Is Dental Care Dangerous When I am Pregnant?

Great question!  The short answer is no.  The long answer is that pregnancy actually makes dental care more important.  Read on.

During pregnancy, your body goes through so many changes.  Some of these changes affect your mouth.  There are also things in your mouth that can affect your growing baby.

Here are the things you need to know about pregnancy and your mouth!

  1. Pregnancy hormones make your gums go crazy!

Many of our pregnant patients suffer from a condition called pregnancy-induced gingivitis.  We also call it hormone-induced gingivitis, because it can affect kids during puberty and women during menopause.

The surges in hormone levels wreak havoc on your gums, causing severe inflammation.  Gums look bright red and puffy.  They also bleed at the slightest irritation.

It is important to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible because even minor plaque buildup will set off the gingivitis that is so aggravated by your hormones.

  1. Morning sickness can make oral hygiene difficult.

Many of our pregnant patients tell us that taking care of their teeth is so much harder due to an extremely sensitive gag reflex.  Brushing the molars can make some people throw up.  Reaching the fingers toward the back of the mouth for flossing may give a choking sensation.

One tip that can help with this is to use flossers with a long handle.  This keeps your fingers out of your mouth and reduces your risk of gagging.

  1. Severe morning sickness can cause acid erosion on your teeth.

The constant vomiting and acid reflux of morning sickness brings up powerful stomach acid into the mouth.  This extremely low pH is very dangerous to tooth enamel.

If you suffer from this problem, it’s important to rinse your mouth with neutral pH water after any vomiting.  Bringing the pH back to normal is essential in protecting your enamel.

Consistent vomiting can lead to dehydration, which also poses a threat to your teeth.  You may need to speak to your Ob/Gyn about anti-nausea medication.

  1. Dental care is absolutely essential during pregnancy!

Because of numbers 1-3 above, dental care is essential during a pregnancy.  Your gums are at risk for severe inflammation, and your teeth are at risk for cavities and erosion.  It is more important than ever to be preventive!

Fight pregnancy-induced gingivitis by staying on a frequent schedule with professional teeth cleanings.  Many of our patients need cleanings every 3 months during pregnancy to help maintain healthy gums.

More frequent dental cleanings also helps reduce your risk for cavities because we are helping you remove the dangerous bacteria that plaque contains.  This is particularly important if you are having difficulty brushing and flossing your teeth.

  1. We modify dental care during pregnancy.

There are some conditions, like severe gum disease, large cavities, or dental infections, that require urgent treatment.  The risk of the dental work causing a problem is much lower than the risk of the infection harming your baby.

At Timberlake Dental, our dentist works with your other healthcare professionals to make sure you are receiving the safest and best care possible.  We follow this protocol for health concerns of all types, like high blood pressure, diabetes, or autoimmune conditions.

We take pregnancy and your safety very seriously.  Research has shown that the safest time to have dental work is during your second trimester.  Dr. Chowning will obtain clearance from your Ob/Gyn to perform any necessary dental work.  He will get specific permission for dental x-rays and local anesthetic.

Are You Pregnant or Have a Loved One Who Is?

Call 972-347-1145 today to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Chowning.  He will discuss your specific risk areas with you and help you develop a plan to keep your mouth healthy throughout your pregnancy! 

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