This article will discuss and focus on aspects of antenatal dental care for the mother.
Compulsory dental check-up of women after confirmation of pregnancy
Dental check-up of a woman should be done in the first trimester of her pregnancy. Hormonal changes may lead to swelling of gums called pregnancy gingivitis. They should brush their teeth even if there is bleeding of gums, and scaling of teeth should be done if required.
Cavities should be filled in the early stages of decay because, if left untreated, tooth decay can lead to severe conditions which may require treatments like root canal treatment or extractions. This may be difficult during pregnancy and necessitate antibiotics and analgesics which are best avoided during the pregnancy.
Root canal treatments and extractions can be done in the second trimester unless specifically contraindicated by the consulting gynaecologist. However, this is a definite no-no during the third trimester.
During the post-partum period, it is essential that calcium supplements be taken till lactation continues, otherwise, there is a greater chance of teeth development of the child being affected during this period.
Also the mother, being occupied with nursing the infant, may delay her dental visits and can suffer from tooth decay. In India, by the age of 40 there is at least a 50% decrease in the dentition of women in the rural areas and also in urban areas.
So as the old adage goes, prevention is always better than cure and in this case less painful as also less expensive.