I’m Pregnant: Which Dental Procedures Should I Avoid?


pregnantIt is said that pregnancy makes a woman complete! During pregnancy, a woman undergoes a number of changes which can be either physical or emotional in nature. She is presented with a big list of do’s and don’ts. Dental procedures also fall in that lengthy list. Many women develop some type of oral problem during their pregnancy. This is because of the hormonal changes that occur within them during pregnancy. Decreased oral hygiene can cause their gums to become inflamed and there is a greater incidence of dental cavities as well. An expecting mother should realize that gum disease, if left unchecked, can cause preterm birth of the baby and result in a baby with low birth weight. Once you are pregnant, make an extra effort to keep your teeth and gums clean. This can be achieved by brushing your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day. Flossing at least once daily keeps the interdental areas clean and decay-free.

dental procedures

The second trimester is the safest time for pregnant women to undergo dental procedures.

All dental procedures cannot be considered as an absolute NO during pregnancy. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), annual oral check-ups and routine dental cleanings are completely safe for a pregnant woman. If you are pregnant it is your responsibility to inform your dentist about your pregnancy. This makes it easier for a dentist to decide if certain dental procedures should be performed on you or not.

Ideally, the second trimester is regarded to be the safest for a pregnant woman to undergo a dental procedure.  As you enter the third trimester, the size of your baby grows and so does your tummy. This makes it difficult for you to sit for long hours on a dental chair to undergo treatment. Dentists try to postpone any type of cosmetic treatments and plan them only after the baby is born. This is the safest option for both mother and baby.

Dental procedures like root canals need local anesthesia. The pain threshold decreases during pregnancy and you can become more sensitive to even mild pain. The anticipation of pain makes the whole procedure all the more uncomfortable. Your baby experiences discomfort when you feel pain or become tensed. When you are tense the anesthesia does not work as well and you may require another shot of local anesthesia to make the procedure painless. The best method to tackle this problem is to stay calm and relaxed. Try listening to some soft music or any of your favorite songs while undergoing a dental procedure. While lying down make sure that your legs are kept straight so that the blood circulates properly to all parts of the body.

Antibiotics are used as a preventive or remedial measure in the treatment of dental infections. Amoxicillin and clindamycin are regarded to be safe for use during pregnancy but antibiotics like tetracycline should be strictly avoided as they can stain baby’s teeth permanently.

Dentists avoid Xrays during pregnancy as this can cause various developmental defects in a baby, especially during the first trimester when the process of organ development is in progress. Yet if it becomes absolutely necessary, the woman is asked to wear a lead apron before she is exposed to the Xrays.

A balanced and nutritious diet and proper personal hygiene measures will help you complete your pregnancy in good health and have a bouncing fit baby!