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Healthy Smile, Healthy Baby: Is It Safe to Receive Dental Work While Pregnant?

May 10, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drkics @ 10:05 pm
pregnant woman

Before the arrival of a new baby, pregnancy can cause a woman to undergo many unique changes. From hormonal fluctuations to physical growth and more, it is the job of healthcare professionals to make sure everyone remains healthy throughout these nine months. But what happens if the mother needs dental care? Is it safe to proceed even if local anesthesia is involved? Read on to find out what dentists will recommend when taking care of a pregnant woman’s smile.

Are There Potential Oral Health Problems That Can Occur While Pregnant?

It depends. In most cases, receiving regular oral healthcare is perfectly normal for pregnant mothers. In fact, the American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics believe dental care during pregnancy is essential.

The reason is that some common problems can occur during this time, one of which is gum disease. When a woman is carrying a child, their hormone levels will fluctuate, resulting in gum inflammation and bleeding. If left untreated, it can result in periodontal disease as well as pre-term birth.

Which Procedures are Deemed Safe During Pregnancy?

A pregnant woman can expect to be cleared to receive the following forms of dental care:

  • Dental checkups and teeth cleanings: These routine visits make it possible to mitigate decay, cavities, and gum disease throughout pregnancy.
  • Dental X-rays: A dentist still needs to see what is happening beneath the gumline, so to protect the mother and child, a protective barrier can be placed over the abdomen to minimize any radiation exposure.
  • Dental crowns or fillings: If decay or damage forms in one or more teeth, a pregnant woman can receive a dental filling or crown. It is preferable that the individual have the work completed during the second trimester, as it will likely be more comfortable for the person to sit for an extended period than if they wait until later in the pregnancy.

It’s also important to note that receiving local anesthesia is fine, even if a more complex form of treatment is required (i.e., root canal). It is always recommended, though, that the woman talk to the dentist about her oral and overall health before pursuing any form of dental service so that appropriate measures can be taken to ensure the safety of both the mother and baby.

Which Dental Treatments Should Wait Until After the Baby Is Born?

Although many of the more routine procedures are fine for pregnant women to receive, others may need to wait until after the baby is born. These include:

  • Elective procedures such as cosmetic treatment (i.e., teeth whitening, veneers, etc.), as they are non-essential and can wait until after the mother is no longer pregnant.
  • The use of dental sedation when undergoing any type of dental care. Although it is not required, the use of nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, or IV sedation may not be best for the unborn child. The safest rule of thumb is to lean more toward the mildest form (nitrous oxide) if absolutely necessary.

In general, pregnant woman should continue to see their dentist for regular oral healthcare. Not only does it ensure healthier teeth and gums for the mother, but the baby will reap the positive benefits as well.

About the Practice
Westgate Dental Care cares about the health of our patients, which is why we do everything we can to make sure everyone remains safe and comfortable during each visit. When a pregnant mother arrives to receive oral healthcare, we do our best to provide the highest level of care while also keeping her and her baby better protected from common dental problems such as cavities, gum disease, and more. If you are expecting but need help to improve the state of your smile, visit our website or call us at (847) 908-3684.