Increased risks to your dental health during pregnancy
It is crucial to take proper care of your dental health during pregnancy. Increases in hormone levels during pregnancy can cause your gums to soften and bleed, leaving you more susceptible to gum disease, sensitivity, and other oral health problems. Routine exams and cleanings during your pregnancy are perfectly safe and recommended by the American Dental Association.
Some oral health symptoms that you should watch for during pregnancy:
Do not ignore dental problems since they can take a toll on your health and your baby’s health.
When to visit the dentist during pregnancy
The best times to complete dental work are: prior to conception; during the second trimester; and early in the third trimester. When you decide to have a baby make an appointment with your dentist to complete all necessary dental work pre-conception. If you are already pregnant, try to schedule your regular dental cleaning and any necessary treatment during the second trimester. Routine x-rays can usually be postponed until after the birth.
Let your dentist know you are pregnant. Routine treatments (fillings and crowns) and sometimes emergency work (root canal or tooth extraction) should be completed to reduce the chance of infection. If dental work is performed during pregnancy, the second trimester is ideal. Fetal organ development occurs during the first trimester and it is best to avoid all potential risks at this time. Once you reach the third trimester, it may be difficult to lay on your back for an extended period of time.
Elective treatments such as teeth whitening and cosmetic procedures should be postponed until after the birth. While the risks are minimal, the safest course of action is to defer cosmetic procedures.
Oral health tips during pregnancy
Dr. Lily Ling received her DMD from Tufts Dental School and completed an advanced education in general dentistry (AEGD) residency at UConn Health Center.