I usually write posts based on questions from our patients. Recently we had a mother-to-be come in and ask if she can still have a cleaning while pregnant. It is very important to make sure you have proper dental hygiene during your pregnancy for you and baby. It is also very important to have a checkup before planning your pregnancy to avoid potential dental emergencies.
The American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics all encourage women to get dental care while pregnant. “It is a crucial period of time in a woman’s life and maintaining oral health is directly related to good overall health,” says Aharon Hagai, D.M.D.
The American Dental Association is a very good resource for expectant mothers. Here are some common questions and concerns that we hear at Brentwood Progressive Dentistry.
What dental related issues could arise when pregnant?
Because of the many of changes in a mother's body and fluctuations in hormones one of the most common symptoms is pregnancy gingivitis. Inflammation of the gums causing bleeding and sensitivity is common. Some women also can get a pregnancy tumor also known as a pygogenic granuloma, an overgrowth of gum tissue usually found in between two teeth that is red and puffy. These usually go away once you are no longer pregnant.
Pregnant women are more at risk for cavities also because of the increase of acid in the mouth from morning sickness and frequent snacking and increased intake of carbohydrates.
Is it safe to come to the dentist while pregnant?
We encourage mothers to come in for checkups to prevent dental issues but when you do need treatment it is safe to come to the dentist. The dentist and obstetrician work together to make sure mom and baby are healthy. It is always important to tell both doctors your current medications and conditions so they can work together to come up with the best care options for mother and baby.
If you do need dental care, it is shown that local anesthesia and xrays do not increase the risk of any pregnancy complications in a healthy pregnancy. There have been recent studies done in the Journal of the American Dental Association to show local anesthesia can be used safely if you need dental work and also radio xrays can be taken if needed. However, prevention is key and having a check up before you decide to become pregnant or during pregnancy is best.
Keeping a healthy mouth also is helpful for your baby. Good oral hygiene is especially important because poor habits during pregnancy have been associated with premature delivery, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
We want to make sure mother and baby are happy and healthy. If you have questions please feel free to call or email us. In a nut shell, keep up with your oral hygiene and come in for checkups and cleanings. If you need any dental work, it can be done with the input of your obstetrician so you can have a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Dr. Ila Mankad is a general dentist in Brentwood California. She wants to teach patients the not so secret ways of achieving a healthy mouth.