Pregnancy is a busy time for the mother-to-be! There are birthing classes, baby showers, nesting, and lots of doctors appointments. In addition to the OB appointments, expecting moms should also add one more appointment to the list—a dental appointment. Dental cleanings are safe for pregnant women and preventive dental work is recommended by the American Pregnancy Association. Here’s what you need to know about dental care and pregnancy:
Your mouth may experience changes during pregnancy.
Pregnancy hormones affect every other part of your body, why not your mouth too? Due to the ongoing changes in their bodies, pregnant women are more prone to inflamed gums and cavities. Regular brushing and flossing are key to preventing these issues. In rare cases, some women may also develop “pregnancy tumors” on their gums. These non-cancerous lumps are related to swelling that occurs between the teeth. While they usually disappear after the baby is born, they can also be removed by a dentist.
Dental work can be completed while pregnant.
If you need a cavity filled or a root canal performed during pregnancy, don’t put it off. Caring for these issues can help prevent infection, which could be harmful to the baby. Dentists only use local anesthetics that are safe for the baby during these procedures.
The best time to schedule a dental visit is in the second trimester.
While dental exams and cleanings can be safely performed at any point during a woman’s pregnancy, many moms-to-be choose to schedule appointments during the second trimester. Morning sickness and other aversions may make visits unpleasant in the first trimester, and during the third trimester, it can be hard for a pregnant woman to lie back in a dental chair for an extended amount of time.
Annual x-rays can be skipped when pregnant.
Routine x-rays are recommended for patients each year so that dentists can get an in-depth look at the health of their teeth. For pregnant women, though, x-rays can typically be postponed until after birth. Should a dental emergency require x-rays, dentists use a leaded apron to prevent radiation exposure to the abdomen.