Staying Safe at the Dentist During Pregnancy

Your oral health is always paramount, and during pregnancy it’s no exception! We understand that it’s a hectic time, in between scheduling regular appointments with your physician and preparing for a new addition to your household, but remember not to let your routine dental checkups fall off the radar. The personalized attention we provide at Dentist of West Covina will help safeguard the smiles of both you and your future little one.

Is it Safe to Visit the Dentist While Pregnant?

Yes! In fact, the American Dental Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists both state that maintaining dental health is a crucial component of prenatal care, and keeping up your regular preventative care routine of cleanings and oral examinations isn’t just safe but actively recommended.

When is the Best Time to Visit the Dentist if I’m Pregnant?

While the first trimester is typically the most vulnerable period in fetal development, there is no evidence that suggests your baby is at risk if you visit your dentist during this time frame. If the need for non-emergency dental care arises during the third trimester, the American Pregnancy Association generally recommends that it be postponed until after birth in order to minimize the risk of premature delivery as well as the time you spend on your back.

Do I Need to Tell My Dentist That I’m Pregnant?

The good news is that not all gingivitis goes on to become the much more serious periodontitis, and most of the time it can be prevented and reversed with good oral hygiene. That’s right. Simply brush twice a day, floss, and visit your dentist twice a year and chances are you will be fine.

But make no mistake, gingivitis is a clear warning to do better with your oral hygiene to prevent worse issues from occurring. And what could be worse? Periodontitis.

What is Periodontitis?

Even if there’s only a chance you might be pregnant, it’s a good idea to notify your dental health provider! Be specific as possible – it’s important for your dentist to be aware of how far along you are, any medications you might be taking, and any additional advice you might be receiving from your physician in order to ensure they’re not prescribing any treatments that conflict with your recommended course of care.

Should I Get Dental X-Rays While Pregnant?

Yes, it’s safe to get a dental X-ray while pregnant! The amount of radiation emitted by digital dental X-rays is extremely low as is – in fact, the risk of not receiving a medically necessary X-ray and leaving a potential problem untreated could be much greater than the risk incurred by radiation exposure, and you can rest assured that we won’t order X-ray imaging unless it’s absolutely necessary. The American College of Radiology also reports that no single diagnostic X-ray has a dose significant enough to adversely affect a developing embryo or fetus. Furthermore, your pelvis and abdomen will be covered by the lead smock we give to all our patients in order to shield them from exposure.

At Dentist of West Covina, we carefully observe the principle of “ALARA,” or “as low as reasonably achievable,” in treatment, which is meant to minimize your exposure to radiation and provide assurance that every possible measure is being taken to keep you and your baby safe.

Is Anesthesia Safe During Pregnancy?

There’s no need to fear if you’re planning to receive local anesthetics before undergoing a dental treatment like a filling, root canal, or tooth pulling. According to a 2015 study from the Journal of the American Dental Association that tested the effects of Lidocaine (the most commonly used medication in these procedures) on pregnant women, the drug caused no difference in the rate of miscarriages, birth defects, prematurity of birth, or weight of the baby. The study concluded that “there seems to be no reason to prevent pregnant women from receiving dental treatment and local anesthetics during pregnancy.”

If you’re not sure whether a drug or medication used in a dental procedure is safe for you, don’t hesitate to bring it up with your dentist!

How Does Pregnancy Affect My Dental Health?

The rise in hormone levels accompanying pregnancy can influence your periodontal health, so it’s essential to stay informed about your dental healthcare needs. For instance, the acids released by morning sickness can potentially erode your tooth enamel. Craving-induced snacking can also lead to increased plaque buildup on your teeth, so it’s crucial to make sure you’re keeping up your regular home care routine of brushing twice a day and flossing daily, if not after every meal!

These hormonal changes can also affect your gums. Some women develop a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis,” an inflammation of the gums that can result in increased tenderness, swelling, and bleeding. Occasionally during the second trimester, the combined factors of increased hormones and plaque buildup can lead to the growth of bright red tissue swellings known as “pregnancy tumors” on the gums, causing bleeding and difficulty chewing – however, these non-cancerous lumps are hardly as grave as they sound and usually disappear after birth.

Can My Dental Health During Pregnancy Affect My Child’s Teeth?

The first stage of a fetus’s tooth development can occur as early as six weeks! If your teeth are healthy, there’s a larger likelihood of your child’s teeth ending up healthy as well. If you have untreated cavities and more cavity-causing bacteria present in your mouth while pregnant, your chance of passing those bacteria onto your child and increasing their susceptibility to cavities also becomes greater.

Additionally, what you eat during pregnancy plays a role in your child’s tooth development. Maintaining a varied and nutrient-rich diet is vital to laying a foundation of lifelong dental health for your child! The American Dental Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion recommend a diet that includes the following:

Set A Good Example for Your Future Child’s Oral Health!

Sustaining a good oral care routine is one of the most effective ways you can safeguard your overall health during this pivotal time in your life! This includes regular brushing and flossing, keeping your diet balanced, and attending routine dental checkups and examinations at least every six months. Remember, it’s never too early to model excellent oral hygiene habits for your little one!

If you’re pregnant and have any questions or concerns about your dental health, call (626) 605-6601 to learn more about the compassionate and personalized care we offer at Dentist of West Covina.

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