Preparing for Dental Work During Pregnancy

Posted on: 11 July 2016

Having orthadontic or dental surgery while you're pregnant is generally safe; however, extra precautionary measures must be taken. The rise in hormone levels can cause gums to swell and trap food, which could not only become irritating but could also lead to gingivitis (gum disease). While not always possible, taking preventative dental care is highly recommended.

Having Dental Surgery

If you need to have dental work while you're pregnant, basic surgeries, such as cavity fillings and crowns, should be conducted in the second trimester. During the third trimester it could be very difficult to lie on your back, so, unless it's an emergency, any surgery should wait.

While most forms of dental surgery are generally safe during pregnancy, it's always better to wait until after the birth in order to prevent premature labor. Although some procedures, such as a root canal or tooth extraction, may not be possible to delay, anything cosmetic should be postponed. This is not only safer for you, but will limit the risk of exposing your baby to problems – even if they are minimal.

Speak To Your Dentist

Before you have any form of dental surgery, it's crucial that you inform your dentist or orthodontist if you are pregnant. This is because the anaesthesia will have to be adjusted to meet your physical condition; just enough to make you comfortable, but less than usual. In addition, the post-operative medications may need to be amended – although most forms of antibiotics will still be safe to use.

Studies conducted by the American College of Radiology show that a single X-ray dose doesn't have enough radiation to adversely affect a fetus. However, routine X-ray examinations should be avoided and only ever conducted if absolutely crucial. Again, if you're in the early stages of pregnancy, make sure you inform your dentist if you have routine X-rays.

Take Preventative Measures

Visiting the dentist can be stressful, especially when you're also worrying about a baby. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your baby will be. Try to have a dental check up before you get pregnant so you can have a thorough clean – this will limit your chance of suffering from pregnancy gingivitis. In addition, schedule follow-up dental appointments throughout your pregnancy.

Other tips for reducing stress include keeping your legs uncrossed when you're in the dentist's chair (this will help you maintain circulation), listening to music throughout the check up, and taking a pillow with you.