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If you or a loved one is currently pregnant, you may have some questions about whether certain dental treatments should be avoided during this time - such as x-rays, teeth whitening or tooth extractions.
In this article, we’re answering your commonly-asked queries about pregnancy and dental treatments, so you can stay on track with your oral health and receive the dental care you need while pregnant.
Yes, you definitely should. If left untreated, oral health concerns such as tooth decay and gum disease can develop into more serious complications, so it’s important to continue seeing your dentist regularly for check-ups.
In fact, factors such as changes in hormone levels and pregnancy cravings may mean you’re at higher risk of developing oral health issues while pregnant. Your National Dental Care Group practitioner might recommend you make more regular appointments during your pregnancy so they can check your teeth and gums, and address any issues if needed.
If you’re planning on getting pregnant in the near future, it’s advisable to talk to your dentist about treating any existing dental issues such as impacted wisdom teeth. This will allow you to receive treatment before you become pregnant and reduce the risk of complications.
As modern dental x-rays use very low doses of radiation, a single dose is not high enough to cause any issues with foetal development. That said, your dentist may recommend you avoid x-rays during your first trimester unless it’s an emergency.
Yes, you can still safely receive an anaesthetic to help you relax and numb any pain if you require a dental procedure while you’re pregnant. Your dentist will use the lowest possible dose of anaesthesia for the type of treatment you’re receiving, in order to help you feel comfortable and reduce any stress on both you and your baby.
Anaesthetics containing a chemical called felypressin - which constricts blood vessels - should be avoided during pregnancy. Your National Dental Care Group dentist will be able to advise on safe anaesthetic use while pregnant and answer any queries you may have.
If your tooth is significantly damaged and unable to be repaired, a tooth extraction may be required. While extractions can be performed at any time during pregnancy, your dentist might advise you to undergo this procedure during your second trimester.
Having a tooth extracted during your second trimester enables you to avoid the need for an x-ray during the early stages of development in your first trimester, as well as the discomfort of having to lie on your back for some time during your third trimester.
Root canal therapy can alleviate the significant pain and discomfort associated with infected tissue caused by tooth decay. This treatment can also avoid the need for the tooth to be extracted - instead, the damaged tooth can be restored with a dental crown
Root canal surgery shouldn’t be delayed and can be performed at any stage of pregnancy. However, as with tooth extractions, the optimum time is generally during your second trimester
While teeth whitening is generally safe at any stage of pregnancy, your dentist may advise you to wait until after the birth for non-emergency dental treatments such as teeth whitening
If you’d like to undergo teeth whitening while pregnant, talk to your National Dental Care Group practitioner about the best time to do this, as well as different whitening options
If you’re already in the process of undergoing orthodontic treatment when you become pregnant, there’s no reason to stop. You can also have new braces fitted during your pregnancy if your dentist or orthodontist advises it, however, they may recommend waiting until after birth in case of any complications
As having braces fitted will require x-rays, your dentist may want to avoid this during your first trimester. It’s also important to note that your mouth and face can change shape slightly during pregnancy if you gain weight, which may result in your braces needing to be adjusted or a new set of aligners created
In some cases, pregnancy can cause swelling of the gums and other facial tissue, which may cause irritation from your brace’s metal wires or brackets. If this occurs, talk to your dentist or orthodontist about the best and safest way to relieve the pain or the option of switching to a removable solution like Invisalign® if appropriate
For more information and advice about receiving dental treatments while pregnant, Contact your local National Dental Care / DB Dental practice.
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