Are you pregnant? If you’re like most women, you’re probably so busy thinking doctor’s appointments, nursery décor, and baby names that you forget about your regularly scheduled dental checkups and cleanings. While you know brushing your teeth and flossing are not only encouraged but completely fine for you and your growing baby, are these visits necessary or safe during pregnancy? Read on to hear from a dentist who shares what precautions you can take to better protect your smile and your baby over the next 9 months.
Are Regular Checkups and Cleanings Okay While Pregnant?
Yes! As a pregnant mother, you’ll not only be focused on keeping your body healthy, but you’ll also need to make sure your teeth and gums are in optimal condition, too. At-home oral care is important but so are regular dental checkups and cleanings by a professional. These preventive visits make it possible for a dentist to check for any signs of decay or gum disease, both of which are common throughout pregnancy. Because your hormones are constantly changing, your risk for swollen, bleeding gums will increase. To avoid potential problems like preterm birth or low birth weight, it is necessary to keep plaque and tartar from accumulating and posing a problem to your gum health.
What About More Complex Dental Care?
Apart from your regular checkups and cleanings, you’ll need to follow the advice of your doctors to determine when it is safe to pursue more complex dental care. If you have a cavity and need restorative dentistry (i.e., dental filling or crown), it is best to wait until you are in your second trimester. This is often recommended because most of your baby’s organs are more fully developed and potential risks are significantly lower. If you require serious dental work (i.e., root canal), your family dentist will need to discuss the potential risks and determine if the procedure can wait until after you’ve given birth.
Elective treatments like teeth whitening or veneers are best avoided until after your baby arrives, as these are not necessary and can pose even a minimal risk to your child.
Waiting until the third trimester to have any dental work should be avoided simply because it is more difficult to lay on your back for longer periods of time. Also, there is an increased risk for preterm birth.
Although the window for more extensive dental work is small, working closely with your dentist throughout your pregnancy will ensure you maintain better oral health not only for you but also for your baby.
About the Author
Dr. Racha W. Kadamani is a trusted dentist in San Antonio and mother. Understanding the challenges that can come with pregnancy, she and her team at Laith Family Dentistry are pleased to provide mothers-to-be with compassionate and gentle care. Working closely with patients who are expecting, she will ensure all health and safety measures are taken while helping individuals maintain healthier teeth and gums. If you are pregnant but need regular dental care, contact us at (210) 782-0008.