Oral health and pregnancy: Common questions answered

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April 3rd, 2017

Between googling what foods are safe to eat and what the latest body change could mean, pregnancy can be a time of quick transformations that leaves many women struggling just to keep up.

Below, Dr. Sheila Strock answers the most common questions women have for their dentist during pregnancy:

When do I tell the dentist I am pregnant?

Consult with your dentist during your first trimester of pregnancy and tell them how far along you are in your pregnancy. Let them know about the medications you are taking and if you have received any special advice from your primary physician or OB/GYN. This information will help your dentist know what treatment or prescription is right for you. If your pregnancy is at high risk, your dentist may discuss any treatments you may need with your physician.

Is it safe to get my teeth cleaned during pregnancy?

Seeing a dentist while pregnant isn’t only safe, it can help moms-to-be cope with pregnancy-related symptoms like bleeding gums. You should continue to see your dentist during pregnancy for oral examinations and professional teeth cleanings. Your dentist may even recommend more frequent cleanings to prevent gingivitis.

How do I best take care of my teeth while I’m pregnant?

Good daily care is key to your oral health. To help prevent gum disease, brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste and floss once per day. Ask your hygienist how to brush and floss correctly.

Are anesthetics safe during pregnancy?

If you need a filling, root canal or tooth pulled while you are pregnant you don’t need to worry if the anesthesia will affect your baby. There seems to be no reason to prevent pregnant women from receiving dental treatment during or local anesthetics during pregnancy. However, be sure to discuss this with your dentist. He or she may call your physician to ensure that your treatment is safely delivered during your pregnancy.

Can I get a dental X-ray during pregnancy?

If you experience a dental emergency during your pregnancy, you may need an X-ray. Radiation levels from the X-ray are extremely low, and with today‘s techniques, X-rays are very safe. In addition, your dentist or hygienist will cover you with a leaded apron that adds protection from exposure to the abdomen. They will also cover your throat with a leaded collar to protect your thyroid from radiation.

Oral health is an important component of overall health and should be maintained, especially during pregnancy.