If you are pregnant, you may be wondering if it's safe to visit your dentist. Getting a check-up while you are pregnant is perfectly safe and essential to your dental health.
It's important to have regular dental visits during pregnancy for many reasons. For instance:
- Pregnancy can make some dental problems worse – or create new ones
- Your dentist can treat any pregnancy-related dental symptoms that occur
Should I Tell My Dentist That I'm Pregnant?
Let the dentist know you are pregnant and how far along you are when you make your appointment. Inform the dentist:
- Any changes to your medications
- If you've received any special advice from your obstetrician
- Any changes to your mouth including bleeding, redness, or swelling
This information may affect the treatment your dentist recommends. Your dentist may choose to postpone elective procedures until after the delivery.
Pregnancy-Related Oral Health Changes You May Experience
Increased Risk of Tooth Decay
Pregnant women often consume more carbohydrates, which makes them more prone to tooth decay. Additionally, morning sickness can increase the amount of acid in your mouth; this acid can affect your tooth enamel.
Hormonal changes can cause some pregnant women to develop a mild form of gum disease called 'pregnancy gingivitis'. This condition can cause your gums to feel sore, tender, and even bleed.
If not treated, pregnancy gingivitis can lead to gum disease. Your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings to manage the condition.
Lack of At-Home Dental Care
It's easy to put off brushing and flossing if you feel tired or have morning sickness. But, it's vital to maintain good dental hygiene during pregnancy because poor dental habits have been linked to:
- Gestational diabetes
- Intrauterine growth restriction
- Preterm birth
If you experience morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water immediately after, wait about 20 to 30 minutes and then brush your teeth. Stomach acids soften the enamel. By brushing immediately after getting sick, you could potentially cause additional damage to your teeth.
During the second trimester, some women experience tissue overgrowths on their gums. These are called pregnancy tumors. This condition causes swelling between the teeth. Your gums will look red and may bleed while brushing your teeth. Pregnancy tumors usually disappear after the baby is born.
Can a Dentist Pull a Tooth While I'm Pregnant?
If you need a tooth pulled (extraction) or require another type of procedure, your dentist may recommend an anesthetic, such as a lidocaine shot or nitrous oxide. Rest assured that any recommended anesthetic is safe for you and your unborn baby.
It's more important than ever to maintain your oral health while you are pregnant. Continuing good oral care habits will benefit you and your unborn baby.