If you’re pregnant, you may already have a full schedule of visits to the OB-GYN and be preparing for the new arrival. It’s important not to forget about going to the dentist when you’re expecting.
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. Call Dores Dental in Longmeadow, MA at 413-241-3995 to set up a routine dental exam before your baby arrives.
Getting a dental checkup when you’re pregnant is safe and important for your dental health. Your dentist can take care of cleanings and other procedures like cavity fillings before your baby is born so you don’t have to worry about it when you’re caring for a newborn.
Your dentist can also help you with any pregnancy-related dental symptoms you might be experiencing.
If you’re still concerned about going to the dentist during pregnancy, here’s what you should know:
Pregnancy Can Affect Your Mouth
You might not have any dental discomfort the whole nine months of your pregnancy. But pregnancy can create new conditions or make existing ones worse. Regular checkups and good dental health habits can help keep you and your baby healthy.
You will experience hormonal changes when you’re pregnant. Some of those hormones can affect your mouth. For example, some women develop a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis,” an inflammation of the gums that can cause swelling and tenderness. You may also notice your gums bleeding a little bit when you brush or floss. If you are having any of those symptoms, come in for a dental appointment.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it can develop into a more serious forms of gum disease. Dr. Dores will help you with this.
Increased Risk of Tooth Decay
Pregnant women can be more prone to cavities and not only because of cravings you might be having for sugar- or carbohydrate-filled food. Morning sickness (or pregnancy-related nausea any time of the day for that matter) can cause you to vomit. Vomit contains acid that can eat away at the outer covering of your teeth (the enamel).
When you’re pregnant, you may experience some issues that might cause you to put dental hygiene tasks like brushing and flossing your teeth by the wayside. For example, if you have morning sickness, you may have a heightened gag reflex, which would make brushing more difficult. You may also have tender gums that keep you from wanting to brush.
The reasons for skimping on your oral care are understandable, but it’s especially important to keep up your routine. Poor habits during pregnancy have been associated with premature delivery, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia.
In some women, overgrowths of tissue called “pregnancy tumors” can appear on the gums. (This happens most often during the second trimester.) These tumors are not cancer; just swelling that happens most often between teeth. They could be related to excess plaque that’s built up on your teeth.
These growths tend to bleed easily and have a red, raspberry-like appearance. They usually disappear after your baby is born, but if you are concerned, talk to your dentist about removing them.
Anesthesia During Pregnancy
You may need a dental procedure performed while you’re pregnant, like a filling, root canal, or tooth extraction. One thing you don’t have to worry about is the safety of the numbing medications we may use during the procedure.
The August 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association discussed a study done on a group of pregnant women. One group had procedures that used anesthetics like lidocaine shots and another group didn’t. The study showed that these treatments were safe during pregnancy. They caused no difference in the rate of miscarriages, birth defects, prematurity, or weight of the baby.
Dental X-rays taken during pregnancy have also been found to be safe. Even though the radiation from dental X-rays is extremely low, your dentist or hygienist will cover you with a leaded apron that minimizes exposure to your abdomen. We will also cover your throat with a leaded collar to protect your thyroid from radiation.
Make An Appointment
It’s important to keep your mouth healthy during pregnancy. Not treating dental problems can have an adverse effect on you and your unborn child. If you want to discuss dental services and pregnancy in more detail, call Dores Dental at 413-241-3995. You can also use our online form to contact us.