IS DENTAL CARE SAFE DURING PREGNANCY?
Routine dental care is not only safe but very important during pregnancy. Let your dentist know when you go that you are pregnant and also how far along you are in the pregnancy. It is best to have any necessary dental treatment completed during the second trimester. During the third trimester, it may be a little too uncomfortable to be in the dental chair on your back for an extended period of time. Any elective dental work that you want to have done, I would recommend you schedule for after delivery.
HOW WILL PREGNANCY AFFECT MY MOUTH?
Pregnancy gingivitis is a common condition that affects many expecting women. Due to all of the hormonal changes, there can be increased inflammation in the gum tissue. You may notice more bleeding when brushing and flossing. Gingivitis can precede more serious forms of periodontal disease, so it is very important to go to the dentist routinely to have your teeth cleaned. Morning sickness can create a higher risk of tooth decay. The extra acid in the mouth can cause deterioration of the hard outer enamel layer of the tooth. Rinsing your mouth with water immediately after being sick will help to decrease the amount of acid present.
CAN I GET DENTAL X-RAYS DURING PREGNANCY?
Radiographs of the teeth are very unlikely to pose a risk to a developing baby in the uterus. However, since there is such controversy surrounding dental X-rays and limiting exposure, I would only recommend a pregnant woman have X-rays taken when the benefits outweigh the risks. For example, if an expecting mother has a toothache or swollen jaw, it would be much less risky to have a single X-ray taken to help identify the problem than to let a potential dental infection continue to spread.
CAN I WHITEN MY TEETH DURING PREGNANCY?
Teeth whitening is considered to be a cosmetic, elective procedure and therefore, I would not recommend it during pregnancy. There hasn’t been enough data to show the effects of the whitening agents on the developing baby, so it’s best to be safe and wait to whiten until after delivery.
WHAT ANTIBIOTICS ARE SAFE TO TAKE DURING PREGNANCY?
Antibiotics may be prescribed for you for a dental infection. Amoxicillin and clindamycin are both commonly prescribed and are considered to be safe to take. Tetracyclines such as minocycline and doxycycline can cause discoloration of the baby’s developing teeth and also damage to the pregnant woman’s liver. These antibiotics should be avoided during pregnancy.
ARE THE LOCAL ANESTHETICS USED DURING TREATMENT SAFE?
Lidocaine is the most commonly used local anesthetic for dental treatment. It is a category B drug (does not cross the placenta) and therefore, it is considered to be safe to administer during pregnancy.
WHAT PAIN MEDICATIONS CAN I TAKE FOR A TOOTHACHE OR AFTER DENTAL WORK?
Tylenol (acetaminophen) is a category B drug and is the drug of choice for pain relief in pregnant women at any time during the pregnancy. Advil (ibuprofen) is a category B drug and is safe to take in the first and second trimesters. However, it becomes a category D drug during the third trimester and should be avoided, as it can cause premature closure of one of the heart ducts.