Dental Treatment During Pregnancy – To Do Or Not To Do?

Most pregnant women wonder if it is important to visit the dentist during pregnancy. It most certainly is. Oral health contributes significantly to the overall wellness of an expectant mother. So, it goes without saying that getting your dental check-up is a must.

Before Pregnancy: If you plan your pregnancy, apart from doing your regular tests get all your dental treatments done.

During Pregnancy: Regular professional cleaning and treatments are absolutely required. Generally, the second trimester is the safest to get dental treatments done.

Post Delivery: Biannual checkup should be done. Or as per your scheduled appointment by your dentist.

What treatments can be done during your pregnancy?

  • Professional cleaning: Your hormones make your gums swell, leading to food accumulation. This condition is known as gingivitis and in some cases, it may cause pre-term birth. So getting your teeth professionally cleaned is a preventive measure in maintaining yours and your baby’s overall health.
  • Tooth restorations: Imagine leaving that tooth decay just like that at the start of your pregnancy. It may worsen and what could have been solved by a simple filling would now need a root canal treatment. Not to mention the excruciating pain ( some consider the pain to be worse than labor pain).
  • Extraction and Root Canal Treatment (RCT): Depending on the due date, the dentist may schedule an appointment. The second trimester is mostly safe to undergo extractions and RCT’s.  An extraction and RCT require local anesthesia (lignocaine) and antibiotics (penicillin, amoxicillin).

Teeth cleaning and restoration can generally be done anytime during your pregnancy as they are non- or minimally invasive.

Note: If you are close to your due date or in your third trimester, the treatment can be postponed to a post-delivery session. Treatment in this trimester may cause pain and discomfort and moreover, it may be uncomfortable for you to sit in the dental chair throughout the procedure.

What treatments can be AVOIDED during your pregnancy?

  • Cosmetic Treatments: Dental treatments like tooth bleaching/whitening, orthodontic corrections
  • Treatment which requires an X-ray/orthopantomogram (OPG): Extraction of the third molar (wisdom tooth)  or grossly decayed teeth (or its remnants) and in some cases RCT’s should be done with caution if they require an X-ray. An X-ray requires radiation exposure which is unsafe for the baby. Lead aprons may be used to prevent the harmful radiations. But such treatments should only be done if it is an emergency.
  • OPG’s are generally advised for orthodontic treatment and reconstruction of the dentofacial complex. It emits radiation which may harm the growing fetus.

Note: In modern dental clinics/hospitals. the dentist would consider using a radiovisiography (RVG) as an alternative to an X-ray if you are pregnant.  Taking an RVG  is considered safe during pregnancy.

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Aishwarya

Dr. Aishwarya Rajeev has completed her MDS degree and is currently pursuing her PhD. She is an avid reader and loves to teach and write!