Pregnancy, Dental Health, and your Overall Health

The ADA published a finding that only 60% of pregnant women go to the dentist. This might be due to misinformation, lack of knowledge of the facts, and/or fear. I will address the major concerns and hopefully encourage our pregnant patients to continue optimal oral health throughout pregnancy and beyond.

Why do I need to see a dentist when I am pregnant?

When you are pregnant there is a fluctuation of your hormones which cause you to be more susceptible to gingivitis which is an inflammation of the gum tissue. If this inflammation persists the patient may develop periodontal disease which has been linked to preterm low birthweight infants. Many women also unfortunately experience nausea while pregnant which may induce vomiting.  This introduces acid into the mouth and puts patients at greater risks for cavities. 

How can these adverse conditions be prevented?

It begins as always with home care: Brushing twice a day for two minutes with a soft bristle toothbrush, flossing once a day, and using a daily fluoridated mouth rinse.  It is also recommended that you continue to see your dentist every 6 months throughout your pregnancy.  Some of our patients we see more frequently for cleanings, every 3 months, to control the bacteria and eliminate gingivitis and the increased risk of all the adverse conditions previously discussed. 

Is it safe to have dental x-rays?

It is safe to have dental x-rays while you are pregnant. In our office we have digital radiography so it is even a smaller amount of emitted radiation in addition all patients are covered with protective barriers which cover the thyroid and abdomen. 

Is it safe to have dental anesthesia (Is it safe to be numb)?

It is safe to have local dental anesthesia while you are pregnant and to have routine and emergency dental procedures. Also when you are pregnant if any medications are necessary for treatment the following have been deemed safe for use during pregnancy:  penicillin, amoxicillin, cephalosporin, clindamycin, metronidazole as well as local dental anesthesia with or without epinephrine. 

Is there anything I should avoid in the dental office while I am pregnant?

It is very important to avoid Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas).  Nitrous oxide has been shown to have the possibility of being detrimental to the fetus.  This is not only important for pregnant patients but also pregnant employees in a dental office. We do not have Nitrous Oxide in our office. If you are going to an office other than ours be certain to ask if they are using Nitrous Oxide in the office while you are present.  If it is in use while you are in that office ask if they have a scavenging system, room ventilation and auxiliary exhaust ventilation.

 

At Complete Health Dentistry we are passionate about caring for all of our patients and we promote prevention in general and especially during pregnancy. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that women continue dental care throughout their pregnancy and that all dental procedures are safe during pregnancy. We would be happy to work with your OB/GYN throughout your pregnancy to ensure your optimal health during this amazing time in your life. If you have any questions or concerns please contact our office for a complimentary consult to address your concerns and specific needs.

Author
Dr. Ann N. Hebda Dentist/owner Complete Health Dentistry Ashburn Virginia

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