Is it safe to visit the dentist during pregnancy? This is a common question asked by women who are expecting a child. And the answer to the question is yes, but with precautions. Doctors’ say, pregnant women can take dental treatment during her second trimester, which consists the 4th to 6th months of pregnancy. Preventive dental cleanings and annual exams during pregnancy are not only safe but also recommended.
“The rise in hormone levels during pregnancy causes the gums to swell, bleed and trap food causing increased irritation to gums. Women may notice that their gums are swollen or tender and bleed more easily. Preventive dental work while pregnant is essential to avoid oral infections such as gum disease,” said Dr Mansing Pawar, Dean of Government Dental College.
Dr Subhodh Sontake, Professor and Head of Department of Dentistry at Sir JJ Group of Hospitals said, “Dental treatment can only be done during second trimester of pregnancy (4th to 6th months). During the first three or last three months of pregnancy, only emergency dental procedures, to provide relief can be carried out and that also with the consultation of gynaecologist. Considering safe medication is also important, because the baby’s safety is of utmost priority”.
“Dental work such as cavity fillings and crowns can be treated to reduce the chance of infection. Once you reach the third trimester meaning the last three months of pregnancy, it may be very difficult. The safest course of action is to postpone all unnecessary dental work until after the birth,” he added.
However, sometimes emergency dental work, such as a root canal or tooth extraction, is necessary. Elective treatments such as teeth whitening and other cosmetic procedures should be postponed until after the birth. It is best to avoid this kind of dental work while pregnant and avoid exposing the developing baby to any risks, even if they are minimal.
“Avoiding dental care is a problem because normal health changes during pregnancy cause women to have more gum disease like periodontitis and tooth decay. The growing womb presses on the stomach, which can cause heartburn or gastric reflux, softening or dissolving tooth enamel. Teeth with thin or weak enamel have a high risk of decay and are sensitive to cold food and drink,” said Dr Amit Ramchandani, Assistant Professor at Government Dental College and Hospital
“A mother’s oral health during pregnancy is critical, as pregnant women may have increased risk of tooth decay because of increased carbohydrate consumption and difficulties brushing their teeth due to morning sickness, gag reflex and increased gum bleeding,” said Dr Freny Karjodkar, Professor and Head of Department at Oral Medicine Radiology at Nair Dental College.
“It is a crucial period of time in a woman’s life and maintaining oral health is directly related to overall good health. Dentists and physicians should encourage pregnant women to maintain their oral health by continuing to receive routine dental care and seeking treatment when problems arise,” added Karjodkar.
It is recommended for pregnant women to see a dentist regularly just as you did before the pregnancy. Dentists should also administer and prescribe only medications that are safe during pregnancy and should check the patients’ blood pressure at every visit.