Dental Guidelines for Pregnant Patients: Everything You Need to Know

Pregnancy to-do lists typically have doctor visits, hospital tours and setting up the nursery but it is important to keep one more thing on that list – dental visits. The American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics all encourage women to get dental care while pregnant.

Should I See the Dentist When I'm Pregnant?

Yes, maintaining oral health is directly related to good overall health. This is an important time in a woman’s life and reducing oral bacteria can help keep you and your baby healthy. Not only can you take care of cleanings and procedures such as fillings before your baby is born, but your family dentist can help you with any pregnancy-related dental symptoms you might experience.

Can Having A Dental Issues Affect My Baby?

Yes. Periodontal disease, inflammation of the gums causing bone loss around the tooth, has been shown to cause premature birth with low birth weight.

Does Being Pregnant Affect My Teeth?

Pregnancy hormones can make women susceptible to oral diseases including:

  • Pregnancy Gingivitis: The inflammation of the gums can cause tenderness and bleeding. If left untreated it can lead to gingival recession and bone loss. Cleanings performed at the dentist office will prevent this.
  • Periodontal Disease: Pregnancy may worsen untreated/undiagnosed periodontal disease. Women will experience gum inflammation and bone loss leading to tooth loss.
  • Increased Risk of Tooth Decay: Pregnant women may be more prone to cavities (tooth decay). This can be cause of many variables such as the increased amount of acid in your mouth due to morning sickness and acid reflux. Pregnant women also tend to not brush twice a day during this time for many reasons, including a more sensitive gag reflex, tender gums and exhaustion.
  • Pregnancy Tumors (Pyogenic Granuloma): Pyogenic granuloma is localized enlargement of the gums. It is not cancer but rather just swelling that happens most often between teeth. They bleed easily and have a red, raw-looking raspberry-like appearance. They usually disappear after your baby is born, but if you are concerned, talk to your dentist about removing them.
  • Vomiting: Gastric reflux or vomiting can coat your teeth with strong stomach acids. Repeated exposure can cause damage to tooth enamel and increase risk of decay. Try not to brush teeth immediately after vomiting, this may promote the removal of the tooth enamel. Instead, rinse with water and fluoridated mouthwash. Wait at least an hour to brush teeth.

Is It Safe to Get Dental X-rays While I'm Pregnant?

Digital X-rays use much less radiation than older systems that use dental film. Studies have shown that using a lead apron will protect you and your fetus from radiation.

Is it Safe to Receive Local Anesthetics During Pregnancy?

If you’re pregnant and need a filling, root canal or tooth pulled, one thing you don’t have to worry about is the safety of the numbing medications your dentist may use during the procedure. They are, in fact, safe for both you and your baby.

A study in the August 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association followed a group of pregnant women who had procedures that used anesthetics like lidocaine shots and a group that did not. The study showed these treatments were safe during pregnancy, as they cause no difference in the rate of miscarriages, birth defects, prematurity or weight of the baby.

Our team at Smileplicity Dentistry is knowledgeable and can answer any questions you have about your pregnancy and dental care. Call us at (919) 298-2308 or contact us online!