So if you are reading this, perhaps you know someone who is pregnant, or maybe you yourself got knocked up! Well first, CONGRATS! It’s a beautiful thing to have a new fresh face in this world is a blessing but at times quite overwhelming as well. Now let’s talk about taking care of your mouth during pregnancy.
So often, I see first time parents to be going a little bit crazy whenever they come into my office. …and it’s perfectly understandable. “Will it hurt the baby if…….?” is the most common beginning to any pregnant couples question on a variety of items. Therefore, please allow me to create a forum to answer some of the questions you may have regarding prenatal care.
The first thing a mom-to-be should do is getting a cleaning every 3 months/every trimester. Reason- a mom-to-be’s hormones will fluctuate and the gums will become inflamed. Inflamed gums will be more prone to gum disease and decay because puffy gums will be more prone to having food getting caught in between. So those cleanings with your hygienist are extra important!
Next is homecare. Flossing and brushing. Same as always, nothing changed except for the fact that if you are pregnant; your gums are going to be puffier. Expect them to bleed. It’s ok for these 9 months, but you need to floss to control the bleeding and inflammation as much as possible. In conjunction with your professional dental hygiene appointments, the bleeding can be controlled to a minimum. If I may be so bold, get an electric toothbrush. Your dental hygiene will improve by leaps and bounds with the use of something like a Sonic Care Toothbrush.
Dental Treatment-Meaning when should a patient who is bearing child have dental care done/when is it safest? The safest time is the 2nd trimester. We try to limit it to necessary treatment as well. Extractions, fillings, active decay that can pose a threat are all indications of necessary treatment that we try to postpone to the 2nd trimester. But obviously, if there’s a problem, we want to treat it ASAP. Last thing we want for our patients is an active infection that can transfer to the unborn child. Also non-epinepherine anesthesia is indicated for a variety of reasons that I will not discuss here.
Bleaching- really? Are you serious? Do you need a brighter smile while you are pregnant? I can only speak from experience but I did have a situation where a Fort Lauderdale pregnant dental patient asked about this. There is nothing on any bleaching materials I know that would contraindicate getting your teeth whitened for pregnancy. With that said, I just don’t even permit that in my office; whether it’s a one hour treatment, or a take home kit, I just don’t prefer my patients bleaching while pregnant….or when breast feeding for that matter!!!
X-RAYS- Only when necessary is the golden rule. What does that mean? Well, if we have a new patient who just came in and is in her first trimester, we won’t be taking necessary x-rays without an exam first to clinically diagnose. If a pregnant patient has a toothache, we will use a double lead apron to protect the unborn child. We recently had a severely dentally infected pregnant woman come in. By all means we needed necessary x-rays to diagnose and treat. Also, with the decreased amount of radiation that is emitted in these times from dental x-ray machines, your cell phone in all reality is more of a detriment than my x-ray tube.
For whoever is reading this, I hope it helps answer questions and relieves some concerns. Remember, just as my title of this blog says, you are not diseased, just pregnant. You should care for yourself a bit differently, a bit better than you normally would because you have something precious inside of you. You should always be flossing, but just do it for two now…….