Dental Care for Pregnant Women
Dentistry & Pregnancy
Dental care shouldn’t stop just because you're pregnant. At American smile we realise it's even more important to keep your oral health in check when pregnant as you're at higher risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease.
Unfortunately, there's still a widespread belief that visiting the dentist while pregnant can be harmful to you or your baby. This can be a serious problem if it means you avoid seeing your dentist or hygienist and aren’t getting the care you need.
Can I go to the dentist while pregnant?
It’s especially important to continue your dental care when you’re pregnant as you're dealing with hormone changes and cravings that can put your oral health at greater risk. Leaving tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems untreated can be harmful. Dental health has a big impact on your overall health, which means it can have a big influence on your baby too.
Your dentist will often recommend making several appointments during your pregnancy so they can check the condition of your teeth and gums, recommend adjustments to your oral care routine or carry out any treatments needed.
If you're planning to get pregnant soon, it's a good idea to visit your dentist and get any outstanding dental issues such as impacted wisdom teeth taken care of first, to reduce the risk of complications.
Are x-rays safe?
One of the most common concerns people have about visiting the dentist while pregnant is the exposure to radiation from x-rays.
Modern dental x-rays use very low doses of radiation and the beam of radiation is focused away from the foetus entirely. Your dentist may still recommend avoiding routine x-rays where possible during your pregnancy but if they are required as part of dental emergency treatment it is safe to take them.
Can I have anaesthetic?
If you need to have a dental procedure while pregnant, anaesthetic can still be used safely. It's essential that you inform your dentist about your pregnancy so they can choose suitable anaesthetics.
Anaesthetics containing felypressin should be avoided during pregnancy because this chemical constricts the blood vessels, just ask your dentist if you have any questions or concerns about the type of anaesthetic they’re using.
Your dentist will use the lowest concentration of anaesthesia possible for the type of procedure being carried out but still enough to make the procedure pain free. If you feel comfortable, your body and your baby will be placed under less stress.
Can I get a tooth pulled when pregnant?
Extractions are a last resort and we will always try to save your tooth if possible. If your tooth is too badly damaged by decay or injury to be repaired, it could put your oral health at risk and should be removed.
If an extraction is indicated the recommended stage of pregnancy would be the second trimester.
Does a root canal affect pregnancy?
If tooth decay reaches the inside of your tooth where the nerve endings are, this can be extremely painful. Root canal treatment can stop the pain by removing the infected tissue and restoring the tooth with a natural-looking crown, so the tooth would not need to be extracted.
If you have a dental emergency, a root canal can be performed during pregnancy and shouldn't be delayed. Again the ideal stage for any dental surgery is during the second trimester.
Can I whiten my teeth while pregnant?
Unfortunately, teeth whitening is not recommended during pregnancy or whilst breastfeeding. There are no known harmful effects but there are no studies to support treatments like this during pregnancy so we do not recommend it.
Can I have orthodontic treatment while pregnant?
If you are already undergoing orthodontic treatment, you shouldn't stop just because you are pregnant. You can even have new braces fitted during your pregnancy.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause gum swelling it is therefore very important to maintain excellent oral hygiene during pregnancy and in particular if you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist may recommend you see a hygienist more than normal during your pregnancy.
How can I avoid dental treatments?
If you already follow a good oral hygiene routine, it’s less likely you’ll need to correct dental problems during your pregnancy. As well as regular brushing and flossing, you should try to avoid acting on unhealthy cravings. Due to the hormonal changes which cause gum inflammation you should see a hygienist more regularly than normal during pregnancy.
You should also avoid brushing your teeth straight after morning sickness, as this can damage the enamel surface of your teeth. Instead, rinse your mouth with water and brush after waiting 30 minutes.
Expecting Mother Dental Treatments recommendations at American Smile
- Dental hygiene appointments are crucial during pregnancy
- We recommend our specific Expecting Mothers Hygiene appointments
- At these appointments the changes in your oral health and hygiene due to pregnancy are assessed.
- A personalised oral hygiene plan is developed specific to you and your needs. It is demonstrated and emailed to you so you have it at hand for the rest of your pregnancy
- We remove the biofilm, ‘plaque’ from your teeth and gums.
- During pregnancy some hormonal changes can cause more staining on your teeth. This is removed at this appointment with a gentle ‘air polish’
- A protective coating is then placed over your teeth to help strengthen the enamel.
- We recommend these hygiene appointments at three monthly intervals during pregnancy
- It is important to maintain dental examinations during this time too and if you are due for an examination certainly do not put it off due to pregnancy.
New Mothers Dental Treatment recommendations at American Smile
- The hormonal changes which affect your gums during pregnancy continue for some time after giving birth.
- We strongly recommend that you continue to see your hygienist at more regular intervals and book a dental examination to check for any dental disease which has occurred during pregnancy.