Dental procedures during pregnancy: is it safe?
When you fall pregnant, many things become off limits. Raw fish, some medications and alcohol can all put your baby’s health at risk so women are advised to avoid them.
At our dental clinic, we hear from many expectant mothers who ask if dental treatments are safe. This is understandable as there’s a lot of conflicting information out there.
Visiting the dentist during pregnancy
Being pregnant is no excuse to avoid the dentist. In fact, you have more reasons to go.
Unfortunately, due to changes in your immune system during pregnancy, you actually become more susceptible to periodontal disease. Your gums can become more easily inflamed, they bleed a lot more, and you are more likely to sustain an infection.
The worst-case scenario as a result of tooth and gum disease during pregnancy is a low birth weight or premature baby. This is why your dentist recommends regular appointments. You can catch problems and take action early.
Visiting the dentist during your pregnancy is also important because it lets you have a discussion about your child’s dental health. Even baby teeth need special care so it’s a good idea to have a chat about this before baby arrives.
Local anaesthetic during pregnancy
If you are having issues with your teeth and gums while you are pregnant, it is important to get them treated. However, unless it’s an emergency, your dentist will most likely schedule the treatment for your second trimester. This is generally regarded as the safest time to take action.
When it comes to anaesthetics, there are particular types used for pregnant women. Known as Class A drugs, these have been used on pregnant women over the years without any major detected side-effects on baby or mum. At Plaza Dental, we use these Class A drugs as they are considered safe.
We tell our patients there is no need to worry about having a local anaesthetic during pregnancy. We have treated scores of pregnant women without issue.
In terms of X-rays, dental x-rays have a very low radiation dose, the equivalent to about what you would get on a 1 hour plane flight. So while we try to minimize the use of x-rays during pregnancy you are more likely to cause yourself and your baby health problems by deferring important treatment, than by having x-rays taken. Should it be unavoidable, we use a lead coat to protect the baby so there’s no chance any of the X-rays will affect his or her development.
Your dentist’s advice
Don’t put off your dental check-ups just because you are pregnant, especially if you are experiencing pain or discomfort.
If you ignore a toothache or sore gums, you run the risk of getting an infection so it’s important to think about the big picture. The risks of not doing anything are a lot worse than any risks involved in a check-up or procedure.
Finally, we tell expectant mums to get their child used to brushing as soon as their teeth first appear. Make an appointment to talk about your child’s dental health and remember to bring them in every six months as they grow. Dr Rachel Hartl and our Oral Health Therapist Tessa Pate have a particular interest in this area.
Keep up your dental visits and you will all be guaranteed a beautiful smile when it comes time to take a family portrait.
For those of you who would like more information here is Dr Rachel’s VLOG on dental health in Pregnancy.