Our pregnant patients often as us, “Is it safe to have dental work
during pregnancy?” As far as dental cleanings and annual exams are
concerned, those are perfectly safe to have during pregnancy. In fact,
we recommend having them done specifically because of the way hormonal
changes affect the gums during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, certain hormone levels rise, causing the gums to become
swollen and even bleed. These hormonal changes not only affect the gums,
but they cause food to become trapped, which causes further gum irritation.
According to the
American Pregnancy Association, “Preventative dental work while pregnant is essential to avoid
oral infections such as
gum disease, which has been linked to preterm birth.”
Can I Get Regular Dental Work?
But what about regular dental work? Is that safe during pregnancy? When
it comes to other dental work, such as
root canals, crowns, and tooth extractions, things get trickier.
Generally, we perform the above types of dental work on a pregnant woman
when they’re necessary to treat an existing infection or reduce
the chance of one from occurring. If dental work must be done while a
woman is pregnant, it’s best to do it during the second trimester.
Once a pregnant woman is in her third trimester, it’s very difficult
for her to lie on her back for an extended length of time. Not only that,
but most obstetricians urge women in their third trimester not to because
it stresses the baby.
As a general rule, if a pregnant woman can safely postpone her dental work
until after the birth, it’s in her best interests. However, dental
emergencies do occur and sometimes they happen when a woman is well into
her second or third trimester.
Occasionally, it is in the patient’s best interests to perform a
root canal or an emergency tooth extraction during pregnancy. This way,
the threat of an infection can be quickly addressed before it affects
the unborn child.
Elective treatments on the other hand, such as
tooth whitening, or bonding should be postponed until after delivery. Basically, the purpose
is to protect the baby from any toxic substances that may be harmful,
even if the risks are minimal.
“Currently, there are conflicting studies about the possible adverse
effects on the developing baby from medications used during dental work,”
says the American Pregnancy Association. The Association goes on to say
that Lidocaine, a medication that is commonly used in dental work, “does
cross the placenta after administration.”
If you do end up needed dental work while pregnant, we recommend discussing
it with your obstetrician. If you are given the “green light,”
by your OB, be sure to inform your dentist that you’re are pregnant
so he or she can use as little anesthesia as possible. However, you need
enough medication so you are not in pain. When you’re under less
stress, there’s less stress on the baby.
Looking for a Ventura dentist to treat you and your family?
Contact us today to request a free consultation with Dr. Mark Weitzman D.D.S.