In between trips to your ob-gyne, shopping for baby stuff, and setting your little angel’s bedroom, never forget to include your dental visits in your pregnancy checklist.
Your oral health is as important as your general health during this crucial period, and your dentist can help you with any dental-related symptoms you might be experiencing.
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Dental Association, “all pregnant women should do regular dental visits because “oral health is directly related to good overall health.”
As for your dentist, here are the treatment considerations that they have to implement when handling pregnant patients.
Elective Dental Treatment
Elective dental treatment pertains to procedures that are not urgently needed.
They are recommended by dentists because they are beneficial for the patient, but doesn’t need to be done right away.
These include simple restorative procedures, professional cleaning (for maintenance), and most cosmetic dental procedures.
In pregnant women, these procedures may be postponed until after you have given birth, particularly if it involves the anesthetics and x-rays.
Emergency Dental Treatment
Emergency treatment is the opposite of elective, as it requires the procedure to be performed in the soonest time possible.
This includes symptomatic cases of extensive tooth decay which necessitates immediate restoration or extraction.
Tooth decay, in particular, must be considered an emergency because the infection can spread throughout the body and affect your unborn baby.
Severe or advanced cases of gum disease must also be addressed whenever possible because it also increases the risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes, the most common of which is premature birth and low birth weight.
Timing of Dental Treatment
As much as possible, all dental treatment must be postponed until after giving birth and dental visits must be limited to check-ups and oral hygiene instructions.
However, since this is not possible and treatment is needed in most instances, the best time to do elective dental procedures is during the second trimester, because it is during the first and third trimesters when the unborn baby is most sensitive to chemicals and radiation.
Only emergency dental procedures must be considered during the first and third trimesters.
If x-rays are necessary for the emergency treatment, the number of shots taken is the fewest possible.
Scaling and polishing for advanced cases of gum disease may be repeated up to the first half of the third trimester only.
Although dental x-rays are deemed safe by the American Dental Association due to their low dose, they are used only when absolutely necessary.
As much as possible, you dentist will delay taking x-rays until after your first trimester. And to protect you and your baby from the radiation, he or she will ask you to wear a lead apron with thyroid collar.
If you have concerns, you can always talk to your dentist to evaluate your case and see if x-rays can be rescheduled at a later period.
There you go. Done – with the first part.
There’s a lot of things your dentist consider when handling pregnant patients and one blog post isn’t enough to discuss all of them.
That’ why this post will come with a second part where more treatment considerations will be discussed.