dental work done.
What about medications used in dental work during pregnancy?
Currently, there are conflicting studies about possible adverse effects on the developing baby from medications used during dental work. While Lidocaine, the anesthetic most commonly used drug for dental work, does cross the placenta after administration no real evidence has shown it does any harm to the fetus.
If dental work is needed, the smallest amount necessary should be given while still making you comfortable. When you are comfortable, the amount of stress on you and the baby is reduced. Also, the more relaxed you are, the easier it is for the anesthesia to work.
After your procedure, you may be prescribed an antibiotic. Antibiotics such as penicillin, amoxicillin, and clindamycin, are labeled safe for pregnant women and their babies.