Is It Safe To Have Dental Work Done When You’re Pregnant?

If you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, you’ve probably already heard about a long list of no-no’s including smoking, drinking, eating deli meat or soaking in the hot tub. We’ve got another one to add to your list — some types of dental work. But pay special attention to the word “some” because not everything is completely off-limits. Here are some tips and guidelines.

Cleanings are Your Friend

Dental cleanings and exams are fine during pregnancy. Especially because your increased hormone levels can cause your gums to do some crazy things like swell and bleed. According to WebMD, 40 percent of pregnant woman develop gingivitis (gum disease) in their pregnancy. The best thing you can do is keep your teeth in great shape before and during your pregnancy with healthy brushing and flossing habits along with regular dental cleanings.

Schedule Major Work Pre-pregnancy

When possible, get a dental appointment in before you begin trying for a baby. That way, if you have any big issues you need resolved, you can get them out of the way before you have a growing fetus to worry about. Things like cavity fillings and crowns are discouraged during pregnancy. Whitening and cosmetic work? Not now! There will be plenty of time to perfect your pearly whites post baby.

But What if There is a Dental Emergency?

If you need emergency dental work that can’t wait like a root canal or tooth extraction, the best time to address it is the second trimester. This goldilocks time period is good because the first trimester is where all the major development happens with your baby and it’s wise to avoid disrupting that. The third trimester is difficult for dental work because it is difficult to lay on your back for long periods of time. Above all though, the most important thing you can do is ask your dentist “Is this absolutely necessary?” If the answer is no, wait it out!

Dental Medications and X-rays

Lidocaine is one of the most popular medications used during dental work. IF you need emergency dental and IF pain medication is necessary, lidocaine is considered a Class B category drug during pregnancy. Class B is defined as “showing no proven risk in humans.”

X-Rays during pregnancy? According to the reputable Mayo Clinic, x-rays of your teeth during pregnancy don’t expose your reproductive organs to radiation, which means it’s highly unlikely they will affect your baby. But just to be sure, ask your dentist for a leaded apron to block any errant radiation.

Morning Sickness Side Effects

If you experience excessive morning sickness throughout your pregnancy, it’s wise to rinse your mouth or brush your teeth after an episode to prevent the acid from eroding your enamel. One easy trick to dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water. Then swig this solution to neutralize and remaining acid.

Play it Safe

When all is said and done, the best guideline is this: get into the dentist before you get pregnant and get your mouth in tip-top shape. You want to be healthy and worry-free as you begin the journey of pregnancy and motherhood.

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