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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Pregnancy & Oral Health

Doctor's visits, preparing the nursery, shopping till you drop "Oh My"!  Seems like there's very little time to do anything but prepare for this little bundle of joy, but one thing that should be on your priority list is keeping your regular dental visits.  Not only is it safe, but it's extremely important.  

Getting regular cleanings as well as having minor procedures such as fillings done helps you maintain your oral health during pregnancy.  The American Dental Association, The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics all encourage women to receive regular dental care during pregnancy.  

The most common concerns about visiting the dentist while pregnant are:

1) When should I tell my dentist I'm pregnant?  You should let the dentist know as soon as you believe it's a possibility you could be pregnant, what medications your on and any special advice your doctor has given you.  If you are at high risk, some dental procedures may need to be postponed. 

2) Will pregnancy effect my oral health and in what ways?  Many women won't have any dental related issues while pregnant.  Regular check ups and cleanings help to keep you and your baby healthy.
  • Gingivitis (bleeding gums): Hormones can play a factor in changes in your mouth.  Gingivitis is when your gums become swollen and can often bleed while brushing and flossing.  It is important to continue to brush (at least twice a day) and floss as this will help your overall oral health.  Often times, dental benefits may allow for additional cleanings throughout the year for women who are pregnant, especially if diabetes is involved.
  • Cavities:  It's not always common, but several factors can cause increased tooth decay during pregnancy.  Consuming additional carbohydrates and acid reflux can increase acids in your mouth that break down your enamel.
  • Pregnancy tumors: Most often seen during the second trimester, pregnancy tumors can appear on the gums.  This is overgrowth tissue, not cancer, and is due to swelling gum tissue between the teeth.  Excessive plaque could be the culprit.  Most will disappear after pregnancy.  If not, consult your dentist about having them removed.
  • Local Anesthetics: It's not uncommon to have dental emergencies during pregnancy, from breaking a tooth, tooth ache or lost filling.  What worries patients most is, can I have local anesthetics?  They are safe for both you and your baby.
  • X-rays:  Minimal x-rays are completely safe.  Your dentist will cover you with a lead apron.  It's most important to have proper diagnosis for a dental issue.

It will never cost less or hurt less than it does today!