Pregnancy is a joyful time, but it requires juggling a lot of things. With all your prenatal appointments, you may think that going to the dentist becomes optional until after you give birth. Going to the dentist when you are expecting is safe and your dental care is important to maintain your and the baby’s well-being. If you are due for routine checkups while pregnant, make sure to schedule them.
Regular exams and teeth cleanings are always important for your oral and general health, and if anything requires additional treatment, you can discuss appropriate timing with your dentist. Your dental provider can also share recommendations to alleviate certain pregnancy-related dental symptoms you may experience.
Tell Your Dentist You Are Expecting
Letting your dentist know you are pregnant, even in your first trimester, is important. Either do so when scheduling the appointment or if you learn about your pregnancy afterward, just tell your hygienist and dentist when you go to their office. Make sure to share what medications you are currently taking and if your primary care doctor or OB/GYN has specific recommendations. Dental x-rays are typically safe during pregnancy thanks to appropriate shielding.
Your dentist may recommend postponing certain dental work if:
- You are in your third trimester
- Your pregnancy is high-risk
- The procedure is purely cosmetic
- A treatment requires specific types of anesthesia
Both routine and major dental work, including gum surgery, are usually safe during pregnancy.
Do Not Skip Your Routine Dental Exams and Cleanings
Regular dental exams and teeth cleanings are vital for your oral health, including when you are expecting. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes and regular visits to the dentist can help prevent gum disease, which if left untreated can negatively impact your health and possibly your baby’s.
Routine exams and teeth cleanings help:
- Remove buildup and plaque you can’t get rid of by daily brushing and flossing
- Prevent tooth decay and gum disease
- Notice any dental concern early
You usually schedule this type of appointment every six months unless your dentist recommends a different schedule to meet your medical needs.
Oral Care and Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is a common early pregnancy symptom, and it can impact your oral health. Vomiting can damage your enamel due to its acidity. Dentists usually recommend you brush your teeth more often when experiencing morning sickness, even when it can be challenging due to nausea.
Your dentist can offer recommendations to protect your teeth if your morning sickness persists. They can suggest specific toothpaste or mouthwashes to help keep your teeth clean and healthy.
To minimize gag reflex and nausea concerns, dentists usually recommend scheduling extensive dental work for your second trimester, so you can be more comfortable.
Common Pregnancy Dental Concerns
During pregnancy, the hormonal changes your body goes through put you at a greater risk of gum or periodontal disease. Pregnancy gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that causes swelling and soreness. Your gums may bleed a little when you brush your teeth or floss.
Left untreated, periodontal disease during pregnancy can cause:
- A higher risk of pre-term delivery
- Baby’s low birth weight
This can happen due to the bacteria in your gums getting into your bloodstream. This in turn can create an inflammatory response throughout your body and impact your baby.
While expecting, you are also more likely to develop cavities, and sometimes growths within the mouth. Your dentist can easily treat these issues and preserve your oral health.
Being consistent with your daily oral care with appropriate brushing and flossing and keeping up with routine and any additional dental appointments you need supports both your health and your baby’s. This includes scheduling your regular exams and any necessary follow-up visits after giving birth.
Contact Access Dental today at (973) 358-6266 to schedule your next dental checkup!