Is Going To The Dentist Safe While Pregnant?

The dentists from North Burnaby Dental Group provide information about oral care, dental procedures while pregnant.

A common question that many people ask is whether it is okay to undergo dental procedures or do dental check-ups while pregnant. The answer is yes, it is important to take care of your dental health and especially during pregnancy.

Visiting a Burnaby dentist while pregnant

Both the Canadian Dental Association, and Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada recommend regular dental visits to ensure that the expectant mother receives professional guidance to identify and treat the various dental issues that may crop up during pregnancy. Preventive and regular examinations are safe to carry out during pregnancy.

The safest time for any elective dental work is during the second trimester, when it is most comfortable for the expectant mother to undergo treatment. The first and third trimesters are only avoided because of the potential discomfort to the mother due to exhaustion, morning sickness in the first trimester, and inability to lie on the back for long during the third trimester.

Any emergency treatment can certainly be carried out. Root canal treatment, cavity fillings, scaling and cleaning are some routine procedures that can be done without any problem. Emergency extractions can also be carried out. In fact, anything that is causing pain or infection for the mother should be dealt with immediately as this can cause undue stress, loss of sleep or problems with eating during a time where all of those things should be well managed.  Elective or cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening etc. can be postponed until after the birth of the baby.

It is important that you disclose your condition and how far you are into the pregnancy to your dentist, and any medications you are on, and whether you have any other medical conditions like gestational diabetes or hypertension, so that proper precautions can be taken before any procedures are carried out.

Radiographs: Dental x-rays can be taken safely during pregnancy. Use of digital sensors and proper shielding minimizes risk of radiation exposure.  Many people elect to postpone routine x-rays which is fine, but if there is pain or emergency sometimes these are necessary and should be used when indicated.    

Medications used in dental work: The most commonly used drug for dental work does cross the placenta after administration, but the amount used is always just enough to achieve numbness locally and to provide you a stress free and pain free experience.

Antibiotics and pain relievers might be prescribed in case there is an infection. Your dentist will ensure that only drugs that are considered safe during pregnancy are prescribed.

The following are some conditions and issues that are common during pregnancy:

Higher risk of dental decay: Pregnant women have a higher risk of dental decay due to various reasons like change in routine, eating patterns, hormonal changes, acid reflux, morning sickness etc. Proper brushing, flossing and regular examination helps detect decay and cavities in their early stages.

Pregnancy gingivitis: Some women experience tenderness and bleeding from gums while brushing and flossing. This could be inflammation due to hormonal changes. The best way to treat this is to have a professional cleaning done. It is best taken care of in the initial stages to prevent progression into a more serious case of gum disease.

Pregnancy tumors: some women may have a red, raspberry like swelling of the gums in between the teeth, which eventually resolves itself after the birth of the baby. Sometimes these overgrown bits of tissue tend to bleed or appear unsightly. These are related to plaque and can be removed by the dentist.

The rule of thumb is, if anything needs attention, then it is perfectly safe to be diagnosed and treated.  If it is an elective procedure that is not urgent, then it can wait until the baby is born.  

If you have any questions related to oral health and dental procedures while pregnant, be sure to speak to your Burnaby Dentist at North Burnaby Dental Group.

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