6 facts about dental work while you’re pregnant

November 9, 2014

Not sure if you can get that cavity filled? Are X-rays okay? Here’s what you need to know about pregnancy and your oral health.

  1. Your dentist needs to know. Tell them at your first appointment after finding out you’re pregnant. Also bring along a list of supplements and medications you’re taking throughout the course of your pregnancy, including prenatal vitamins and anti-nauseates. Tell your dentist exactly how much you take. That way, you can determine your best course of any treatment through the rest of your pregnancy.
  2. You may need to skip X-rays. Radiation exposure when having X-ray scans can be a concern during pregnancy. But your dentist may decide to bypass the X-rays altogether until after you’ve given birth. However, if a dental emergency does arise — a tooth extraction for example — your dentist will carefully protect you and your baby from radiation by covering you with a lead apron.
  3. Dental cleanings are critical — now more than ever. During those nine months of baby incubation, your hormone levels increase and have an effect on your gums — they’ll be more swollen, prone to bleeding and likely trap more food. So ensure you have at least one cleaning done during pregnancy to avoid developing conditions such as gum disease, which can cause pregnancy complications.
  4. Postpone any elective dental treatments, such as whitening treatments. This and all other non-emergency dental work should wait until after you’ve given birth.
  5. Discuss your medications. If a situation comes up where you will need dental work, talk about it with both your healthcare provider as well as your dentist to determine if it can be dealt with after you’ve given birth or if it should be taken care of right away. Also bring up the medications you’d be exposed to during dental work — think anaesthesia, which most experts say doesn’t reach the fetus. (But still as a precautionary measure, strive to be exposed to as little of it as possible.) This also includes talking about antibiotics you might need after dental work, such as penicillin or amoxicillin.
  6. Follow up with your dentist. We know you may loathe the thought of dragging an infant to your dentist’s office, but checking your oral health post-pregnancy is key as well. Not only to follow up on any dental work such as fillings or extractions, but to assess your general oral health such as the state of your gums, teeth and more.
6 facts about dental work while you’re pregnant
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