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If you’re expecting a little one, congratulations! Although your life may be turned on its head while you await the arrival of your little one, ensuring you visit the dentist during pregnancy is essential. Visiting the dentist during pregnancy is not only safe, but it is also recommended to keep mum and baby in good health. There are a few things you should know about visiting the dentist, including what types of procedures can be carried out and which trimester is safest for your visit.
Carrying a child means big changes for your body, and this includes your teeth. Swelling can happen everywhere in your body, including your gums, which can lead to pockets below your gums where bacteria can hide and multiply. For this reason, it is recommended that you visit the dentist during pregnancy more frequently than you usually would. A trip to the dental hygienist will help you to keep your teeth clean and prevent infection.
Dental fillings during pregnancy are very simple procedures, but your dentist might want to wait until the second trimester to make this more comfortable for you. Unless it is an emergency, it’s best to wait until after the first trimester to be safe. If you require a dental filling during pregnancy after the second trimester, your dentist will likely advise you to wait until after giving birth.
It is recommended that you have treatments for tooth extraction during pregnancy rather than postponing as this can help to reduce the risk of infection. Your body will be working overtime to grow your baby, so a dental infection might be more severe during pregnancy. For this reason, your dentist will likely advise tooth extraction during pregnancy if there is no other way to save the tooth. When you have delivered the baby, you could then look into restorative options, such as dental implants.
A common problem is that women will have root canals scheduled and then find out they are pregnant. If this is the case, you should let your dentist know as soon as possible so they can advise you. Some women don’t want to have root canals while pregnant because it can be a longer procedure. Root canals while pregnant are safe, but your dentist will likely only carry out the treatment if it is an emergency. If you have a dental abscess during pregnancy, you will want to get it treated as soon as possible to prevent the infection from causing you any pain or spreading.
One of the biggest concerns dentists and patients will have during pregnancy is X-rays. Most dentists will avoid X-rays unless the patient is in pain. Although there is no risk of miscarriage due to X-rays, the radiation can damage the cells in the body, which is why it is often avoided in pregnancy. Dental X-rays don’t affect the stomach or pelvic area so the risk is even lower. However, it is often advised that women should postpone X-rays until after they have given birth, or wait until the second trimester if treatment is more urgent. It’s important to tell your dentist if you are pregnant or suspect you might be pregnant as they will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment depending on how far along you are.
If you are already having orthodontic treatment when you become pregnant, this won’t stop you from continuing the treatment. However, your dentist may advise against braces when pregnant, depending on the severity of your case. This is because lying on your back for an extended period of time may become very difficult during your third trimester, so you might not be able to keep up with your treatment. If you are unsure, you can discuss this with your dentist, but they might advise that you postpone all cosmetic dental work until after the baby is born.
There is no one rule about who can and who cannot have dental procedures done during pregnancy, so it’s important to discuss this with your dentist. Although you may be very busy, you should still make time to visit the dentist during pregnancy to keep your teeth in good health!