Pregnancy can have a profound effect on all areas of the body, including your gums and teeth. To protect your oral health while you are pregnant, it is important to work with a dentist you can trust. Here are a few things you need to know about receiving dental care during pregnancy.
1. Attend Dental Checkups
Regular dental checkups are more important than ever when you are pregnant. The hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy can make you more vulnerable to gum disease and oral infections, so it is important to see a dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
2. Let Your Dentist Know
You should always tell your dentist that you are pregnant. This information allows the dentist to ensure all the cleaning products, anaesthetics and other substances they use in your treatment are safe for use in pregnant women. Telling your dentist you are pregnant can also help them to schedule your treatments appropriately.
3. Don't Put Off Dental Repairs
If you need a filling, root canal or other necessary dental treatment, it is best to have it carried out during the first or second trimester. By the third trimester, the size of your bump can make it uncomfortable to lie in the dentist chair for long periods.
4. Consider Delaying Cosmetic Treatments
While you should not avoid necessary dental work such as fillings and tooth extractions during pregnancy, some cosmetic treatments are best left until after the birth. The chemicals that dentists use to whiten teeth are not fully tested in pregnant women. While there is no evidence that they pose a significant risk to the developing foetus, dentists are not able to guarantee that they are safe. Schedule teeth whitening for after the birth as a treat to yourself as a new mother.
5. Ask About Pain Relief
Dentists recommend that dental procedures during pregnancy should be carried out using as little anaesthetic as possible to minimise any potential risks to the baby. In particular, most dentists are keen to avoid putting pregnant patients to sleep due to the increased risk of general anaesthetic during pregnancy.
However, this policy does not mean that you should suffer in silence. Stress can also be harmful to unborn children, so it is not expected that you should suffer through a dental procedure with no pain relief. Lidocaine, the most commonly used dental anaesthetic during pregnancy, is not known to have any effect on an unborn baby, although it does cross the placenta.
Be sure to discuss pain relief with your dentist so you know what options are suitable for you and your child. For more information, contact a dental office like Dentist 4 U.