Pregnancy brings with it many emotions and questions. What will your baby look like, what gender will it be, will you ever stop feeling sick? For all women though, how to care for your body while pregnant is at the top of the list. However, for many, oral hygiene seems to slip through the cracks.
There are many different opinions on this “hot topic” of whether dental care is safe and necessary during pregnancy. The answer is a little more complex than a yes or a no; so here are some general recommendations for pregnant women.
Firstly, there is no reason to postpone regular teeth cleaning and checkups while pregnant. In fact the added hormones during pregnancy can cause swelling in your gums which can allow for more food to get stuck between them, causing irritation and possibly a future cavity. Cleanings may be the most comfortable to have done during your second trimester when lying on your back is still comfortable. However any time during your pregnancy will be safe for you and baby.
If you do have a more serious problem come up in one of your teeth, the discussion should be made with your dentist about the safety of your specific procedure. A cavity, for example, should be filled even while pregnant. A tooth extraction or root canal is also an issue that is better taken care of as soon as it is found. Your dentist will be able to explain to you the types of numbing or medication used in these procedures and how each may or may not affect your pregnancy. Generally, if left unattended these problem areas or teeth can become more serious and require more drastic measures to be taken.
There are some cosmetic procedures that can and should wait until after pregnancy to be completed. Teeth whitening, for example, does not need to be done during pregnancy and can easily wait until after delivery.
Many women have increased sensitivity in their teeth and gums while pregnant and this can make you feel like avoiding the dentist at all costs. But continuing your routine of brushing, flossing and regular checkups will definitely save you the trouble of a more serious problem such as a cavity, or worse. As is the case with every health issue, you should ask your dentist as many questions as you feel necessary to be comfortable with your dental care during your pregnancy.