Contrary to popular belief, dental treatments during pregnancy are not detrimental to the development of the fetus. In fact, in most cases, the opposite is true. Oral health and pregnancy are strongly correlated and neglecting to look after your dental hygiene while pregnant could have adverse effects on the development of the fetus.
Pregnant women should be getting regular dental check-ups to ensure that the surplus of progesterone they are producing is not negatively affecting their dental health. An overabundance of progesterone can cause the gums between the teeth to swell and create pockets between the gums and the teeth that collect food particles, which eventually turn into plaque. If left untreated, this plaque can lead to gingivitis or even periodontal issues or severe tooth decay.
How Does Pregnancy Affect Dental Health?
Pregnancy can affect your oral health in more ways than one. Talk to your local dentist about the relationship between pregnancy and the following dental issues:
- Pregnancy gingivitis: As hormones fluctuate the most during pregnancy, they can play a major role in the risk for pregnancy gingivitis. Swollen and sensitive gums are common during all three trimesters due to higher levels of estrogen and progesterone.
- Pregnancy tumors: While alarming, many women experience benign pregnancy tumors along the gumline, especially during the second trimester. This mild irritation and inflammation can be caused by plaque or food particles.
- Tooth decay and cavities: Pregnancy can cause changes in a woman’s habits, food cravings and hormone levels. If pregnant women consume higher sugar quantities and/or puts their dental health on the backburner, there is an increased risk for cavities and tooth decay.
- Morning sickness and enamel erosion: With morning sickness, the body produces acid which can negatively affect the protective tooth enamel. Gastric acid contains digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid, mucus and bicarbonate, all of which can wear down the enamel.
Dental Procedures Considered Safe During Pregnancy
Moms-to-be take many precautions to protect the health and welfare of their child. Many women may delay or avoid dentist visits or trips to an emergency dental clinic during pregnancy for fear that it could affect their fetus. However, the following procedure have been deemed safe for pregnant women.
- Routine dental cleanings: Dental exams, x-rays, and routine dental care is performed with the highest safety measures, especially for pregnant women.
- Local anesthesia and pain management: For dental treatments that require use of local anesthetics and other pain management methods, common drugs safe to use include bupivacaine, lidocaine, and mepivacaine. If possible it is best to restrict their use to the second trimester.
Oral Hygiene Practices During Pregnancy
Family dentists in Etobicoke can offer recommendations for how to maintain good oral hygiene practices during pregnancy as well as throughout one’s life. These include:
- Proper brushing: Everyone’s teeth need a proper brushing at least twice a day to remove the remnants of food, beverages and candy consumed. If you use mouthwash, use a fluoride one without alcohol.
- Daily flossing: To remember to floss, get in the routine of doing it after you brush to reduce the risk of cavities and plague buildup.
- Eat a balanced diet: One of the most important tips from dental services is eating a balanced diet, especially during pregnancy.
- Schedule regular dental appointments: Even during pregnancy, keeping regular schedule dental appointments with your dentist is important for the health of mom and baby.
FAQs about Pregnancy and Dental Treatments
Why is it important to visit the dentist while pregnant?
It is absolutely safe to visit the dentist during pregnancy; in fact, it is recommended that you do so, but just be sure to inform your dentist that you are with child and also provide a list of all of the medications you are currently taking. Also, if you are going in for a long procedure that involves anesthesia or medications, the best time to have this done is during the second trimester because by this time the fetus will have developed all of its teeth and vital limbs, but it is also good timing for the parent as well. Waiting until the third trimester might make it more difficult for the expecting parent to lie on their back for extended periods of time. Make sure the dentist is aware of how far along you are in your pregnancy so that they can adjust the procedure and the required medication dosage accordingly.
Is local anesthesia safe during pregnancy?
The short answer is yes. If you need a root canal or to have a tooth pulled, the numbing medications are perfectly safe for the fetus. But, once again, always inform your dentist that you are pregnant because if an x-ray is required for any of the procedures they plan to perform on your mouth, then they need to take extra precautions to prevent harm to the fetus. Usually, this entails covering your belly and thyroid area with a lead apron so that the radiation from the x-ray machine does make direct contact with you or the fetus. The risk of this happening is very minimal to begin with, but it is always sensible to take the extra safety measures anyway as it is better not to take any unnecessary chances.
Which trimester is safest for dental treatment?
You can have dental treatments during all three trimesters. The second or third trimester may be a better time for those experiencing nausea or gag reflex during the first trimester.
Do dental problems affect pregnancy?
The biggest concern is the chance of periodontitis developing. Any form of infection within the gums and bone of the oral cavity increases the chances for delivering a pre-term or low weight baby.
What is the most common problem in pregnancy?
Inflammation of the gum tissue, known as gingivitis, is the most common dental issue among pregnant women with more than 60% dealing with the condition.
Can I undergo dental surgeries or extractions while pregnant?
Yes, most dental surgeries such as root canals or a tooth extraction can be performed during pregnancy.
Can pregnancy hormones affect oral health?
The increased levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy can lead to gingivitis.
Can dental infections or gum diseases affect pregnancy?
Yes, dental conditions such as gingivitis can lead to decay on teeth and possibly bone loss. Gum infections can cause low birth weight and preterm birth.
Why is dental hygiene so important during pregnancy?
Proper oral care such as brushing, flossing and regularly seeing a dentist for checkups can help reduce the chance of developing serious dental conditions.
Contact Us for Dental Services in Etobicoke During Pregnancy
Princeview Dental Group is a dental care clinic in Toronto located in the west end of the city. We perform root canal treatment procedures as well as a host of other dental procedures and dental emergencies. We follow the dental treatment guidelines and procedures when it comes to performing any and all dental work during pregnancy. To book a consultation for any treatment, call Princeview Dental Group at (416) 231-4562 at address, 3052 Bloor Street West in Etobicoke, now located under The Crooked Cue Pub and Restaurant.