As part of your health care team, your dentist can provide care that is vital to maintaining optimal dental health during your pregnancy. Advise your dentist right away if you visit at any time during your pregnancy, or suspect that you are pregnant. The dentist can ensure that special care is taken and attention is paid to certain aspects of your oral health that are particularly important during your pregnancy. In particular, pregnancy gingivitis can be a problem for some mothers-to-be, and visiting your dentist can help to reduce or treat any gum problems that develop. Click on the link below to find out more dental information from your Victoria dentist regarding dentistry while you are pregnant.
Some women experience pregnancy gingivitis, which is the similar to regular gingivitis, but occurs during pregnancy and may be due to the high levels of hormones, particularly progesterone, which are present during pregnancy. The increased levels of progesterone may allow greater bacteria levels to be present in the mouth, which may cause the gingivitis. In addition, alterations in the immune system during pregnancy could mean that the body reacts differently to the bacteria in the mouth. For these reasons, it is not uncommon to experience bleeding, irritated or swollen gums (known as pregnancy gingivitis) during pregnancy. Some women also report that their gums appear more red in color and may bleed when brushed.
Using an anti-bacterial mouth wash may help to reduce the mouth bacteria that contribute to gingivitis. We recommend using a mouth wash that is water based and free of alcohol. Maintaining a consistent dental hygiene routine is even more important when you are pregnant. Brush at least twice a day and floss daily as well to reduce your risk of gingivitis. See your dentist for regular cleanings and to discuss any concerns you might have about your dental health during pregnancy.
Visiting the dentist when you're pregnant
The best time to visit the dentist for routine dental treatment during your pregnancy is during the second trimester. Early in pregnancy, the development of the baby is most sensitive to external stresses. Furthermore, you are more likely to be experiencing nausea and the effects of “morning sickness”. Towards the end of the pregnancy it may be difficult to sit in the dental chair. With the added weight of the baby, lying on your back for extended periods of time can be uncomfortable. We recommend that you communicate your comfort level with your dentist through-out the dental visit.
Rest assured the amount of radiation produced during a dental radiograph (X-ray) is very low. Dental radiographs are taken of the mouth and not the uterus. However, many dentists would rather error on the side of caution and recommend to avoid any radiographs during the pregnancy unless necessary to diagnose a dental problem. If emergency treatment requires that you must have an X-ray, a lead apron can protect you and your baby.
If you require any more extensive dental procedures, such as fillings or extractions, discuss the best timing for treatment and risks of delaying having dental work done until after delivery. Emergency dental treatment required to relieve pain, prevent infection or reduce stress levels for you and the baby takes priority and can be carried out at any stage of your pregnancy. If there are any reasons to believe that your pregnancy is in a higher risk category be sure to let the dentist know to allow time to consult with your doctor (physician) and/or midwife.