What Pregnant Women Should Know About Going to the Dentist

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two new parents holding a sonogram at their appointment with a dentist in Dallas

If you’ve just discovered that you’re expecting, the Lakewood Dental Group family would like to say “congratulations!” to yours. Without a doubt, we understand that pregnancy is an exciting yet eventful season of life. Between frequent doctor’s visits, hospital tours, and baby showers, don’t forget to pencil in visiting your dentist in Dallas to your pregnancy to-do list!

A common misconception is that expecting mothers must skip dental appointments until after the baby comes. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s the deal: pregnant women are at an increased risk of common oral health conditions (like gingivitis). So, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends dentists and obstetricians partner up to council expecting mothers on how imperative good oral health and hygiene are throughout pregnancy.

Here, we briefly outline and address how pregnancy impacts teeth and gums, which dental procedures are safe for pregnant women, and how to schedule a dental appointment with a dentist in Dallas, TX.

How does pregnancy impact oral health?

Even though some women can make it through all three trimesters with healthy teeth and gums, the influx of hormones during pregnancy can exacerbate some oral health conditions (or trigger new ones). Thus, practicing good oral hygiene and scheduling regular checkups can help keep you and your baby healthy.

Pregnancy Gingivitis

Changing hormones can aggravate gum disease, and nearly 60 to 70% of pregnant women have gingivitis. Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease. Commonly, some signs of gingivitis include swollen, irritated, and tender gums. In addition to these symptoms, pregnant women might notice that their gums lightly bleed after flossing or brushing.

Fortunately, gingivitis is preventable and reversible through professional dental cleaning. The real danger lies in neglecting this early stage of gum disease. If left untreated, gingivitis progresses into more serious, irreversible forms of gum disease.

Pregnant women must manage gingivitis and more advanced gum disease because it could have implications for developing fetuses. Specifically, excessive bacterial growth in the mouth is linked to preterm labor (going into labor before 37 weeks of pregnancy).

Pregnancy Tumors

When inspecting your gums for pregnancy tumors, look for raw, red, and raspberry-like bumps. Usually, during the second trimester, some women experience an overgrowth of noncancerous tissues referred to as “pregnancy tumors.” In reality, pregnancy tumors are swollen nodules that develop on gingival tissue between teeth. Generally, they are the result of excess plaque.

Thankfully, pregnancy tumors typically disappear after the baby is born. However, if you are concerned, you can speak to your dentist in Dallas about treatment (like removal).

Cavities

You might be surprised to learn that pregnant women are more at risk for tooth decay. Primarily, dental professionals blame this factor on behavioral fluctuations (such as diet changes and frequent vomiting).

While cavities are destructive and can even feel painful for mothers, tooth decay can negatively affect the baby too. The strain of bacteria that causes cavities is transmittable, and early contact with cavity-causing bacteria and other sugars (even lactose in milk) could necessitate extensive dental care in a young child’s life. Furthermore, research supports that children of mothers with excessive levels of untreated cavities or tooth loss are more than three times more probable to have tooth decay as children.

Which dental procedures are safe during pregnancy?

Not only is it safe to go to the dentist during pregnancy, but it’s also encouraged! Your dedicated dentist in Dallas can help you devise a plan to help you manage your oral health before and after birth.

Still, many mothers wonder which dental procedures are suitable during pregnancy. As a rule of thumb, the American Pregnancy Association deems a lot of dental work acceptable (and at times, necessary) during pregnancy. On the other hand, elective treatments should be pushed off until after the baby is born.

In this section, we list which dental procedures are considered safe by the medical community:

Dental Cleaning

When was the last time you visited your dentist in Dallas? If it’s been over six months since your last dental visit, or you’re noticing deviations in your teeth or gums, it’s time to schedule an appointment.

When scheduling your next dental appointment, please brief your dental team member on the following:

  • How far along you are
  • Any change in medications
  • Any advice that you’ve received from your OBGYN or general doctor

Depending on your oral health, your dentist might recommend additional appointments during pregnancy. For instance, if you’re suffering from pregnancy gingivitis, you might need additional dental cleanings during your second and third trimester to help regulate harmful oral bacteria.

Dental X-Rays

Some women worry about radiation exposure during pregnancy, but dental x-rays are considered safe during pregnancy. First and foremost, the radiation from dental x-rays is extremely low, but your dentist or dental hygienist will take additional steps to minimize exposure.

For example, you will wear a leaded apron to shield your abdomen. Also, your dental team member will cover your throat with a leaded collar to protect your thyroid.

Emergency Dental Procedures

If a dental procedure helps prevent infection and further issues, it’s sensible and safe to undergo it. For example, suppose you have a toothache. Then, please schedule an emergency dental appointment as soon as possible. Your dentist can offer treatment suggestions to help ease your pain, such as a dental filling, crown, or removal. If necessary, your dentist can safely administer local anesthesia.

Above all, your dentist in Dallas can help you decide on an optimal plan for the wellness of you and your little one.

Don’t Forget to See Your Dentist in Dallas While You’re Pregnant

Before planning a gender reveal party or picking the perfect paint color for the nursery, you should choose a dentist in Dallas that you can trust. Lakewood Dental Group’s team looks forward to safely navigating you with a healthy smile throughout your pregnancy.

If you have any questions regarding oral health and maintaining a healthy pregnancy, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a dentist in Dallas. Call 214-827-1885 or message us online for more information.