What to Expect at the Dentist When you are Expecting
Medical care during pregnancy can be difficult and seemingly continuous. Women who have had children know all too well the number of doctor and hospital visits that will occur during the 9 months of pregnancy. But what about care for your teeth and gums?
At West Willow Family Dental, we are experienced in treating patients who are with child. However, many of the procedures performed for standard dental care may need to be delayed or altered during pregnancy. Planning will be key for successful oral care of pregnant women.
Many of the drugs, X-rays and numbing procedures may actually be harmful for pregnant women and their babies. The best practice for those planning to conceive is to schedule a dental appointment ahead of time. This way, cleanings, gum examinations and any existing oral health problems can be treated immediately.
Avoiding certain aspects of care
Not everything goes as planned during pregnancies. Women who are pregnant and need dental care should alert West Willow Family Dental of their condition while making an appointment. Also, we need to be aware of all drugs currently prescribed, as treatment may need to be altered depending on what kinds of medications and dosages are being administered.
Pregnant women should avoid X-rays, if possible, as they may be harmful for the developing child. In the first trimester and second-half of the third trimester, women should avoid making dental appointments; these are key times of development for babies and should not be interfered with. In most cases, the second trimester is the best time for dental care.
There should be thought given to how much medication is used during pregnancy. Commonly used anesthesia should be kept to low doses. Antibiotics used to prevent or battle infections can be safe for use during pregnancy, but women must make sure they are speaking with their doctors to make sure all care is done in concert.
Lack of care is an antiquated notion
The New York Times stated in a recent article that many dentists are somewhat reluctant to give dental care to pregnant women, but we believe this thinking is completely outdated.
A 2009 survey showed that 77 percent of obstetrical gynecologists’ patients had been denied dental services because of pregnancy. However, 60 to 75 percent of pregnant experience gum inflammation, showing a need for treatment. Adding to this, other reports have found that tooth decay, loose teeth and other gum disease are more common during pregnancy.
There are plenty of ways to safely treat women who are pregnant; it is important for us to not get caught in antiquated ways of thinking here at West Willow Family Dental.
Staying healthy and comfortable
While a visit for treatment may be necessary in some cases, it’s also important to keep up with care at home. Tips for maintaining oral care during pregnancy include:
- Keep up with at-home oral care practices including regular brushing, flossing and rinsing your mouth out with mouthwash.
- Don’t cancel an appointment with the dentist; gum checkups will still be necessary to ensure oral health is in good standing.
- Brush your teeth and wash your mouth out regularly during times of morning sickness, as vomit could end up having an adverse affect on teeth’s enamel.
- The American Dental Association recommends eating a balanced diet and avoiding sugary snacks as much as possible.
- If there are any problems with teeth or gums near the end of the pregnancy, a dental appointment should be made soon after giving birth.
Keeping our patients comfortable during visits to the West Willow office is a priority for us. AmericanPregnancy.org suggests that pregnant women keep their legs uncrossed while in the dentist’s chair, take a pillow to help stay comfortable and perhaps even bring headphones to play music during the appointment.
Our team knows how difficult life can be when you’re with child; we will do our absolute best to make sure you feel at home in our office.