It is a common for concerned moms to wonder whether dental procedures while pregnant are safe. According to a study printed in the August 2015 issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association (ADA), it is safe for a pregnant woman to undergo dental procedures — even those that require local anesthetics.
Based on the study, there was zero evidence that a dental procedure with local anesthetics would harm a pregnancy. However, many women are still adamant about avoiding dental appointments while pregnant.
Importance of Oral Health While Pregnant
Contrary to the beliefs of many, a pregnant woman’s oral health is very critical and regular dental checkups during pregnancy remain absolutely important! Pregnant women have higher chances of getting tooth decay because of changes in their body. They tend to consume more carbohydrates and may have problems when brushing their teeth due to increased gum bleeding, gag reflex, and morning sickness. If not addressed, this can eventually lead to the need for fillings or dental crowns.
As the hormone level rises, pregnant women may suffer from gum swelling, bleeding and trapping food that can worsen the irritation of the gums. For this reason, annual oral checkups and oral prophylaxis (dental cleaning) during pregnancy are recommended and these are 100% safe.
Getting preventive dental procedures while pregnant is necessary because oral health issues like gum disease can be connected to potential complications such as preterm birth.
Telling Your Dentist about Your Pregnancy
Even if you are just recently suspecting that you are pregnant, you should let your dentist know. It is important to share how far along you are in the pregnancy, the medications and supplements you are taking and if you have received any special advice from your OB-gynecologist. If you are having a high-risk pregnancy, your doctors including your dentist may prefer to postpone some treatments.
Regular Dental Procedures While Pregnant
Aside from the regular dental cleaning, dental procedures such as crowns and cavity fillings should be given if needed to lessen the risk of getting an infection. It is ideal to perform the dental procedure during the second trimester of the pregnancy. If you are already in your third trimester, it may be hard to lie and remain still on your back for a long time.
For emergency dental procedures like tooth extractions or a root canal, these procedures are necessary and should be done. However, undergoing elective dental works like whitening the teeth and other cosmetic procedures can be postponed until after giving birth.
Medications Given By Dentist While Pregnant
At present, there are contradicting studies about the potential adverse effects on the developing fetus from medications related to dental procedures. For instance, Lidocaine is the most common drug used for dental procedures.
Lidocaine reaches the placenta once administered and falls under Category B of risk factor classification for pregnancy. Under category B, it means the drug has been tested on animals and there were no risks seen but it had not undergone any controlled studies on pregnant human women.
The safest medication should fall under Category A where the drug had been tested on pregnant women and no risk was found. The most confusing category is Category C which states that the medication has inadequate data on its effect when used during pregnancy. It might be safe or hypothetically harmful.
Getting a Dental X-Ray While Pregnant
Sometimes it is necessary to have x-rays when performing certain dental procedures while pregnant. Though it is a common practice to postpone routine x-rays like the one taken during yearly physical exams, a single diagnostic x-ray is typically harmless. This is the stance of the American College of Radiology (ACR). According to the ACR, an x-ray has very little radiation to cause severe damages in a developing baby.
ADA and ACOR have confirmed that getting dental x-rays while pregnant is actually safe. The precaution taken is often a form of shielding.
Recommendations for your Oral Health during Pregnancy
ADA strongly recommends a pregnant woman to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, brush teeth two times a day with a fluoride toothpaste approved by ADA and floss every day. Do not hesitate to go to the dentist for preventive exams and dental cleaning.
It is also recommended to postpone dental procedures that are non-emergency until you reach the second trimester or after giving birth while elective dental works can be done after your baby’s delivery.
If you have any questions or concerns about having dental work done during your pregnancy, call Paramount Dental of Round Rock, TX at (512) 310-0330 and we’ll be happy to speak with you and help put your mind at ease!