Dental work during pregnancy
The Australian Women and Dental Health Survey found that more than half of women don’t believe they should visit a dentist while pregnant due to safety concerns. Its natural to have doubts about dental work during pregnancy.
However, the fact is that dental health is very important during pregnancy. Morning sickness, increased snacking and sugary cravings increase the possibility of long term damage to women’s oral health. Morning sickness causing vomiting and the sugary snacks is acidic and causes permanent damage to your teeth enamel making it susceptible to dental diseases. The rise in hormonal levels leads to gum bleeding and swelling in many cases. During pregnancy gum growth and gum inflammation (due to plaque) can also be experienced, which is associated with preterm birth and low birth weight.
Therefore, its recommended that one should not only take care of oral hygiene by brushing and flossing but also go for scheduled dental exams and preventive dental cleaning. This avoids further inflammations and diseases that might affect the developing baby. Dental diseases have also been linked to premature birth.
Dental treatments that can be carried out during pregnancy
Regular dental work like cavity filling and crowns can be done and is recommended as it helps in maintaining oral hygiene and reduces the risk of infections. In that case, it’s best to get treatment during second trimester as once you reach the third trimester, it becomes very uncomfortable to sit for long hours on your back and can sometimes induce premature labor and birth.
However, unless extremely important, it is suggested to postpone dental treatments like cavity filling, crowns, teeth whitening or other cosmetic procedures like gummy smile or braces until after birth.
Dental procedures like a root canal or tooth extraction, becomes necessary as it increases stress to the mother as well as the developing baby and adds to her discomfort.
Braces during pregnancy
Getting braces during pregnancy is completely harmless. Except that it calls for regular oral care as pregnancy brings in hormonal changes leading to increased likelihood of swollen gums and gingivitis.
Let your doctor know that you are pregnant, so that he can avoid x-rays or any treatment or medications that is not suitable during pregnancy.
Medications and Anesthesia
There are certain medications that can be avoided as it enters the placenta of the baby. However, an expert dentist can advice medicines and antibiotics that are safer in pregnancy.
In regular dental treatments, its advisable to postpone the x-rays. It is only during emergencies that x-rays are necessary but with appropriate shielding and low radiation dose there is no adverse effect on the developing baby.