If you’re pregnant, first of all, congratulations! It will be exciting to add a new member of the family (and a new patient to our practice!) Now that you’re expecting, you should know about the precautions you should take regarding your dental care during your pregnancy and some of the conditions that may occur.
Dental Cleanings During Pregnancy
You should continue to get your regular dental checkups and cleaning during your pregnancy.
According to the American Dental Association, it is both safe and important for your dental health. If you need to have dental work done, like a filling, crown or root canal, the numbing agent used by the dentist will not create risk for your baby.
Dental X-rays During Pregnancy
Most dentist and dental assistants will ask if you are pregnant prior to performing a dental x-ray. It is important, however, to tell them you are pregnant, even if you only suspect you might be pregnant. Let them know how far along you are. Since radiation from dental X-rays is extremely low, and you are covered with a lead apron, they will not cause harm to your baby.
Dental Changes During Pregnancy
There are a number of conditions that can appear or become worse during pregnancy. You’ll want to maintain your regular dental health schedule to help thwart potential problems
Because of hormonal changes going on in your body, your gums can become inflamed, swollen or tender, a condition called “pregnancy gingivitis.” They may bleed slightly during brushing or flossing. More frequent professional cleanings can help with prevention.
Pregnant women can report an increase in cavities, or tooth decay, when they’re expecting. They may be eating more foods that cause cavities. They may be experiencing morning sickness, which adds acid in the mouth and inhibits the desire to brush and floss due to gagging. It is important to keep up a regular dental routine while pregnant.
A woman’s gums between teeth can swell during pregnancy, creating lumps that are called “pregnancy tumors” that bleed easily. This condition is often caused by a buildup of plaque.
Other Concerns of Pregnancy and Dental Care
According to the March of Dimes recommendations on dental health during pregnancy, “Some studies show a link between periodontitis (gum disease) and premature birth (birth before 37 weeks) and low birthweight (less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.) Taking good care of your gums and teeth during pregnancy can help you and your baby be healthy.”
Visit Advanced Family Dentistry
When you’re pregnant, be sure to maintain your schedule of regular visits to the dentist. This will help keep you and your baby healthy and happy.
Advanced Family Dentistry is conveniently located in Reston, Virginia. We work with the entire family, providing the most advanced dental care for our patients, from their first infant visit to seniors. We want to be your dentist for life. Contact us today to schedule your next visit.
Dr. Sonny Kim is a Diplomat of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI), the highest education level for general dentists in this field.