Is there ever a time you should avoid your dentist? Yes, but only if you’re pregnant. And there are certain dental procedures that should not be avoided when you’re pregnant as well.
When to Avoid Your Dentist
When you’re pregnant, you should avoid your dentist for any dental work that falls into these two categories:
- Teeth Whitening and Other Cosmetic Procedures
- Non-emergency Dental Work – If you have entered your third trimester, non-emergency dental work should be postponed until after your baby’s birth.
When Not to Avoid Your Dentist
When you’re pregnant, you should not avoid your dentist for the following dental procedures:
- Dental Cleanings and Exams – Hormone levels rise during pregnancy. This rise in hormone levels causes your gums to swell and bleed. Then they may even trap food. And irritated gums make you more susceptible to gum disease.
What’s bad about gum disease when you’re pregnant? Gum disease has been linked to premature birth in babies which makes dental cleanings and exams during pregnancy vital. Plus, regular cleanings help you feel more comfortable, too. And your comfort when carrying a baby is important.
Dental Procedures to Postpone Unless Absolutely Necessary
- Fillings and Crowns – Since fillings and crowns reduce the risk of gum disease, they should not be avoided when necessary during pregnancy. However, if it’s at all possible to postpone a filling or crown until after your baby is born, it really is best to wait. But if waiting isn’t possible, have this dental work done while you’re in your second trimester. Lying on your back for long periods of time can be difficult and uncomfortable when you’re in your third trimester.
- Root Canals and Tooth Extractions – These are emergency dental procedures that can happen during pregnancy. If a dental emergency is necessary while you’re pregnant, ask your dentist to administer the smallest amount of anesthesia possible. However, your comfort while pregnant is important. Discomfort causes stress. And less stress for you means less stress on your baby. So if you ever experience pain during a dental procedure, let your dentist know. And ask for more numbing medicine.
- X-rays – X-rays are typical during annual exams, and they are needed for most dental procedures, especially emergencies. The American College of Radiology says radiation from one X-ray isn’t enough to adversely affect your developing baby. However, since a baby’s organs develop during the first trimester, it is best to avoid X-rays until after birth. If absolutely necessary, X-rays may be taken to help assess the risk of a toothache or abscess.
Other Things to Avoid When it Comes to Baby
Current studies vary on the possible adverse side effects caused by medications used during pregnancy. Lidocaine is labeled a Category B medication and is the most commonly used local anesthetic in dental procedures. Because Lidocaine crosses the placenta after it’s administered, it is safest to use during the second trimester.
Antibiotics are commonly prescribed after emergency dental procedures to prevent or treat infections. Penicillin, amoxicillin, and clindamycin are also labeled as Category B medications and considered safe to use while pregnant.
But after baby arrives, be wary of the use of antibiotics if you choose to breastfeed your baby. Your newborn’s tummy can have a hard time managing these medications.
As with all medications, it is best to talk with your family doctor about their risks to you and your baby.
Suggestions for Our Patients Who are Expecting
Davis Dental cares about your oral health. We care about the possible risks of dental procedures during pregnancy and the development of your little one, too.
If you’re expecting a baby, we suggest:
- Getting a full dental exam before conception. If you are planning a pregnancy, make sure you’re free of cavities and infection beforehand.
- Eating a balanced diet for pregnant women as recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA)
- Brushing your teeth twice a day
- Flossing your teeth once daily
- Letting your dentist know you are expecting
- Getting your teeth cleaned and examined while you are pregnant
- Postponing non-emergency dental work until your second trimester or until after delivery if possible
- Avoiding unnecessary procedures, such as teeth whitening and other cosmetic procedures, until after your baby is born
If a dental procedure is necessary while pregnant, we suggest:
- Keeping your legs uncrossed while in the dentist’s chair. This helps you maintain healthy circulation.
- Bringing a pillow to provide comfort for you and your baby
- Wearing ear buds to listen to your favorite music during the procedure
- Asking Davis Dental about any concerns you may have about our procedures and protocols for our moms-to-be. We want you to be as comfortable as possible with your dental care.
When you are expecting, you should avoid your dentist for some dental procedures yes, but not for others. Do you have concerns about dental procedures during pregnancy? Please call Davis Dental at (307) 634-3488 with your concerns. Your peace of mind and comfort during dental procedures is important to us.
Quality Dental Care for Your Whole Family
3249 Sparks Road
Cheyenne, WY 82001
Open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm